Accepting and believing there is something greater than ourselves at work in the divine order of all things is the ultimate surrender. Ishvara Pranidhana is a big ‘ol Sanskrit word that means just that. No small feat, to completely surrender because we still must live within the world around us which is full of unpredictability, unknowns, injustices, suffering and obstacles of all kinds. There’s so much that prevents us in any given moment from surrendering to what is. That’s why savasana (or Corpse pose-the one we do at the end of yoga class), can be so challenging, because it’s asking us to surrender fully and completely to the moment, without changing or doing anything. Ishvara Prahidhana asks us to trust that all things are unfolding just as they should be, whether we like what’s unfolding or not.
Yoga teaches that the root cause of our suffering can be boiled down to one simple concept called Avidya or, false perception. This “incorrect comprehension”, the result of years of accumulated belief & action patterns in unconscious acts that we habitually fall into, obscure the truth or reality of situations, actions or thoughts. And what grows up out of those roots of Avidya?, why branches of course, right? and those branches are our obstacles: ego, attachment, refusal & fear.
Surrender can’t happen if we’re letting one or more of our obstacles rule our beliefs, decisions and actions. Here are those obstacles again:
Ego (or Asmita), frequently shows up as needing to be right, comparing ourself to others or having an overinflated sense of self.
Attachment (or Raga) can show up as fierceness or desperation in not being willing to give up something we think we can’t do without. (a relationship, object, money, identity), it’s a gripping dissatisfaction that we sometimes cannot even name.
Refusal (or Dvesa) can present as avoidance, writing-off people, places, foods or experiences because we don’t want to repeat an uncomfortable experience, or we’ve closed our mind to the unfamiliar because it may bring us pain or discomfort to experience the unknown.
Fear (or Abhinivesa), it’s a doozy! Loaded into our everyday and I believe, the most complex as it has the power to allow or halt the flow our energy and ultimately our ability to let go, relax and trust in our safety, in ourselves and the world.
Surrender can’t happen if we’re letting one or more of our obstacles rule our decisions and actions.
One of the things that keeps us resilient and in an emotionally flexible state especially during difficulty, is choosing to surrender and stay in the flow of life, trusting that it simply is what it is, moment to moment. I have this mantra I started repeating way back when my kids were little and we lived in England and would travel that long flight to California twice a year: “It’ll be what it’ll be and then it will be over.” Those days of travel with little ones was always arduous, stressful and exhausting, but knowing the impermanence of all things, got me through it.
Though it might not ever be what we expect, there’s a beginning and end to all things, however difficult or joyous.
Rather than forcing or averting, staying in conflict with ourselves or situations beyond our control, yoga teaches us to attune to the natural rhythm of life, however rocky & stressful, trusting it won’t last forever, that we’ll see our way out, over or through it when the time is right.
For tips on how to remain grounded, cultivate emotional flexibility and trust in the surrender, I recommend a morning ritual to start your day. You can learn more about how to craft your own on my Blog post here: mastering your morning
Lemme know what you think and stay in touch 💛