August 2022 Yoga Challenge: Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender)

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close-up white paintbrush mountain wildflower surrounded by bright green leaves - ishvara pranidhana acceptance surrender Quote: Surrender is a journey from outer turmoil to inner peace. - Sri Chinmoy
Surrender is a journey from outer turmoil to inner peace. – Sri Chinmoy

Good morning Yogis, we reached the last of the Niyamas! We first practiced the fifth of the Niyamas – Ishvara Pranidhana / Surrender by working on practicing acceptance rather than upset reactions to a difficult situation. As we discussed in our intro, Ishvara Pranidhana is the most difficult of the Niyamas to understand and practice, but also one of the most rewarding. So, today we will work again on the challenging practice of acceptance in difficult times.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice acceptance when something bad or less-than-positive happens today. Try a deep breathing exercise when you encounter a problem. If you lose your temper, perhaps try to step outside yourself and see yourself reacting to a difficulty, and ask yourself if your reaction was productive. If it is possible, try seeing the silver lining for potential for growth in a bad situation. If you are practiced in religious faith, perhaps try praying for your own peace, calm, and understanding instead of a solution to a problem you are facing. Again, this is a journey and this particular practice today is one of the most difficult, so be gentle with yourself. If at first you do not succeed, evaluate what your reaction contributed, and try again next time. Treat this as an experiment, and see how you feel later after trying different approaches to problems that arise.

Advanced Yogis who incorporate Ishvara Pranidhana into their lives may begin seeing difficulties as challenges to overcome, and opportunities to practice managing our responses. This is one of the keys of long-lasting happiness, since getting upset often does nothing to help a bad situation and only makes things more difficult for ourselves. Instead, try to stay calm, and do not allow a negative encounter to draw you into negativity. Of course, this is easier said than done! Remember, it is a journey.

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Please comment if you would like to share how this exercise impacted you. Feel free to share your successes or your struggles with this challenging practice. Always remember, be kind!