Free Downloadable Pratyahara Themed Yoga Lesson Plan
This pratyahara-themed yoga lesson plan was created by one of our Yoga Genie Lesson Planner members.
Short Lesson Plan
Each yoga lesson plan you create within the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner comes with a short version of the lesson plan. The short version is perfect for taking into class with you. It’s short and sweet.
Long Lesson Plan
Each yoga lesson plan you create within the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner comes with a long version of the lesson plan. The long version has everything you need to practice the lesson plan before getting to class. You can take it to class with you (but you may prefer to take the short version). The long version is a great handout to give to your students, especially your one-to-one students. It immediately shows your professionalism and increases your expertise in the eyes of your students.
Stream Lesson Plan
Each yoga lesson plan you create within the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner comes with a video stream version of the lesson plan. You’ll be able to provide the streams to students as a URL, so they can practice from home.
Pratyahara: A Quick Intro
Points From The Video
- Pratyahara means literally “control of Ahara”.
- Control of Ahara is “gaining mastery over external influences”.
- Pratyahara is the fifth limb in the eight Limbs of Patanjali.
- Withdraw energy from your senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch).
- Move energy from the senses towards your spine.
- Awaken the potential that’s in your chakras (spine).
- We are normally focused constantly on the senses (sense orientated).
- Ignore sounds and distractions of the outside world.
- Ignore sounds and distractions of the inside world (mind chatter).
- Bringing energy in requires Prana energy.
- Reverse the energy going outside, and bring it inside.
- Use Mudra to close the portals.
- Invite energy to go inside.
- Close your eyes (helps keep energy inside).
- Awaken to the beautiful internal experience.
- Awaken the inside world by pulling Prana from outside to inside.
Whenever I teach a yoga class with a theme, I like to imagine students asking me a bunch of questions about it.
So, I study the theme (e.g. Pratyahara) and make notes in FAQ format (see below). Once I’ve completed my FAQs, I read one, close my eyes and answer it the best I can. I open my eyes to see how much detail I got right. If I missed anything, I repeat the process until I get it right.
This gives me huge confidence when giving a one-to-one session. There’s nothing like diligent preparation to give you confidence when going into a one-to-one session with a client. Though I always tell my clients that I’m not a doctor, and if they have any concerns they should consult their doctor.
“What is Pratyahara In A Nutshell?”
Pratyahara is the fifth limb in the eight Limbs of Patanjali. Control of Ahara is “gaining mastery over external influences”.
“What is the Yoga Sutra Of Patanjali?
In the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the most ancient and revered sourcebook for yoga practice, the second chapter is filled with teachings about the ashtanga (eight-limbed) yoga system. The system is presented as a series of practices which begin with “external limbs” like ethical precepts and move toward more “internal limbs” like meditation. The fifth step or limb is called pratyahara and is defined as “the conscious withdrawal of energy from the senses.”
“Why haven’t I heard of Pratyahara?”
Because it’s not one of the BIG 3: Satya (the practice of truthfulness), asana (the practice of posture), and pranayama (the use of breath to affect the mind). And that means it tends to get swept under the Yoga teacher’s rubber mat. Hidden. Forgotten. Out of reach for students. But that’s a shame.
Stage 1: To get a feeling of what this pratyahara thing is about, focus on Savasana (Corpse Pose). Lie supine on your mat. Relax. The first stage of Savasana involves physical relaxation. In this stage, as you stop fidgeting and become comfortable, there is an awareness of the muscles relaxing, followed by an awareness of the breath slowing, and finally of the body surrendering fully to the mat. This feels lovely but is only stage one. There’s so much more to experience when bringing Pratyahara into the equation.
Stage 2: The next stage of Savasana involves the ‘mental sheath’. According to yoga philosophy, each person has five levels or sheaths:
- Food sheath (the physical body)
- Vital or prana, sheath (the level of subtle energy channels)
- Mental sheath (the level of most emotional reactions)
- Consciousness sheath (home of the ego)
- Bliss, or causal, sheath (karmic record of the soul’s experiences)
These sheaths can be thought of as increasingly subtle layers of consciousness. In the second stage of Savasana, you are withdrawing from the external world without fully losing connection with it. That withdrawal you feel is pratyahara.
How does it feel?
You feel like you’re in a protective bubble. You hear sounds around you, but these sounds cannot penetrate your bubble. With the absence of disturbance, your mind and body are at peace. This “non-reaction” is pratyahara. You still register “stuff” but you don’t react to it. Your bubble protects you from overreacting and creating unneeded drama. You are in the world but not of it. You’ve become like a turtle withdrawing into its shell – the shell is your mind and the limbs are your senses.
Don’t confuse pratyahara with a passive avoidance of life and all its messiness.
Don’t confuse pratyahara with fleeing from life’s challenges.
Having a bubble (or turtle shell) is like being given Super Power. You get to fully participate in the messiness of life with all its complexities and have space between the world around you and your response to it. Top athletes would call pratyahara being in the Zone. That zone is where they play their best golf, their best tennis, and their best 100-meter sprint in the Olympics.
You know your pratyahara Super Power is increasing in potency when you respond instead of reacting. Responding could mean taking action on an issue, disagreeing with someone, or staying silent. The point is that you “choose your response” (in modern parlance it’s called Emotional Intelligence).
You know your pratyahara Super Power is increasing in potency when you become more aware of your craving to drown out life’s little (and big) dramas with overstimulation (e.g. watching too much TV, rushing around from A to B in a desperate attempt to fall into bed exhausted and unaware).
You know your pratyahara Super Power is increasing in potency when you become aware of an energy leak (busy, cluttered, distracted mind), and can immediately plug the hole by practising pratyahara: focusing with one-pointedness on the pose (or whatever action you’re engaged in).