A Space to Be, Separate Together Retreat

Finding Our Way Home (svadyaya, isvara pranidhana)

Wrapping up my month of posts on the Niyama – five personal habits to ‘practice’ on your journey with yoga.

I have done my fair share of journeying in order to ‘find myself’. Each adventure has been a journey that took me out of my comfort zone and then back to a place of greater understanding about myself. I feel very privileged to have been able to learn about myself (and others) in this way. This picture is from Nepal in 2011.

Learning about ourselves or even ‘finding ourselves’ is part of the habit of svādhyāya, the fourth of the niyama. Practising svādhyāya means staying curious about ourselves and continuing to learn and evolve. More traditionally, it refers to study – in particular the study of sacred texts, or material that is inspirational and helps us to feel lighter and brighter.

The fifth niyama is Īśvara praṇidhāna, which means surrender, or trusting – widening our perspective and trusting in ourselves, and in the process of life itself. It also implies some devotion, or commitment.

“Devotion to what?”

Well, this is left quite open to interpretation. To something that is bigger than each of us individually – a commitment to positive change in the world perhaps, to the earth itself, or to something divine. Perhaps we are each being asked to figure that out for ourselves.

To quote Mary Oliver,
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Although I do still love to visit other places geographically,  I have discovered a number of other ways to get my travelling fix. Every time I step on my yoga mat there is an adventure waiting. Even if I simply lay down and take my curiosity within, there are experiences to be be had, and lessons to be learned. My body takes support on the earth and my mind rests on the rhythm of my breath, the rhythm of life itself. I trust in this process and arrive back home, again and again.

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