Isvara Pranidhana: Stopping the War

Isvara Pranidhana: Stopping the War

Dear Yoga Community,

Last weekend I decided to change the sand out of our chicken coop. Sounds easy enough, right? 500 pounds of sand later and teaching one yoga class and I could barely walk!

I do not love injuring myself, but I do love what I learn from injuring myself. I love that I learn about my body in new ways. My QL (a muscle in my back) and I have gotten to know each other quite well. I love that I learn about my mind in new ways. The catastrophizing mind, the “it will be ok” mind, the racing mind, the compassionate mind, etc. I love that I have a new found sense of gratitude for things I take for granted most of the time, like being able to put my socks on.

The biggest lesson has been the lesson of surrender, letting go, softening, easing, giving it up to God. These are all different ways of saying the same thing, isvara pranidhana. There is not much I can do to make my back feel better besides rest. I over worked my back (tapas relates to our effort and work in our practice and life), and now it does not need more work. It needs rest. In a sense if we are not used to rest or surrendering or playing nice with ourselves it can be quite a lot of work to let ourselves be.

In the past, and I am happy to say my practice has softened this tendency in me a lot, I would fight what I could not control. I would in essence go to war with myself. My mind would berate myself for not doing my core work more often, or lifting with my legs more than my back, or thinking I wasn’t a good enough yoga teacher because I got hurt. This is a form of unproductive mental work that leads to an increase in pain. There was a wee bit of this happening, but I chose not to engage in it. When I engage in that type of thinking I am signing up for the war, and signing up for more fighting. When I surrender into what is, I am not giving up. I am choosing not to fight. I am surrendering the war, which does not mean that I have given up, been defeated, nor have I become a victim. In fact, by surrendering I actually gain power and strength, and I believe I heal faster. So what do I do when that type of thinking creeps in that invites me to go to war? I watch it compassionately. I watch it come in and go out like clouds in the sky or waves coming to shore. I can see that type of thinking is myself suffering, and suffering does not need to be punished. It needs our love.

Do you want to practice the balance of work and ease? Join me for some exciting workshops this month and next!

I look forward to seeing you on or off the mat!

Laura Humpf and Satmato Yoga Therapy