Pratyahara ( withdrawal of the senses ) is the fifth limb according to Patanjali 's Yoga Sutras. My guru-jis Ashley Turner and Vytas Baskauskas have been putting an emphasis on this limb of the practice - either in its Sanskrit form or as
" observation " or detachment.
With all the stimuli that this Kali Yuga has to offer, pratyahara is definitely a challenge in today's practice. Whether it comes from chatty newbies ( chatasana ) @ class, mobile phones ringing and odors wafting from unwashed mats ( this NY Times article was heavily emailed in the blogosphere - see Joni's comment ) , the concentration necessitated by pratyahara is beginning to look like yogic levitation.
The end game is to disconnect and meditate without distractions -