I was in my car driving while I was thinking about how I would talk about Isvara-pranidhana. I was on my way to a place that I’ve driven to time and again, but in spite of that, I was using my GPS. Suddenly I took a turn & put myself on a different path… not the path the GPS had planned for me. But I immediately felt a comfort in knowing that I was able to relax about it because I knew wherever I was, I could still easily get back on track. That’s what the GPS voice calls “RECALCULATING”.
I love that- because that’s just how it is when I am able to surrender to the divine- I may be going along, with absolutely no idea where I am right now, and if I take a wrong turn, I can always “recalculate” and begin again. I have a choice to surrender to what is, letting go of the idea that I am in control. I can choose to proceed again in this moment with devotion to this moment – with a faith that I’m not separate from that Divine mind within and the act of bringing my mind back to this moment over and over again imbues life with the sacred. I learn that there is no such thing anymore as a “wrong” turn. I am able to be more attentive to the quality of the moments in my life, than the outcome of those moments.
This devotion to something bigger than our selves is a gateway to the spiritual side of our lives.
Yoga teacher Shiva Rea says this about using isvara pranidhana in practice: “I breathe and empty the residue of the day and find that I am soon filled with an intuitive sense of direction, inspiration, and clarity that I experience as an inner compass, a teacher whose presence deepens throughout the practice.”
On the mat we are constantly given the opportunity to recalculate. From moment to moment we reset our physical body. In balance postures afferent and efferent nerve signals fire back and forth from brain to body and body to brain and they fire faster and faster. Through consistent use, the somatic side of the nervous system becomes more effective and balance improves.
When we quiet the mind and bring our attention to the breath, we are able to become more calm and focused- one of the best ways to recalculate and connect to our inner self. Our breath alone can reverse the Fight or Flight response of our nervous system and keep unhealthy responses to stress from harming us. We use the breath to recalculate!