Each month in our core classes (Open Yoga, Gentle Yoga and Meditation) we explore the first 2 limbs of yoga as laid out in the ancient text the Yoga Sutra. The first limb is the Yamas and the second is the Niyamas, together they offer 10 foundation precepts that guide a skillful yoga practice. This focus gives us the opportunity to expand our point of view and evolve our practice. It brings the yoga we do in class into a bigger context, encouraging us to take it off the mat and into our lives. Exploring together in this way, is also a great opportunity to build community.
The fifth Niyama is Ishvara Pranidhana. The most common translation is surrender to God. This definition brings up a lot of questions. What does God mean to you? Do you prefer to use the word Love? Or Universal Energy? Or something else? Surrender, as it is used in the english language does not seem like something we want to engage in (i.e. quit, crumble are some synonyms that are given in the dictionary). Is faith a more useful translation? Or trust? Maybe a combination of faith and trust? Some questions to contemplate as a way to experiment with Ishvara Pranidhana. The answers aren’t so important, more a willingness to spend time asking these kinds of questions and an openness to the answers that arise.
One consideration, as you explore, remember that each of the yamas and niyamas contain all of the others. For example when you practice Ishvara Pranidhana - the fifth yama, aparigraha (non-attachment) con offer some support.