As a yogi, I am sure you have heard the term Pratyahara being thrown around. Perhaps in a yoga class or perhaps at your YTT.
We understand that in the simplest translation it means to “control our senses” or gain “mastery over external influences”. By gaining control over our senses & furthermore our emotions we can live in a more balanced and peaceful state. We can address stress, anxiety and overwhelm whilst living in a more conscious way.
But how do we do this?
First, we must reflect on the four main forms of pratyahara and how we can implement them into our daily lives.
The first form is Indriya pratyahara, control of the senses. In our modern world, we are constantly tested with this form of pratyahara. With a world-wide effect of sensory overload from bright screens, loud noises, constant engagement in activities, social media, the million ways of being contacted, bright alluring marketing ploys everywhere we look, taste sensations of extra salty fast food and sweet treats, the constant beeping of our phones and other devices has us in a constant high alert state.
This is not only detrimental to our physical health as we become burnt out by the stimulation but takes a toll on our emotional and mental health. When we are constantly engaged in our senses we forget how to quiet them so that we can create internal peace, balance & harmony.
The mind starts to control us instead of ‘us’ controlling our minds. We then start to seek the heightened sensory overload in fear of being still and at one with ourselves… & if not fearful, we have forgotten our natural state of being.
By practicing pratyahara we gain the control over our mind and can finally come home to our natural state of being, our true essence.
We can start by allowing our mind to be filled with positive and sattvic impressions instead of being filled by aggression, fear and negative impressions that are left by the media, some social media accounts, news, tv shows, toxic people, violence. Instead we can cleanse the mind by getting out in nature and noticing the beauty around us, gratitude journaling each morning instead of watching the news, take a break from social media &/or unfollow accounts that do not make you feel uplifted, have device free time EVERY day, meditate daily & practice yoga, engage in activities that increase your consciousness, pranayama, eat wholesome fresh foods and purified water, take note of when you feel you are in sensory overload close your eyes & take 5-10 deep yogi breaths, dim the lights, get to bed early each night and rise with the sun, be at home with no noise going on in the background such as the tv, podcasts or radio… enjoy the silence, the space, the peace & feel it nourishing your soul.
The second form is Prana Pratyahara, control of prana our vital energy. This can be achieved through pranayama practice where prana is increased and nourishes our body. When our body is nourished with prana and vital energy we have the ability to sharpen & control our ‘monkey’ mind.
The third form is Karma pratyahara, control of action. To control our sensory organs, we must be able to control our motor organs. Unfortunately, we see all too much the inappropriate use of action & our motor organs in our society today.
With people lashing out at each other in a violent rage or lustful desires abusing the sacred act of sexual gratification.
When we serve for the higher good of all we put our actions into a positive & helpful way of being, this very action helps us to control our actions and practice karma pratyahara. When we surrender any thought of personal gain and instead wish to use our actions to be of service we are practicing pratyahara & karma yoga. We can also make good use of our actions to heighten our consciousness through asana practice.
The fourth form is mano pratyahara, withdrawal of the mind.
When the mind is controlled the senses are controlled. We can practice mano pratyahara by not indulging in the ego’s efforts to create stories out of situations that arise or emotions that surface. We become more aware of the innate truth and consciously withdraw our attention from negative thought patterns when they arise. Being creatures who have millions of thoughts a day, this can be one of the hardest pratyaharas to master. It takes awareness and conscious practice.
To master this, we first must be able to control the sensory organs (our five senses), motor actions and increase prana to strengthen the mind and set it free from over stimulation, stress, anxiety & overwhelm.
I would love to extend the invitaion to nourish your soul, gain peace & clarity at my upcoming Soul Vibes & Revive Retreat in Ubud, Bali.
For more information please head to my website www.HarmonyInspiredHealth.com.au
Namaste & much love,
Harmony x x x