Yoga Nidra : Pratyahara

Monday, November 30, 2009


Yoga Nidra is one of the practices of Pratyahara. The word “Pratyahara” means abstracting, leaving
something, distancing or letting go. (Janakananda 1992)

It involves the process of withdrawing the mind from distracting sensory impressions like sounds, smells, sights and thoughts so that the mind remains in a calm and undisturbed state of silent witnessing. (Miller 2002)

This is done by surrendering to the experience of the sensory impression and saturating the mind with it. The
experience becomes the object of meditation. In Pratyahara, we constantly observe the process of
perceiving; we observe the sensory impression and the reactions of the mind to it. We do not try to
change anything. (Janakananda 1992)

“Any sensory impression that is allowed to be in awareness without either the movement of repression or expression, dissolves back into the ever-present background of awareness and disappears.” (Miller 2002)

Conversely, when we try to suppress a sensation, we prevent the mind from studying it. The mind is unable to conclude whether the sensation is dangerous or useful. It is thus unable to let go and the disturbance remains, consciously or unconsciously. (Janakananda 1992)

Hence, trying to withdraw from anything ultimately ends in failure. It is only when we are able to be with things as they are that we are able to go beyond them.


Post a Comment