What is Pratyahara?
Pratya is a Sanskrit word that means to ‘drawback’ or ‘withdraw,’ and ahara is anything that you ‘take in,’ for instance all kinds of smells, sounds, senses and sights that we constantly take in. Also as distractions aren’t only limited to the external world, sometimes the chatter in our mind can be equally deafening!
As per Patanjali, all such distractions can become a hindrance after a certain point, and we need to achieve a certain level of introspection, in order to meditate at a deeper level.
It’s important to master the ability to ignore all such internal chatter and external stimuli.
Obviously, this is easier said than done!
Reacting to all sorts of stimuli and pushing our energy outwards is something that comes naturally to us, and hence it can sometimes be very difficult to focus within when you’re meditating.
The ‘sense withdrawal’ that Pratyahara talks about, implies that we should have the ability to switch off our senses whenever required, the reason why this practice is greatly misunderstood by many.
Rather, Pratyahara is about altering our state of mind in a way that we get so involved focusing on the inside that the external things cannot distract us anymore.
Awakening the world inside
Agreed that this can be very difficult initially, but it’s not impossible to get attuned to the internal world with regular practice. This world is extremely beautiful, entertaining and fascinating than anything perceivable by our senses.
Although there are several traditions that talk about working effectively with our breath, mind and body, it’s the Pratyahara practice that encourages us to focus our energy within, to awaken to the inside world.
If you too wish to experience the beauty of this internal world, there’s no better way to do it than India yoga training. You could even opt for yoga certification from India and teach others too. AyurYoga Eco-Ashram is an excellent school where you can learn all this, and more.