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As a highly sensitive person, it can be challenging to manage the constant barrage of external stimuli. From social media notifications to the sounds and sights of everyday life, it's easy to become overwhelmed and stressed out. However, there is a powerful tool that can help you find peace and calm amidst the chaos: pratyahara (i.e. sense deprivation)..
Pratyahara is the fifth limb of yoga and involves withdrawing the senses from external stimuli. This can be done through various techniques, including walking into a quiet room, scheduling time away from your phone, and closing your eyes while you do something simple, like wash your hands. By removing external distractions, you can focus your attention inward and experience a deep sense of relaxation and rejuvenation.
For highly sensitive people, pratyahara can be especially beneficial. Highly sensitive people have a more sensitive nervous system and can become easily overwhelmed by external stimuli. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and fatigue. By practicing pratyahara, highly sensitive people can find relief from these symptoms and restore balance to their nervous system.
Sensory deprivation is a particularly effective form of pratyahara. It can be as involved as immersing yourself in an environment that limits or eliminates external stimuli, such as a float tank or sensory deprivation chamber, or as simple as sitting in your quiet car before entering the house full of life. In these environments, you are deprived of sensory input and are left alone with your thoughts and feelings.
At first, sensory deprivation may seem daunting or even scary. However, once you settle in and let go of the need for external stimulation, you may experience a profound sense of peace and relaxation. The more often you do it, the easier it will become and the more beneficial. This state of deep relaxation can help reduce anxiety, lower stress levels, and improve overall well-being.
There are several tools you can buy to support your sensory deprivation practice. A quality pair of noise-canceling headphones can help block out external sounds, while an eye mask can block out light and help you focus on your internal world. You can also invest in a weighted blanket, which can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
If sensory deprivation isn't your cup of tea, don't worry. There are many other ways to practice awareness and presence, including meditation and breathwork. These practices can be done anywhere and at any time, making them a convenient and accessible way to manage stress and overwhelm.
Pratyahara is a powerful tool for highly sensitive people looking to manage stress and overwhelm. Whether you choose to practice sensory deprivation on a smaller or larger scale, the benefits of pratyahara are backed by science and experienced by many. So take some time for yourself, and give pratyahara a try. Your nervous system will thank you!