Pratyhara – Defined in Real Life

Pratyhara – Defined in Real Life

I shared Pratyahara with my class today and reminded myself how nice it  feels to go inward for clarity. The world gets so noisy and then everything gets  congested -mainly my mind space. I cannot clearly craft the solutions I need  to even simple matters. From here, I just get frustrated. Pratyahara is the fifth  limb of a collective yoga practice, right after pranayama, your breathwork. I  believe these two limbs work in tandem to create the space needed for the  work. As the class continued, I blended asana with pranayama and asked  students to journey inward and away from their surrounding elements. Not an  easy task! We don’t, generally, separate from our surroundings. The noise,  the elements, and the stressors are all things we’ve become accustomed to in  our daily lives that move so quickly, with or without awareness about the  present moment. Throughout the hour class, I found myself reminding all of us  to go inward often. Every ten minutes or so, I was needing the reminder,  myself. “Go inward, Lacey, ” I’d have to say inward and then, outward, to share  with my students.

Once home, I wondered why it’s so difficult for me to go inward? To separate  from the outside world is difficult for me, and I believe it’s a byproduct of me  living without healthy boundaries for so long. I wasn’t raised to consider  healthy boundaries. I didn’t know to consider the need for boundaries and to  implement and protect them until a decade ago. Upon implementation, many  areas of my life improved, but it is still a daily effort. Boundaries are the  ultimate life hack. They’ll give you the space you need to protect your energy  and do good work. Boundaries allow me to be more generous with my time,  which allows me to do more without feeling overwhelmed.

The practice of Pratyahara begins with setting a boundary between one’s self  and the outside world. Boundaries are your personal “line in the sand ” with the  world, and those without this line get trampled on occasion. However, placing  boundaries feels odd to most of us because our society rewards boundaryless  people. We are taught (and even rewarded) for doing “whatever it takes. ” This  transfers into yoga class, as we try to hold asana, while practicing pranayama  and pratyahara, weaving in and out of frustration when we feel negativity  arise. Of course, the solution to this is the exact practices to which we are  already committed. As we continue on, everything becomes softer. Now, to  carry this off the mat and into our daily lives. Curious if pratyahara would
benefit you? Consider if any of these apply to you:

You often feel claustrophobic.

  • You often feel the world is “noisy ” or you are sensitive to noise.
  • You are having trouble clearing your thoughts or seeing things clearly.
  • You cringe at the word “no. “
  • You feel guilt, shame, fear (insert any similar emotion) when you put
    yourself and your own needs over the wants of someone else.
  • You’ve never/rarely ask “what do I want/need? “

Moving your focus inward takes practice, but like the rest of the yoga limbs,  the benefits are life-changing and life-giving. The work is worth it, so start  today. Close your eyes, take a deep inhale in, oxygenating your cells. Take a  deeper exhale, letting go of the outside world, making space for you to listen  inside of you.