Niyama 5, Spirituality, Ishvara pranidhana

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Sutra 2.45: samadhi siddih isvara pranidhanat

Samadhi: contemplation. Siddih: power, accomplishment, realization. Isvarapranidhanat: through devotion to the Lord, positive behavior and the ritual act of devotion.

Contemplation and its powers are attained through worship of God. (trans. Bernard Bouanchaud, The Essence of Yoga)

QUINCE BLOSSOM, Fredonia NY (Barefoot Photos)

A final Niyama or lifestyle guideline, focuses upon one’s relationship with the Divine.

Many undertake yoga class as a means of physical fitness or mental relaxation. And that it is. In time, however, yoga’s effects reach deep into our sense of self.

Though yoga itself does not espouse a particular religion, and though most practitioners would not consider themselves the least bit spiritual when they undertake yoga, hopefully, they will find seeds of a higher power or at least an inner life developing as they continue yoga asana and meditation.

Moment by moment, practice by practice, breath by breath, we learn to relinquish our boundaries and all that limits us in this world.

As we “grow” our awareness in asana or pranayama, and with what is happening in our body in space, we also start watching what our minds and hearts are up to! The energy of the others in the room feels almost physical. Slowly, we understand how our energy is interacting with the other folks’. How did we miss all this before? With new found certainty, we understand that we are more than the group of isolated individuals we once thought we were.

After class we stroll outside and notice the grounded energy of the trees and the vibrant, vibrating colors of the flowers along the path. There is a creek nearby that flows, imbued with an unseen force that is not exactly alive, nor dead.

If we are Christian, we begin to see grace everywhere.

We can feel the creek, the trees, the flowers as a sense of kinship develops. A little unsettling at first, this humming inside grows gently blissful. The heart center blossoms open and limitless.

We ARE yoga now.

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