Pratyahara: Internalization of senses

Yoga is so much more than the physical mat practice that is relatable these days. The very word Yoga comes from the Vedic Sanskrit word to unite or to add or to join. Yoga gives us tools through which we can access a bigness within ourselves and unit mind, body and spirit. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras gives us an eight fold path to bliss, outlined below :

  • Yama (restraints)
  • Niyama ( Observances)
  • Asana (physical poses)
  • Pranayama (breathing techniques)
  • Pratyahara (internalization of senses)
  • Dharana (concentration)
  • Dhyana (meditation)
  • Samadhi (bliss attained by merging with the divine source)

Among all of the above yoga sutra, in our city studios we can highlight and touch upon only the Asana and Pranayama limbs however within the boundaries of our mind and our behavior, the various other limbs can be given an opportunity to unfold.

Today we highlight the topic of Pratyahara. Pratyahara means withdrawal of senses. More so internalization of the senses. The senses usually tend to distract us and keep us from concentrating on the object at hand. With the determined practice of pranayama, which are the breathing techniques, the mind becomes clear and the senses start to retract back in theming realm. It is as if to say the agency of the sense are not functioning. At least not in a way of blindly distractedly us to every external stimuli provided. For example , the senses are more in control and we eat when we are hungry, instead of eating out of boredom or out of a craving or out of an emotional outburst.

It is said that the link between the mind and the senses is severed. And the senses retract and there is withdrawal or internalization of the senses. Patanjali, the author of the yoga sutras does not give an explicit technique to arrive in this state. Instead he suggests that with the practice of the previous limbs namely the Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama, one falls into the state of Pratyahara effortlessly.

It is an interesting experiment to conduct whilst in meditation. To enhance concentration and delve into breathing techniques to control the autonomic nervous system would be the encouraging steps towards achievement of pratyahara.

Shades of Yoga is a yoga teacher training company providing year round yoga teacher training in Bali and Costa Rica.