This week in class we are exploring Ishvara Pranidhana, the fifth Niyama.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity....It turns problems into gifts, failure into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates vision for tomorrow."
- Melody Beattie
Consider Ishvara Pranidhana the fifth Niyama. Ishvara represents that living symbol of the divine that is in our hearts and Pranidhana a profound recognition of that which sustains us and gives meaning to our lives. Literally it means surrender to God.
Ishvara Pranidhana is fundamentally about a relationship to something higher than or beyond ourselves. It may be a higher force, as in the context of traditional religious traditions, or it may be in relation to human values, such as kindness and compassion. In either case, it will manifest in our lives as the ability to let go of the tyranny of our self-importance – whether it reveals itself as pride and arrogance, or self-pity and low self-esteem. It will awaken in us attitudes such as gratitude and appreciation. As a result, we will be able to simply wake up in the morning and say,”Ah, I’m alive another day.” We will feel grateful in our hearts for the gift of this life. We will take the time to look and appreciate the beauty around us. In our relationships we will become open to receiving each other with respect and appreciation.
Homework: What does the concept of “sacrificing your own self-importance” mean to you to? Does this sacrifice have to come before the qualities of kindness, compassion, gratitude, appreciation and respect can be cultivated? What little step can you take today to begin or deepen your practice of Ishvara Pranidhana?
Quoted and paraphrased from Iyengar the Yoga Master, edited by Kofi Busia, Kriya Yoga: Transformation Through Practice – A Western Perspective, by Gary Kraftsow.
Rushing Water Yoga
Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and
since 2003 Vancouver Washington