The Power of Pratyahara
By: Alicia Hamilton
Although an atypical concept in the westernized view of yoga, pratyahara is an essential step to establishing more in depth meditative experiences. Pratyahara is normally known as sense withdrawal. In our day to day experiences, our 5 senses are bombarded with a commotion of stimulation. We go day to day being completely immersed in auditory and visual stimulants. Our brains are endlessly processing stimulus - our perception of life is seemingly a combination of what our senses have picked up from the external world.
This yogic practice expands the understanding of the senses and their subconscious faculties. Pratyahara is really a natural function, we focus on particular areas of interest, and give less attention to areas that don't attract us. However, in a more spiritual understanding, it suggests that we draw all energetic faculties away from the senses to channel directly inward; toward a non-physical, divine experience of existence. Pratyahara allows us to have deep, insightful meditations.
When we allow ourselves to focus on nothing but the breath, this creates space for the voice of divinity to flow through. When we go inward, we can connect with source - this allows us to move through life with subtle guidance and purpose. We, too often, receive guidances from external sources - but everything we need to know is inside of us. When we turn all 5 senses inward, we gain access to this information. Going inward for guidance rather than outward can completely re-route the direction of your life.
f course it is not solely pratyahara that leads to deeper levels of consciousness, and access to new realms of divine joy and bliss. However, it is safe to say that is a necessary step to master deeper states of awareness. Our willingness to withdraw attention from sensory overload is the pathway to stillness and divinity. It will take practice and dedication to not be swept away in the everyday stimuli of the mind and nervous system. One may not attain this skill promptly, but it is an absolutely achievable state that anyone can attain.
Alicia is from Edmonton, Canada and is a holistic health enthusiast. She studies natural nutrition, different cleansing techniques, herbal medicine, and more. She enjoys being part of healing gatherings such as kirtan circles, yoga classes, meditations, and all sorts of ceremonies. Meditation has made a drastic change in her life, it allowed her to leave her self destructive patterns behind, and clear space for love and light to shine forth. It is in her life mission to teach meditation and healing modalities to as many as she can, so they too, can shine their light through.