Ishvara pranidhana, worship of God; directing actions, thoughts, feelings and aspirations towards the Divine.

It is life (God) that fulfills things and not what we  call ‘I.’ We can receive each moment with an open heart through devotion, trust, and active involvement. „Rather than rowing against the current, enjoy the ride and reflect the view.” 

Surrender to God is Ishvara pranidhana. This is the practice by which we consecrate our every action and life to the divine higher force. He surrenders his own will to the will of God: „I am in God the Father, and God the Father is in me”. Abandonment of self means to regard every work as the Heavenly Father’s and to give up all claim to his ways. This can be achieved by a devotion that must take full possession of the aspirant to the state of yoga.

There is no loss in surrendering one’s will to God. By surrendering the will to the Divine, one’s will becomes one with the Cosmic Will. The aspirant becomes one with the Heavenly Father. Self-surrender makes the devotee feel the reality of divine grace and the grace of the Heavenly Father, who gives help at any moment. The Divine grace pours into his being and molds him to make him a channel of manifestation fit for Divine realization and instrumentality.

Sometimes external factors become responsible for the effort to which we have been or are subjected. Because the heart is absent, there is no sense of happiness. There can be no talk of joy when the core is not involved in the action. Therefore, it is suggested that the practice of self-control be coupled with deep knowledge and spiritual aspiration, which is indicated by svadhyaya (sacred study), and Ishvara pranidhana, which is worship and surrender to God the Father as the ultimate goal of life.

The purpose of sense control, sacred study, and worship of God is unique – namely, the affirmation of the supremacy and ultimate worth of the Divine. This requires persevering effort and can be an intense effort on the part of the mind to prevent, on the one hand, the penetration of impressions and desires that are connected with the external world and, on the other hand, to create impressions of a positive character in the form of love of God. Ishvara pranidhana invites us to end habitual impressions received from outside (from objects) and to allow only those impressions that are conducive to the contemplation of the Divine Reality. This manifold effort – namely, a positive effort of control and restraint of the senses from direct action regarding external objects, a deep sacred study in a state of transfiguration that is dedicated to the liberation of the spirit from beginning to end, and a constant reminder in the mind that God is All, with a surrender of self to His supremacy – constitutes a very important practice in itself. In our daily aspirations, worship of God plays a vital role. Action, worship, and knowledge are the stages of one’s ascent.

The ideal chosen for meditation practice must be such as to attract our full attention and invoke devotion and love. The love and aspiration aroused in our hearts by our ideal is the power that will lead us to that ideal. That is why the concept of Ishvara was naturally introduced by Patanjali as an ideal to be attained and accepted to concentrate the mind in yoga practice. 

Without a process of divine transfiguration, we cannot love a being entirely because each has a limitation. Although we may be attracted to a certain person or thing for the moment, in certain circumstances, for our own reasons, this attraction without transfiguration cannot continue for long, as it will only exist as long as emotions overwhelm us. Thus, finally, the sage Patanjali believes that no ordinary human being can be an object of adoration. Therefore, we must have a supreme personality concept – a Supreme Being who is not an ordinary human being and who is free from the results that flow from actions. Thus, for all practical purposes, Ishvara is none other than God. 

Because God is different in the general conception of men, we reach this stage by different means and in different situations. It is the moment when the aspirant ultimately gives up the ego and surrenders to destiny. For Maharishi Patanjali, the fruit of perfection in Ishvara pranidhana is Divine Ecstasy ‘Samadhi’.

Although yamas and niyamas can be found in other cultures, they were formulated by yogis. A yogi knows that the mind should never be forced to accept anything. They can be cultivated with the help of spiritual effort, and when they become spontaneous, there will be no repression. By keeping yamas and niyamas in mind they will develop naturally. Any new work may seem very difficult to do, but when one goes through the process of doing it, one finds that it is easier. In this way, you need to start following the yamas and niyamas by first bringing them into behavioural patterns and allowing your understanding of them to deepen. Gradually, they flourish by themselves. 

Over time, the yamas and niyamas become part of the meditative transformation the yogi experiences. Purity, saucha, contentment, santosha, study and self-analysis, svadhyaya, are experienced in meditation. Meditation becomes a process of purification from all the residues accumulated over time, which is a form of tapas. Meditation becomes a tool to learn how to surrender and surrender to the Divine, Ishvara pranidhana. Meditation becomes a tool for living sincerity, Satya. With this purification of one’s nature, the intensity of violence withdraws from the personality and reflects non-violence ahimsa. Keeping our highest goal in mind, the Immortal Divine Self Atman, asteya, non-fur, aparigraha, simple living, non-possessiveness, and sexual continence brahmacharya, become natural and spontaneous.

Periodically when you feel more relaxed, with increased vitality and concentration return to the yamas and niyamas. Anyone who practices a little medicine can be called a doctor, but to qualify as a doctor, there must be specific training. Similarly, to become a yogi, you need this particular training and the yamas and niyamas will become essential for meditation and Divine Samadhi Ecstasy. This is the true approach to yoga practice.