08 May Niyama-Īśvara-Praṇidhāna (ईश्वर-प्रणिधान)
By Lucia Yess
Īśvara-Praṇidhāna is our final niyama. There are many different ideas of what this niyama means but when broken down by Patanjali, it translates to, “isvara” as “Lord,” and “pranidhana” as “throwing down” or “giving up.” Īśvara-Praṇidhāna is often translated as “giving up or surrendering the fruits of all our actions to God.”
Yoga is not always considered a theistic philosophy but some yoga traditions, gurus, and yogis have used it as such. Therefore this niyama has been associated with devotion to specific Gods or deities. “Isvara” can also mean the divine, Higher Power, the universe, etc.
I find this niyama refreshing because it doesn’t say who to worship but let go and give room for your higher power to shine. This could be Mother Earth, God, Ganesha, Buddha, Allah, the Universe, or whatever you find holy. Most faiths have the same idea of our inner light. In fact when you let go, often times people find this sense of ease or relaxation. This could be your form of a higher power.
Most importantly it speaks to me because we live in a society that is so concerned with always being invested in everything. We always have to be on and in control. What if you just had that moment where you said, “that’s it! I am done with planning and I am going to just take the next moment as it is and then so on and so forth.” That is Īśvara-Praṇidhāna. You are living moment to moment with the grace of life.
I challenge you to go to your favorite place whether that is at your house or out camping and sit in silence. Take a few deep breathes and just allow whatever comes in to guide you to what you do next without planning or having an agenda. Just go with the flow and feel what it is like to let go to your highest self.