As we move through the hierarchy of the koshas I hope you can see they are becoming more subtle. Less tangible, more of a concept before a definite awareness of thier existence.Manomaya-kośa consists of the thinking mind and emotions and remember these subtler layers permeate the energy body and physical body. The thoughts and emotions we experience affect the energy flow in and around us, which in turn affect our energetic and physical health. The key to access this layer is pratyahara, (sense withdrawal). The practice of pranayama does this to some extent as it takes your attention to concentrate on whichever technique you’re working on. As you get familiar with it there is a natural move towards withdrawing from the outside world into a nice cocoon of self. What is sense withdrawal then?One aspect of this is to feed your senses things that don’t aggravate your thoughts and nervous system. If you’ve ever been to an Ashram or monastary they are ordered, quiet, maybe some tinkling bells and pleasant aromas everywhere. They are not cluttered yet to be sorted out areas, gigantic flat screen TV’s playing or obnoxious behaviours. I believe we all find that an assault on our senses. It’s too busy. It’s too stimulating. It’s exhausting. So we begin pratyahara by withdrawing from ‘wrong’ impressions and ‘opening up’ to the right impressions. That is quite a subjective suggestion but to find your right and your wrong you need to be mindful of how everything affects you.Is listening to more news helping you achieve peace? Is repeating gossip helping you achieve peace? Is attending to your mobile’s constant cries achieving peace?To do this requires a calm mind and the effort of awareness. Just a pause is all it takes to ask yourself; do I want or need more of this or less? This is a brief introduction into pratyahara. This is your starting point.
A key exists to unlock each of these layers/koshas to form a whole and balanced practice.