Friday, September 1, 2017

Divine Devotion

We like to add an element of playfulness to our practice with our Sassy Seniors. This month we used doggie finger puppets as parts of our centering, as we sang along to "How much is that doggie in the window?" These seniors with memory issue often remember songs from back in the day!
Dogs can be remarkably devoted to those who care for them, which led us to consider Ishvara Pranidhana, divine devotion. Our story; I am devoted. 
Devoting yourself to something larger than your self can transform your yoga practice and your life. A major component of yoga is study of the self, however if we are only internalizing we run the risk of becoming egocentric. Ishvara pranidhana is an ideal counterpount; we study the divine within ourselves, the divine within all beings, and the Divine source within all things.
Devotion implies trust,  being open to the divine plan, how and where life takes you. Such devotion gives rise to grace. Devotion is an attitude that you carry with you, that you live your life with. Seeing the divine in all, being open, and gracious. 
Ishvara Pranidhana is one of 5 niyamas in the Yoga Sutras and is considered the zenith of the niyamas. It encourages us to live with wholehearted devotion to all of Divine creation, to see the light in every person, animal and inanimate object. Some may choose to practice Ishvara Pranidhana through daily prayer or meditation. By stilling the body and the mind we can connect with the Divine and open to grace. One can also practice by simply pausing to feel grateful. By sprinkling life with devotion, each and every moment can be transformed.  
It has been said that we live in an age in which all humanity has fallen away from grace. Ishvara Pranidhana initiates a shift of perspective that helps us receive grace, the grace of being alive. Because it connects us to the divine source it shifts our perspective from our narrow individual concerns. Awakening a devotion to the Divine source of life opens us to the divine in every moment, no matter what happens. 

Mahalo, we serve. 

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