Part of an ongoing series about the eight limbs of yoga and how they manifest themselves in an Ashtanga practice.
Limb 5: Pratyahara (sense withdrawal)
An asana practice is free from distractions. There’s a reason why music is not used as a backdrop during Ashtanga—the quiet allows a yogi to draw inward, to focus on the mind and body, to concentrate on the sound of the breath. It’s a meditative effect. Drishtis also serve to bring attention inward. The mind is quick to wander, but with a defined focal point to gaze toward, the mind is brought into focus. Off the mat, a yogi will minimize distractions that can pull one away from an asana practice or from a mindful life. Minimize distractions related to personal dramas or people who stir up negative feelings. A yogi should limit anything that will reduce or dull the senses and should not seek intentional distractions, such as the overuse of alcohol.