In the ancient practice of yoga, Pratyahara is the 5th limb (or discipline) of yoga, It is defined as "withdrawal of the senses".
Urging us to withdraw from that which is not serving us, so we can become more clear.
Whole Health may start with nutrition, but it's so much more.
Here are 3 ways we become what we're consuming, and how to make a mindful shifts.
1. The Food We Eat
We've all heard the phase "you are what you eat." And coincidentally there is even a great new documentary on Netflix breaking down this ancient phrase, proving yet again just how superior eating a whole foods plant based diet is compared to contradicting diets.
When we consume vibrant plant foods, scientists have proved over and over that our energy levels and our health becomes vibrant too.
Not only are we consuming their nutrients, we are consuming their energy from the soil, to the rain, to the wind, to the sun. If we think about the SAD (standard american diet) consuming pigs, cows, and chickens, there is an argument to be made that we are consuming their energy too.
Survive in the harshest climates, soils, and cold. "While other food plants can only continue after a fire if their seeds survive and are replanted, wild blueberry plants can be burned to the ground, and they will come back stronger than ever."
Pigs & Cows:
Raised in tight harsh factory farm conditions ("grass fed" or "free range" usually means they are given about a foot of room to roam). Because they live their whole day on top of each other covered in filth they are constantly given antibiotics to try to keep away all of the bacteria that surrounds them. After some time of never seeing sun or grass, they are sent off to be made into food. The moment before they are turned into food, their instincts sense danger and make them fight really hard for their life leaving them anxious, terrified, and tense.
So the question remains: do we want to consume toughness, resilience, and long lasting life like the wild blueberry, or do we want to be devoid of life, scared, and anxious like the pig?
On many levels, we could all pay attention better to how the food we eat makes us feel.
2) The Media We Choose to Consume
What are you putting on your tv? And more importantly how is it making you feel?
Scared, sad, nervous?
What are you looking at on your phone, and how is it making you feel?
Not good enough? Lacking? Unfulfilled?
What are you reading? Is it making you anxious or is it making you inspired?
When we consume media that doesn't serve us, the thoughts and feelings we have are just thoughts and feelings, until we continue to do it- and then the things we tell ourselves begin to become our mood, and eventually over time, they manifest as our identity.
So next time you are watching, scrolling, or reading- pay attention to the feelings going on in your mind and your body. You will begin to notice what is serving you and what isn't.
You will learn very quickly if you are becoming what you are consuming.
3) The People and Talk We Surround Ourselves With
Much like the media you consume, surround yourself with people that inspire you. Maybe even people you want to become.
If you want to be an artist, find a way to hang out with artists. If you want to start a business, find a support group of entrepreneurs. If you want to travel more, spend time with aventurous people.
On the contrary, when we spend too much time with people that have an negative energy or values that don't match ours, we can absorb that and start to become that too.
There are people out there that will bring you up, and there are those that will bring you down.
It is in your best interest of health, and your right, to recognize the people that are healthiest for you and choose where you're attention and energy is.
Seek out your people (they are out there), cherish them, and don't let them go.
Notice. Pratyahara. Withdraw your senses from that which is not serving you. A simple practice that can flip the script on the way you feel.