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Surrender & Devotion - Can it be both?

"Holding on is believing there is only a past, letting go is knowing there is a future." -Daphne Rose Kingma

In an August 2007 Yoga Journal article written by Shiva Rae, she expertly explains the Niyama Ishvara Pranidhana as follows "Ishvara pranidhana—surrendering (pranidhana) to a higher source (Ishvara). Ishvara pranidhana is a “big picture” yoga practice: It initiates a sacred shift of perspective that helps us to remember, align with, and receive the grace of being alive. Ishvara pranidhana could be called “heartfulness” practice; it awakens our constant devotion to the Source of life and keeps our hearts open to the Divine in every moment, no matter what arises."

This Niyama description feels more poignant than any I've seen before. Usually the authors focus on the word "surrender". What I see in Shiva Rae's definition is one of devotion and vision. That the idea of surrendering to a higher source, or Other, is opening our eyes to something greater than ourselves, and our minds to the possibility of divinity, as our hearts delight in the very idea that we exist at all. The "grace of being alive" almost requires us to believe in something greater than self in order to make sense of our existence.

In yoga, we spend time on our mats learning to surrender many things. We surrender our thoughts, our expectations, our desires, even ourselves. Yoga begins to shift our perception from an I vs. them mental process to simply US or WE. Yoga allows us to open our hearts and our eyes to our young and wise selves and remember when we believed that there was something bigger helping to shape this world, our community, and our lives.

Our own inner presence of Ishvara (Source/divinity) allows us to tap into an internal guidance system that directly connects to our hearts and helps us to align our outer world and actions, with our inner soul and knowing.

To my yoga students: I look forward to moving and connecting deeply with our hearts desires this weekend. As we breathe and take in the energy around us our Universal connections grow. These connections give us the capability to let go of habits, people, or careers that do not align with what is true in our soul-being. Letting go and allowing source to guide us becomes as easy as INHALE > EXHALE....

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