February 11, 2018

Train your mind to be at peace through Yoga's Pratyahara

Do you feel overwhelmed by the world around you? The surrounding factors are too hard to bear at times, especially when you feel tired or pressured. If you would like to take a break and enjoy a moment of silence away from the noisy world, it may not be as easy as planned. It is not easy to unplug from the world because often we work for our sensory organs and mind rather than other way around.

What is Pratayahara?

"Pratyahara" means mastering your senses so that you are better equipped when dealing with external influences. It is one of the eight limbs of Yoga that involves mastering of your senses in such a way that you are able to manage your thoughts and emotions. There are two aspects of Pratyahara that work together a) Withdrawal from negative thoughts b) Opening up to positive thoughts.

While some limbs of yoga focus on external practices or internal practices, Pratyahara is a common ground where you learn to connect or to detach yourself from the external influneces.

Your body is a weapon and consider it very strong. Consider your mind to be very strong as only with strong mind and body you will be able to cross the ocean of life. Have a strong faith in yourself, your body and mind.  

- Swami Vivekananda

This is the same idea while practicing Mindfulness - embrace your thoughts without judgement. Make it part of your lifestyle and become aware of the inner mechanisms that activate your mind, body and soul. Pratyahara offers you the unique ability to fully control your senses even when stimuli are overwhelming. In this case, meditation doesn’t turn into a state of relaxation, but a state of awareness.

Pratyahara techniques

Here are three effective Pratyahara techniques to help you create your own cocoon of peace and silence:

  • Pranayama - Breathing techniques to quiet the mind and block the outside world.
  • Yoga Nindra - Deep state of calm and relaxation.
  • Visualisation techniques - Ability to perform some profound imagination to train your mind.

How to practice Pratyahara?

If there was a science of relaxation, it would be called Pratyahara. Sensory Mindfulnesswithdrawal doesn’t necessary means numbing your reactions to stimuli, but becoming aware of their impact and making sure that your energy works in your favour. Below are the some simple ways in which you can practice Pratyahara: 

  1. Find a comfortable position to start with: lying flat on your back, palms facing the sky, relaxed. Close your eyes.
  2. Breath in and exhale slowly, trying to visualise an emptiness the base of your nose, where sinuses are.
  3. Relax the inner ear; filter the sounds until all the inner tension is gradually released.
  4. Feel every inch of your body and become aware of the stimuli that are trying to break into your cocoon of relaxation.
  5. Relax and pay attention to your breath.

Trying to cope with everything that’s going around us may create knee-jerk reactions. Drawing the senses inward with Pratyahara is specifically meant to create a space between the stimuli and your reaction. Ready to find comfort within yourself?

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