Devotion or isvara pranidhaha, is the last of the
niyamas.  What does this word mean
to me? At this moment it means sheets of yellow legal pad paper filled with
scribbles and many booked marked pages on the Internet. It has been years since
I have written a formal paper and I am finding myself overwhelmed with this
task. But my love of yoga and the thought of becoming a yoga teacher keep me
moving forward.

In some ways the writing of this paper is an example of my
“devotion”. My life is busy, complicated, convoluted, and never
straightforward. To pursue my yoga dream I have to relinquish control of my
kids, house, animals, and garden to my husband for an entire weekend(6 separate weekends). I have to
venture to strange yoga studios where not one face is familiar. Learn Sanskrit when
I still have not mastered the English language. Now I have to write a paper and
all I want to do is flop on the sofa and watch the Confessions of a Shopoholic.
But I am devoted to my yoga teacher training, so I sat down and looked up at
the ceiling and said God you have to make this paper happen. Please organize
all these jumbled thoughts in my head into words that make sense.

I have spent the past two weeks working with 27 children. I
have been assisting with a musical theatre workshop. One day I helped 27 kids
paint 27 chairs. (Well no not by myself.)


This morning I helped these same 27 children organize their
costumes. This afternoon a member of the cast, who is an autistic ADHD 12 year
old boy, sang Alone in the Universe from the musical Suessical. This child has
the voice of the angel and brought tears to the eyes of everyone in the
theatre. I was mesmerized by his performance.

When I have not been at the theatre I have been gathering
quotes for this paper. In one of my Internet searches I came upon this
unrivaled definition. ….Ishvara
Pranidhana, meaning centering on God. This ancient concept gives freedom for
each individual, sect, culture and tradition to choose the name, quality and
aspect of the divine most suitable for worship or devotion. It is based on a
respect for each person’s right to access the divine in his or her own way.
There is recognition that the person or culture chooses an ideal in life upon
which they may develop an individual and personal way of connecting with the
divine. This attunement to God has taken many forms over time and across the
planet. Swami Shraddhananda (Maureen Dolan)

 I have been
trying to orchestrate a paper around this quote. I have found myself hitting
the same brick wall over and over and feeling a complete failure. All I have
accomplished is alienating all those around me by my constant whining, “ I have
to write a paper and I am to old to do this.” But maybe I am simple trying to
hard and I must relax and realize that this paper does not have to be an intellectual
masterpiece but something real.

Now I get it. Ishvara Pranidhara is truly
about letting go and relinquishing my daily life to a higher power. I need to
stop searching for answers on the Internet and just pay attention to my
everyday life. By being devoted to 27 kids for two weeks brought me amazing
gifts and insights. God has been with me there every day and the more I
relinquished my control the more amazing things I witnessed. I will  always remember today Zephyr standing straight and tall as his voice reverberating
throughout the theatre.DSC_0044  The chills that went through my body as I heard God say
he is one of the special ones please do not control him I will. 

Live every day
being guided by a higher power and try to stay open to all the answers that God
is giving you. There is my answer to the question, “ What does devotion mean to

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