Pratyahara is the connection between the outer forces and the inner forces. Once you start to pay attention to the inner forces, that you have the universe within you and the power within you, you can reach blissful states, taking away pain and suffering from the external world.
Ahara” means “food,” or “anything we take into ourselves from the outside.” “Prati” means “against” or “away.” “Pratyahara” means literally “control of ahara,” or “gaining mastery over external influences.” Just like a turtle withdrawing into its shell—the turtle’s shell is the mind and the turtle’s limbs are the “withdrawal from the senses.”
There are 3 levels of ahara, food for our body.
✨1st is physical food that brings in the five elements necessary to nourish the body—earth, water, fire, air, and ether.
✨2nd is impressions, which bring in the subtle substances necessary to nourish the mind—the sensations of sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell that constitute the subtle elements: sound/ether, touch/air, sight/fire, taste/water, and smell/earth.
✨3rd is our associations, the people we hold at heart level who serve to nourish the soul and affect us with the gunas of sattva, rajas, and tamas (the prime qualities of harmony, distraction, or inertia).
By withdrawing our awareness from negative impressions, pratyahara strengthens the mind’s powers of immunity. Just as a healthy body resists toxins and pathogens, a healthy mind resists the negative sensory influences around it. If you are easily disturbed by the noise and turmoil of the environment around you, you need to practice pratyahara. Without it, you will not be able to meditate.
The problem is that the senses, like untrained children, have their own will, largely instinctual in nature. They tell the mind what to do. If we don’t discipline them they dominate and disturb us with their endless demands. We are so accustomed to ongoing sensory activity that we don’t know how to keep our minds quiet—we have become hostages of the world of the senses and its allurements. We run after what is appealing to the senses and forget the higher goals of life. This is the most important limb of yoga for us today. -D. Litt., Padma Bhushan
Use this breathing and meditation technique Yoni Mudra to close all external senses.
Only focus on your breath, towards your womb, towards your root of yourself. 10-15 min to even 30 min. And then sit for 10 more minutes with hands resting down.
In meditation other ways:
1. Focusing on Uniform Impressions- Gazing
2. Creating Positive Impressions- focus on nature
3. Creating Inner Impressions
5. LAYA YOGA-inner sound of light
6. CONTROL OF THE PRANA-breath, focus on chakras
7. CONTROL OF ACTION- motor organs (hands and tongue)
8. WITHDRAWAL OF THE MIND- 6th sense organ