Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the Senses

Yoga is a complex system of practices that promise us inner growth, peace and in finally, connection with our True Nature. It teaches us how to tune into the universe around and the universe within us. One of the most difficult practices of yoga is Pratyahara: I am trying to study this subject and this is what I have gotten so far.

Pratyahara is so difficult to describe because it’s neither a solely inner practice -like meditation, concentration- nor a mainly external one – like asana, or values that we apply to our daily life.
In fact, the idea is that we have to withdraw the senses that we need to experience the outside, to go to the inside. Pratyahara is the bridge between the outer and the inner practice of yoga.

Ahara in Sanskrit means “food” or “nutrients” and it is -as always in Sanskrit- to be intended as a complex, holistic concept. It means food for the body, food for the mind (impressions and sensations coming from the 5 senses) and food for the heart or the soul (associations and feelings). •

However, Pratyahara doesn’t mean to be in a state of disconnection: it’s the withdrawal of the bad food, the bad habits, and the bad feelings that it’s necessary. We must discern, with equanimity, what serves us and what doesn’t, in order to embrace the good, to embrace the light. We should cultivate good connections through different other practices (one is visualization… will tell you more about it)

The impressions and associations are maybe the most important as they can generate a lot of attachment. By letting go our awareness of toxic impressions and relationships, the mind can finally bloom and be free. If you are easily disturbed by the chatter around you (like me, many times), you need to practice pratyahara. Let’s do it together ❤️.

This posture here is one of the very few that really allows me to practice Pratyahara (sometimes… and just for some breaths). All wrapped up in my lotus hug, I bow down, with my forehead on the floor, and I am in my bubble. I can listen. My breath becomes loud and slow, echoing in my belly. I feel my heartbeat. Nothing else. •

But then… life happens. Someone calls you. Something comes to you… and you HAVE TO SMILE! 💕 Don’t be afraid to be distracted. Joy is your true nature, and there is always a good reason to wake up to be happy! Don’t ‘hate’ your mind for being active… It is programmed to do that! So be kind and love your human nature.

Namaste.

Carolina

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