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Pratyahara | No. 5 of the 8 Limbs of Yoga

Withdrawal of the senses.



The Previous Limb -> Pranayama


Etymology


Sanskrit Word: Pratyahara

English Translation: Sense Withdrawal



Information


The 5th limb of yoga is Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses. Withdrawal of the senses is simply learning to eliminate all distractions. In Ashtanga yoga we practice the tristhana method which helps us to focus the mind during Ashtanga asana practice, and that includes asana, breath and drishti. Breath would be pranayama. Drishti is really that pratyahara also a little bit of concentration.


Pratyahara or sense withdrawal comes before concentration because before you can concentrate on one thing you have to eliminate distractions of all the other things. Your drishti or your looking point - focusing the eyes helps to focus the mind. You'll find sense withdrawal in a lot of different things. You could be reading and kind of forget your surroundings. You could be running. You could be drawing. You can do a lot of things where you're like, "Wow I totally forgot how long I've been sitting here." Having a fun conversation with a friend, you know, there's a lot of things that can take you into that state of pratyahara. Sense withdrawal helps prepare you for the next limb which is concentration.


The Next Limb -> Dharana

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