Incorporate ishvara prandihana (devotion to a higher power) into your yoga practice with an asana, mantra, and mudra to bring into focus the subtle and not-so-subtle ways this niyama plays out in your life.
Ishvara pranidhana translates to "bowing" or "recognizing the source." This can be the source of life within and around you, or simply recognizing a higher consciousness. To incorporate ishvara pranidhana into your own life and practice, start with the pose, mudra (hand-and-finger gesture), and mantra (a sacred utterance repeated continuously) below. Do this practice on its own, add more poses with the accompanying 10-minute video sequence, or link all of the yamas and niyamas together, one pose as a time, forming a sequence.
Ishvara Pranidhana Yoga Practice
Hold the pose, with its mudra, for 3–5 breaths, mindfully chanting, aloud or internally, its accompanying mantra.
Asana: Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Lying on your belly, rest your forehead on the ground and extend your arms in front of you.
Mudra: Anjali Mudra
Bring your palms together at the heart center in Anjali Mudra, the gesture representing devotion,
Softly chant the sound of the universe—Om. Giving over, or surrendering, our fears, anxieties, and doubts makes life easier and more bearable. While we may offer the fruits of our practice to another, or bow to a force or being that is seemingly greater than ourselves, our yoga practice teaches us that we actually contain the divine source of life within us. It is our baseline, our natural state that we often forget. Ishvara Pranidhana reminds us: That which we seek is already present within us.
Watch the video
To tie it all together or to deepen your work around ishvara pranidhana, try this quieting 10-minute practice with Coral Brown.
YOGA JOURNAL, SEPT 2015