It’s November, bringing us to the final Niyama, or ethnical observance of yoga: Ishvara Pranidhana. Surrender. Discover its truth below after this month’s News!
October was a great month. As always, it was lovely returning to Yogaville. I thank Amy Weintraub for the opportunity to assist her and share how yoga can provide support and make a difference in helping individuals balance mood and address symptoms of depression and anxiety.
This past month I also delivered another corporate workshop on how to include self-care throughout your day to relieve and manage stress.
Finally, I'm particularly excited to share that this past month I was up on Wellness Hub with a Q & A guest blog post about the functional movement yoga therapy I do. Wellness Hub provides a terrific resource for NoVA in finding holistic. Check out the blog post out here!
What’s up next? Two great workshops are on the calendar in November! Find out details below--hope to see you there!
November: Ishvara Pranidhana
We have reached the last niyama, or ethical observance of yoga: Ishvara Pranidhana. In Sanskrit this means Surrender.
Surrender? At times the very idea of surrender can be uncomfortable to contemplate, especially coming from a “never give up” cultural society. Yet Deborah Adele helps clarify things in The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice. She explains that “surrender invites us to be participants in our life, totally present and fluid in each movement, while appreciating the magnitude and mystery of what we are participating in.”
I’ve always called this “walking into the mystery”. It comes back to that process of letting go, doesn’t it?
When I first began my journey of pursuing yoga therapy by studying with my teacher Susi Hately, I had a conversation with someone who would eventually become my mentor in the certification program. At the time, I was attending a kinesiology/therapeutic intensive in Canada; it was August 2015. The conversation was about how my mentor had experienced the challenges of her own certification journey with Hately; how she had found her way and met the demands of her own practicum. I was truly taken back and surprised at her answer.
She told me is was mostly a process of “getting out of her own way.”
I’ve been working to try to make sense of this ever since.
How do we get in our own way? I think it comes down to thinking that we can control life and fighting against the reality of what life presents in our lives, whether it is the "small stuff," like sitting in traffic, or the "big stuff," whatever that might be. In so doing, we often discover that believing we can control life takes a lot of physical, mental and emotional energy, particularly when life takes unexpected turns.
Adele tells us this: “As we learn to stop fighting life, we can begin to act skillfully. Control makes us rigid and tight and narrows our perspective.” She goes to say “surrender is learning to skillfully ride with what the moment gives us, all the while enjoying the process, whether we glide through safely or tip over and get wet.”
Gliding through safely sounds fine of course. And, it’s a bit tougher to surrender to tipping over. Yet tipping over happens to all us and it is our resistance to it that causes our discomfort; once we surrender and allow ourselves to flow with the river of life we open ourselves to greater peace and joy. What is a step towards surrender? Breathe and be with whatever feelings arise. Nurture the non-judgmental inner witness and breathe.
Adele points out that it is usually the ego and its desire to be “number one” and in control that creates the resistance and rigidity. And when we are “able to let go of what we can’t change, we are able to grow more and more into our unique gift and contribution to life itself.” Ishvara Pranidhana, Adele tells us, is the “surrender of the ego to a higher purpose.”
We are all on this journey of learning to surrender to the flow of life and our unique, higher purpose. In so doing, we open ourselves to more peace and joy. My mentor, I think, was discovering that as she got “out of her own way,” she found her flow, her ease.
This month we enter the holiday season. As we do, I hope you will find your flow, that jewel of surrender that opens the door to more ease in life.
With light and love,
Blog Archives including Heart Tree Yoga's Yamas and Niyamas Study from January-December 2016 and seasonal newsletters.