Posts Tagged ‘pratyahara’

Pratyahara- Drawing senses inward (prepares us for dharana)

December 3, 2010

Pratyahara is the withdrawal or control of senses. It is most commonly known for sensory inhibition.  This occurs during meditation, pranayama or asana wherein you are so focused and immersed on your Yoga, Meditation or Breathing Pose that you become unaware of outside situations. Your focus becomes inward and you are no longer distracted by outside events.

Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words: prati and ahara, where prati means away or against and ahara meaning food, or anything taken into ourselves. So, Pratyahara literally means “to withdraw oneself from that which nourishes the senses.”

You can induce Pratyahara by reducing physical stimuli, and concentrating on one sense.

  • Shotra    — ears
  • Chakshu — eyes
  • Grahna    — nose
  • Jivha — tongue
  • Tvak — skin

Shotra    — ears

Sit in a dark room and listen to the sounds out side the room.  Concentrate.  Begin to separate the sounds.  Notice the cars driving by, the sound of the birds in the trees, a mother calling her child.

Chakshu — eyes

Close your ears with ear plugs and take time to look at a familiar object.  Notice, the color, the shape, the length, the with.  Notice everything about the objuct.

Grahna    — nose

Use essential oils or a sented candle.  Sit in a dark quiet room.  Close your eyes and concentrate on the sent of the candle.  How does it make you feel?  What memories doe the smell invoke?

Jivha — tongue

Eat slowly in a dark , quiet room.  How does the food taste?  Does it taste differently than when you can see the food.  Does it tase differently when your only focus is the food?

Tvak — skin

Sit in a quiet dark room.  Hold a familiar object in your hands.  See it with your touch.  How does your object feel?  Is it cold or warm?  Smooth or sharp?

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The Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga

September 25, 2009

Compiled by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, the Eight Limbs are a progressive series of steps or disciplines which purify the body and mind, to enlightenment.

1. Yamas- Restraints
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The five Yamas are:

Ahimsa: nonviolence, non-harming

Satya: truthfulness

Asteya: nonstealing

Brahmacharya: Moderation

Aparigraha: Non-attachment, Non-possessiveness

2. Niyama– Observances
Self-discipline and spiritual observances.

The five Niyamas are:

Saucha: cleanliness, Purity

Santosa: contentment

Tapas: dicipline, austerity

Svadhyaya: study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self

Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God, awareness of the divine

3. Asana– evolution of your personal practice
Asanas, the postures practiced in yoga.

View Asana Posts HERE

4. Pranayama– Breathing
Breath control

View Pranayama Posts HERE

5. Pratyahara– Drawing senses inward (prepares us for dharana)
Withdrawal or sensory transcendence, the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli.

6. Dharana– concentration (prepares us for Dhyana)
dealing with the distractions of the mind itself.

7. Dhyana- Meditation or contemplation (leads to Samadhi)
The uninterrupted flow of concentration.

View Meditation Posts HERE

8. Samadhi– Superconsciousness
One with everything

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