Ashtanga Yoga Talking: Pratyahara , the sense of Withdrawal
Pratyahara is the fifth limb of Yoga, so it has a central key in the practice. We can’t practice Asana and meditation without passing through Pratyahara. In order to get the benefit from Asana and meditation we need to understand how to control the breath, the Self, the mind. Pratyahara From Sanskrit has two different words, Prati and Ahara.
Prati it means far and ahara it means controls. This is where controls of senses come from.
In yoga we have three different way of Ahara. The first one is the Physical that allow us to get to the 5 elements that our body has. The second one are the impressions, that are those actions that we take into our mind by using our senses: sight, hearing, olfaction, touch, taste. The third one is the association that we create toward our sould and are influenced by our Gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Pratyahara as a double way of see things. From one side it takes us away from food, relation, sensation, impression that are wrong and unhealthy for us. From the other side it helps us to get close to new positive food, relations, sensations, impressions. The more we practice pratyhara the more healthy will be our thoughts and the mind itself. Pratyahara is the action that will lead you every day on controlling from bad habits, environment and wrong decisions.
Is manifested in 4 different forms:
1. Indriya- pratyahara (control of senses)
2. Prana – pratyahara (control of prana)
3. Karma- pratyhara (control of actions)
4. Mano – pratyahara (withdrawal of mind and senses)
Indriya – pratyahara is the most important one and the hardest one to practice. Control the senses in a society where television, social medias, journals, book ask us always to try new experience. Feel new different senses, is very hard and challenging and this is where the real Yogi overcome this. By improve the Self will actually get the best out of this control of senses.
Prana – Pratyahara is about controlling the Prana. It seems easy for everybody to control the breath however in my experience not many people know how to control. For instance, Imagine when you get angry, what happened is that you won’t control your breath. We usually let our emotions drag us in that state of mind. By balancing your breath and controlling it, the mind will see the thing in the right way and won’t make any bad state of mind.
Prayahara is the key of happiness…
Karma – Pratyahara it can be well related with Prana. We need to controls our actions because sometime they can be ‘violent’ toward the Self or toward others and in order to respect the Self and other people we need to control our actions in our daily life.
Mano – Certainly Pratyhara is the hardest one but if the individual can achieve it lead to inner peace. Withdrawal of senses is something use for good actions or bad actions. Our mind shouldn’t be fluctuant buy steady and by withdrawing the sense we accept the actions in the way they are and we won’t get attachment to the fruits of it, in a bad or good way.