• Kelly

Ishvara Pranidhana: Dedication

In this last segment on the Niyamas, I will discuss the surrender of the self to a higher power. Ishvara Pranidhana, the fifth Niyama, dictates that we dedicate our lives to a higher power or purpose, god or creator.

No matter what our religious beliefs, we can surrender our own will to a power greater than ourselves. Letting go of self-focus and realizing that we are not the hub of life is a freeing and important step. Open your heart and your mind to others and to your creator and know that each of us is a cog in the wheel of life. Serving others is one way in which we can serve our own creator.

Recognizing that we are not in control of the future is a first step. Life happens at its own pace and, as mere mortals, we cannot dictate the course life takes. Releasing any presumption of authority over what is yet to come is akin to placing trust in a creator or higher power.

Rising to the challenge that life can present is another aspect of Ishvara Pranidhana. Challenges will arise and the way in which we face those hardships or tribulations is indicative of our inner reserves of strength and devotion. For instance, running from a problem is one option and facing that trial head-on with courage and tenacity is another option. Facing trials and knowing that in the end we will be alright is surrender.

Ishvara Pranidhana asks that we recognize our humanity, release our control, and rise to the challenge of life. Surrendering control over to a higher power and living life as it occurs is the calling of a yogi both on and off the mat.