Bringing the Senses under Control
In Pratyhara the mind is fixed on a specific purpose.
Pratyahara is generally carried out in the position of Savasana, the corpse.
The body must first be relaxed and then we must focus our attenion on the internal space of the body. This involves both feeling and paying all one's attention to all the body sensations - including physical, emotional and psychological. During this process one uses the imagination to bring light to all the internal space of the body. Using the imagination in this way will highlight the importance of giving form to our spiritual body (our thoughts and feelings).
This internalization of the senses brings to the yogi an appreciation of the body organs by giving them form in the mind. One of the first and easiest exercises of Pratyahara involves observing effortless inhalation and exhalation while at the same time feeing the beating of the heart. Bit by bit, the yogi should put attention on each of the body organs and their function. By using the imagination, the yogi will give both form and luminosity as if creating a spiritual body where the heart is full of elevated feelings, installed there because of the beautiful qualities of the Self. By imagining and bringing light into the head, filling the space of one's mind with good and positive thoughts, the yogi will be able to tap into the enlightening intuitions of the Self. The imagination expands and the yogi rejoices in beautiful visions.
Eventually a time will come when the true power of the imagination will be revealed. If one closes the eyes and all is dark, ie if one's visions are darkness, one must apply Gunas, Asanas and Pranas until one's intention to achieve enlightenment is more intense and stronger than that of the darkness surrounding oneself. One has to be reborn again by means of one's own determination and power.
Using the imagination in a positive manner does not mean that reality is that which one imagines; rather, that the specific purpose of using the imagination is to cleanse and promote control within the Yogi-mind. The mind becomes pure when all desires and fears are eliminated. It is a question of suspending the connection between the senses and the brain. The mind is the cause of bondage AND liberation. Bondage is the attachment to objects of wrong desire through the senses. Liberation is the detachment from those same objects of desire. This liberation is the gift of PRATYAHARA.