Ishvara Pranidhana, the act of surrendering to the universe. Ishvara Pranidhana is a Niyama or observance, from the Yoga Sutras, a yoga text dating back thousands of years. Patanjali, the yoga sage who we received the Sutras from, suggests that we practice a certain code for living to help us on the path toward a clearer and more free mind and thus a more peaceful and easeful life. Ishvara Pranidhana classically interpreted means surrendering your life and your work to the divine. I like to think of it as allowing your life to flow and unfold as it will without trying to muscle or force things to happen. After all, we have little control over most outcomes and over our own destinies. My mom always said I tend to grab life by the horns and wrench what I want out of it. Forcing and maneuvering and grimacing to make things happen in the way I thought they should. I like to believe this is a common ailment in my fellow human beings?
After going through much of life this way, pushing and trying to force things to happen, I eventually found yoga. Yoga lead me to the ancient writings of the Sutras, which brought me to this specific Niyama (observance). Ishvara Pranidhana, surrendering to the universe and surrendering to you life, to let go of those things you can not control. I wish I could say that since I started studying and practicing this niyama, I just sit in my lounge chair and watch life unfold before me like the play that it is, but that's not exactly true, at least not yet. However, I am slowly learning to allow whatever fruits I reap to fall at my feet and to take life as it comes. A little less muscle, a little more ease and a little more letting go. Sometimes it is in the process of letting go that what you really want shows up at your doorstep.
For the next few weeks, I’m dedicating my yoga classes, both those I practice and those I teach, to Ishvara Pranidhana. In the hope that it will serve as a personal reminder and as an offering to my students. Maybe it will help make life a little easier and a little more peaceful. Let’s see what unfolds.