The Yoga Tutor

Shabda Pratyahara

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 488 ]

Another excellent pratyahara practice is the Shabda Pratyahara. As in the shabda kriya, begin by establishing yourself in a comfortable, relaxed and steady sitting position ...
  • Perform a few rounds of breath in either the sukha or savitri rhythm.
  • Now listen inside of your body for the subtle sound of the blood coursing through your veins and arteries, and the pulsating beat of the heart.
  • Listen intently for 2 or 3 minutes to this, then allow your sense of hearing to move slightly outside of the body -- picking up all the sounds in its very near vicinity, such as the ticking of your wristwatch, etc.
  • Again, 'hold onto' these sounds for 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Next, let the ‘zone of hearing’ extend to the far reaches of the room (or near area, if outdoors), focusing again on all the sounds at that particular range, such as the humming of a fan in the corner and the ticking of the clock on the wall (or the singing of a bird in a nearby tree).
  • After a few moments, extend your hearing now outside of the room to an adjacent building or piece of property, and again concentrate upon the sounds there.
  • Move further still, to a radius of about 100 meters, or a full city block, and repeat the process.
  • Extend further to one kilometre.
  • Now let your hearing extend as far off as possible, picking up sounds in the extreme distance such as an airplane high in the sky, or a ship’s horn, etc.
  • Hold your hearing intently at this maximum distance.
  • Now that you have experienced hearing to its fullest range, gradually withdraw the sense of hearing in the reverse manner, zone-by-zone, again holding your attention for a few minutes at each range until you have once again re-entered the body.
  • Draw your attention into the point between the brows, bhrumadhya bindu, and focus upon all of the sounds within, then
  • Let go of even the subtlest sounds and try to withdraw the sense of hearing altogether.
  • Allow yourself to sit within this 'soundless state' for as long as possible.


NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

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