Pratyahara refers to sensory detachment. It is a discipline to control the senses and the mind. Pratyahara quiets the senses, drawing them away from stimuli in order to meditate. Our senses are natural conduits for stimulation not all bad, of course. Nevertheless, one cannot hope to meditate if the senses are engageded. In yoga, in order to attain an actual state of meditation, one must learn to withdraw from the senses. This is done through breathing exercises, which ultimately help to quiet the mind in preparation for meditation.
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