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Pratyāhāra (Limb 5)



sva-viṣayāsamprayoge cittasya svarūpānukāra ivendriyāṇāṃ pratyāhāraḥ


sva = own

viṣaya = object, content, subject matter

asamprayoge = unattaching, unfastening

cittasya = of or among mentality (thinking, thought), intellect, ego, senses

sva = own

rūpa = form

anukāra = imitation

iva = like, in the same manner, as it were, in a certain manner

indriyāṇāṃ = sense organs

pratyāhāraḥ = withdrawal of the senses from their objects


When the mind withdraws from its objects and resides in its own form, then in a like manner the sense organs imitate the mind by withdrawing from their objects.

tataḥ paramā vaśyatendriyāṇām


tataḥ = hence, then, therefore

paramā = ultimate, highest, supreme

vaśyata = subdued, under control

indriyāṇām = sense organs


Then the sense organs reside under the control of the ultimate (that is, the puruṣa).

(YS II.54-5)

Translation by Dr. Shyam Ranganathan. All Rights Reserved.

The fifth of the physical focused limbs, and the last limb spoken about in Book II of the Yoga Sutra, the Book of Practice, is pratyāhāra​ --- sense withdrawal. This is not the same as experiencing nothing. When we implement this limb we give ourselves the power to decide what we will give our attention to and what we will not. Being able to pull our attention back allows us to regain our independence over our experiences.  

To learn how to engage in pratyāhāra so that you can control what influences you, enroll in Five Limbs: Yoga Sūtra  Essentials for Practice. This course is perfect for anyone new to Yoga Philosophy. 

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