Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 54

स्वविषयासंप्रयोगे चित्तस्य स्वरूपानुकारैवेन्द्रियाणां प्रत्याहारः ॥५४॥

sva-viṣaya-asaṃprayoge cittasya svarūpa-anukāraḥ iva-indriyāṇām pratyāhāraḥ ||54||

The disengagement from the own object of the psyche,
as if imitating the own character of the senses,
is withdrawal from the senses.

sva - ownviṣaya - objectasaṃprayoga - disengagementcitta - psyche; heart as the seat of feelings and sensationssvarūpa - own characteranukāra - imitatingiva - as ifindriya - sensespratyāhāra - withdrawal from the senses

Commentaries and Reflections

TKV Desikachar:

Prāṇāyāma leads to this.
Pratyāhāra, to see without the senses distracting or pulling the mind, and
Dhāraṇā, to see without the mind losing itself, because of colouring or expectations.
Dhyānam arises out of this.

Paul Harvey:

Pratyāhāra is not feeding the tendency of the Citta to automatically form a positive, negative, or neutral identification with whatever stimuli the senses present to it. From that we can begin to understand how their external gathering activities stimulate our conscious and especially, unconscious choices.

From this we can begin to understand how the impact of this sensory process can lead us to travel in different directions and trigger different levels of response, often without us being really conscious of how deeply their input stimulates our psychic activities.

From these responses there will be the inevitable re-actions, again quite possibly unconscious and multilevelled, according to our psychic history in terms of our memoryhabit patternings and deeper memory processes.

From those initial insights we can begin to understand and interact in how we can resist unconsciously slipping into the trance states that can so often culminate with the Kleśa manifesting fully in the entrancing dance of Udārā Rāga, or Udārā Dveṣa, or Udārā Abhiniveśa, the profligate children of Avidyā.”

– Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 54