Be Free, Yogis

The Pratyahara Challenge. In the book Meditations from the Mat, Rolf Gates tells us “we are not practicing yoga to take the edge off, or to loosen up, or to get in shape. We practice yoga to become free.”

Most of us are tied to a plethora of thoughts, goals, and actions that occupy our mind and time. When we find an avenue that allows us to practice turning inward - whether is be a hobby such as sewing, gardening, golfing, cycling through the backroads or running long distances - we begin to experience freedom.

We feel alive and enjoy the present moment.

Pratyahara, turning inward, is one of the components of the 8-limbed path in Hatha Yoga. It could be described as when we are so completely mindful of what we are doing in the moment we are not distracted by our thoughts of the future or past.

More often, we hope for these moments to fall into our lap and occasionally do find time in our schedule to actively practice what we love and turn inward. Or we split the difference and compromise with thoughts like, “I did it twice, that was more than I usually do,” and so on and give up.

What if we scheduled this practice?

How would the consistent practice of turning inward set us free?

As summer approaches, challenge yourself to be free. Choose to do what you love and schedule it every day and stay focused. Without compromise, splitting the difference, or allowing the mind to wander. Invest in results. Results that draw from your mental discipline and set you free.

Yoga doesn’t require a lot of equipment or time, simply a mat and a willingness to settle into the your degree of movement and breath with the beautiful result of Pratyahara, awakening, alive and becoming free.

Share your Pratyahara challenge with us! Use #befreeYOGIS to show us how you’re practicing Pratyahara in your daily life.

Renee Airola