The Anusara Sadhana:  Ishvara Pranidhana, The Practice of Surrendering to The Divine

Raja Yoga: Tapsya, Ishvara Pranidana and Svadyaya
A Non Dual Spin of Patanjali’s Niyamas – Part III

Written by Jaye Martin

Ishvara Pranidhana is the fifth and last Niyama mentioned in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.

Perhaps this Niyama is last because after all the doing, in the end, one ultimately must let go of all. However, the practice of Yoga gives one an opportunity to BEGIN surrendering their actions to something bigger than one’s Self from the get-go!

Although Yoga is not a religion, I feel that practising yoga invites an underlying idea that something bigger, and more profound exists that I call a Greater Truth. This Greater Truth is so true that not only is it true for an individual, but for everyone and everything! A deep yoga practice invites contemplation of a Greater Truth that may or may not be able to be expressed in words!

The Divine – The Divine expresses as me, through me, for me as well as everyone and everything in an infinitely expanding universe.

Something Bigger – I am part of Something Bigger and so is everyone and everything in an infinitely expanding universe.

The One Love – I am born of the One Love and so is everyone and everything in an infinitely expanding universe.

Undifferentiated Pure Light – I am an expression of Undifferentiated Pure Light and so is everyone and everything in an infinitely expanding universe.

Pure Vibrating Potential – I am an expression of Pure Vibrating Potential and so is everyone and everything in an infinitely expanding universe.

God – I am a child of God and everyone and everything in this infinitely expanding universe is a part of God’s creation.

Pure Energy – I am Pure Energy pulsing along with everyone and everything in an infinitely expanding universe.

Of Course, one’s Greater Truth may also be recognized through an inner knowing beyond words.

To consider Ishvara Prandhana, one is invited to ‘surrender’ to the cultivation of a deep and trusting relationship with, and make each of one’s actions an offering in recognition and remembrance of a Greater Truth.

One practice of Ishvara Pranidhana is to devote one’s actions to one’s Greater Truth: to practice completely surrendering or offering our actions to the Greater Truth.

Sometimes when one is presented with challenging situations in life, one can simply quit when it is uncomfortable. This sort of “surrender” may be less honoring of The Greater Truth and the Creative Power of the Greater Truth! Perhaps the idea of Ishvara Pranidhana is to “surrender” as in “give up” our actions to a Greater Truth.

To “give” is to offer!

“Up” is The Highest!

Offer one’s actions up to The Highest, a Greater Truth! Isvara Pranidhana can also be seen as less of a devotional dedication, and more of a saying “YES” to one’s experience of being as it is. By doing so, one surrenders fighting against life’s twists and turns so as to remain open to experiencing life as it unfolds with a sense of radical affirmation!

Whether it’s surrendering to a moment of difficulty or a moment of joy, surrendering the results of our actions, or simply learning to trust in a Greater Truth a little more; each time we do choose to practice Ishvara Pranidhana, we increase the opportunity to experience more of the Bliss of Being – Ananda!

Ishvara Pranidhana helps me to remember that I am part of a Greater Truth; that I don’t have all the answers, nor do I need to; that there is a mystery to my existence and the existence of all that I will never completely understand in this lifetime; that try as I might to figure things out, there will always be a bigger picture that’s beyond my comprehension. And that’s okay. When I surrender the need to know, I move that much closer to uncovering my true nature: that part of me that doesn’t over-intellectualize, analyze, critique, or overthink; the part that is unchanging, undying, everlasting and eternal; The Greater Truth!

Here is a beautiful practice led by Jaye Martin about Ishvara Pranidhana and Celebrating the Divine Feminine.

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