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February 2022
Struggling to keep your New Year’s Resolutions? Read about the simple yogic tool that can help you to really change your life... 

New Year, New You. 

How many times have you heard that saying at the start of the year? There seems to be a societal obsession, a panic even, for us to make big changes to our lives as soon as January comes around. 

While it can help to set goals for the year ahead, making ambitious or unrealistic resolutions, especially in a rush, can put unnecessary pressure on yourself to achieve ‘big things’, which can lead to feelings of disappointment, frustration or sadness if you don’t end up achieving these goals. 

If this sounds familiar, why not try using this simple yogic tool to help you gain clarity in your life - Pratyahara. 

In the Eight Limbs of Yoga from the ancient yogic text - Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali - the fifth limb is known as Pratyahara and is defined as the ‘conscious energy of withdrawal from the senses’. 

Sometimes yogis would literally withdraw from the everyday world to go live in caves in the Himalayas. The goal of the yogi is to be in the world but not of it. 

But, in reality, many of us can’t - or don’t want to - escape from everything. We enjoy interacting with other people and the world around us.

So, how can you channel Pratyahara to help you in your daily life?

This time of year, when the weather is still cold, and the days are dark, it's the perfect time to take time for yourself and practise Pratyahara. 

Pratyahara can help you to create space between yourself and the world by turning inwards. Withdrawing from your thoughts can calm the monkey mind. When your mind is calm, it can bring you closer to your true nature. Being in touch with your inner self can help you to think with more clarity, and react to life in a way that you actually choose, rather than in the heat of the moment. 

Going inwards can also help to improve your relationships. 

If you are in conflict, either with another person or with yourself, rather than respond in a knee-jerk way, which can have negative repercussions later on down the line, you can practise Pratyahara - and take a step back - so you can come back with actions that you consciously, and compassionately, choose. 

When you practise Pratyahara, you are aware of the stimulus but you don’t react to it. Rather you witness the day to day ups and downs, and in time, identify more with the witness and detach yourself from always identifying with your emotions. This can help to find your centre and restore balance.

Simple ways to practise Pratyahara

Meditation 

Pratyahara is the first step to meditation. Meditation can help to create that space. Pratyahara can be as simple as going to your room, popping a sign on your door that says ‘do not disturb’, turning your phone off, and taking the decision to withdraw from the world for a short period of time in order to go inwards.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga, where you hold deeply relaxing postures for up to 15 minutes, can also help you withdraw from your senses and turn inwards. Try this free online class guided by FLY Restorative Yoga Teacher Catherine Gallagher.

Pratyahara is not escaping from the world - rather it’s a powerful tool to help you flow through this life with more ease and compassion. By taking a step back, it can actually help you to step closer to your true essence and be guided by your higher self, improving the relationship with yourself and the world around you, by being a witness to your thoughts, feelings and emotions rather than controlled by them.

Love, 
The FLY Team. 

P.S. This month, FLY expert teacher Cathrine Gallagher is teaching a FLY 50 Hour Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra training in our Yoga Retreat Center Suryalila, click here to find out more.

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