Ancient Wisdom, Lifestyle, Spirituality, Yoga, Yoga Philosophy

Ishvara Pranidhana or Devotion is the fifth of five Niyamas (observances) studied in Yoga philosophy.

In a deep metaphysical sense, all that is conditioned is illusory. All phenomena are literally ‘appearances,’ the outer masks in which the One Reality shows itself forth in our changing universe. The more ‘material’ and solid the appearance, the further it is from reality, and therefore the more illusory it is. Annie Besant

Niyamas, or things that we should do, is the second limb of Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras or “steps” towards reaching a state of enlightenment or bliss. In order to refresh your memory on the 8 limbs click here 👇🏼

Ishvara Pranidhana or devotion, is being able to surrender yourself to a higher divine power. Trusting that the universe will provide you with exactly what you need in divine right timing. It’s about stepping out of a linear way of thinking with the egoic mind and believing in the guidance from your multidimensional Spirit or inner knowledge that comes from the superior mind. To learn about the different layers of the mind and how they work click here 👇🏼

Have you ever been driving and been completely in your head the whole time, and when you finally get to your destination you say, “I have no idea how I made it here, I don’t remember the entire ride?”

Well that’s because you were in Ego and Spirit, or your Higher Self took over… that’s how you were able to make it to your destination. Spirit is always working for us, it’s the mind that gets in the way. When the walls of Ego come tumbling down, you can begin to devote yourself entirely to the Source of everything. Whatever that Source may be for you. Whether it be God/dess, Spirit, Earth, a higher power or your higher self, it doesn’t matter. It’s about the recognition of something bigger than the limited ego; the process of disassociating less with the external world and more with your internal Self.

When you begin to see yourself in everyone and everything… you begin to see the divine in everyone and everything. Only then can you reach a sense of Oneness.

What are some easy ways to practice Ishvara Pranidhana?

The practice of showing gratitude daily for everything you have in your life is a great way to start practicing devotion. This is how I start my day, before I get out of bed I start saying the things I’m grateful for… “I am grateful to be alive and breathing, thank you divine creator for waking me up. I am grateful to have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. I am grateful to have a warm shower to cleanse me of the old and start a new day. I am grateful to be able to kiss my daughter goodbye every morning before I leave for work. I am grateful for my car that gets me to the places I need to go. I am grateful for my yoga space, my students, my practice. I’m grateful for my healthy body, my legs, arms ears…” you get the drift. Everything you are grateful for… don’t leave anything out!” Create your own Gratitude Mandala… use the one below to help guide you. Fill in the spaces with the things you are grateful for in your life right now.

Once you’ve mastered the attitude of gratitude then you can begin to deepen the practice by setting time out for devotion. Devotion can simply be taking 5-10 mins to yourself, playing some music and not thinking about anything else. It can be taking a yoga class, meditation, stepping outside into nature, lighting a candle, paint, sing, write… anything you do for the Self, to take care of the self. But it has to be practiced daily, and you have to remain mindful while doing it. It’s about perfecting the practice of inner focus and concentration. When practiced daily, it leads towards ultimate joy, happiness, peace and freedom.

One of the harder practices of Ishvara Pranidhana is “letting go.” In order to bring happiness one must let go of the “fruits of their labor.” How often do you think, “what if… (insert negative thought here)… people don’t like me, what if I fail, what if I’m not good enough… what if? … what if?… what if? LET GO of ALL the what if’s? Don’t think, just do. We’re always worried about the “fruits” of our actions instead of surrendering or transcending the ego and trusting our deepest self. Learn to LET GO by overriding the mind and stepping into your heart center. Listen intently for it has much to say. 🦋

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