Updated though 8/20/2017
With Pratyahara, we enter into the second half of the eight limbs of classical yoga. While the first four limbs dealt with your relationship to the outer world, the second half begins to draw you inward, changing your relationship to the higher Self.
Pratyahara is the management of the senses. It's not so much the ignoring of the outer world as it is the unaffectedness of the outer world. You're turning away from the distractions and beginning to focus on the inner world; watching the mind, settling the energy, and creating a mental environment in which your consciousness can expand and elevate.
One of the most common practices of pratyahara is Savasana (corpse pose). In corpse pose, you're practicing the tuning-out of the world and rest awareness deeper and deeper into the Self. In fact, the practice of Savasana can greatly increase your success in meditation when used as a preliminary step.
In this class:
We practiced the Antakarana meditation, which names the senses as you pull your focus from sensory input and more inward, first to the mind and then finally to the witness.
1. To begin, come to sit in a tall comfortable seat and allow yourself to become aware of sounds. You don't have to identify the sounds, just be aware of the fact that you do hear them.
2. After a minute or two, turn your awareness away from sound and notice the points of contact your body makes with the floor, then clothing, then feel the air on the exposed surfaces of the skin, and lastly notice where the body makes contact with itself.
3. Now, become aware of the flow of air at the base of your nostrils, then the flow within your nostrils, at the throat, and finally feel the breath expand and contract within the body.
4. After a few minutes, become aware of the mind and the movements of the mind. Try to not get involved with anything you see, just be aware. If you find yourself getting involved with a thought, step back and watch the thoughts go by.
5. Lastly, become aware of the part of yourself that was able to hear the sounds, feel the body, experience the breath, and witness the mind. In other words, become aware of the watcher or witnessing consciousness. Stay with this awareness for several minutes or move deeper into another meditation technique.
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