All is Love

Posted in Lessons from the Mat

The yogic teaching of ishvara pranidhana (Patanjali Yoga Sutra II.44) is often translated as surrender to and love for God or the divinity. In this day and age the word God can stir a lot of emotions up, negative and positive, so in class I use the interpretation surrendering to something bigger or outside of yourself.

In both cases, “surrender” is the key word, and to surrender or to give yourself over completely to anyone or anything, it is an act of love. For example, I love yoga and meditation (understatement), and as a result most (okay, all) of what I do, read, and listen to has to do with those two topics.

People come to yoga wanting something from it: longer hamstrings, less stress, or some sort of answer. Instead, can you practice as an act of love, with a spirit of offering? Give yourself over completely while being OK with what is given. Last week a friend asked me (sarcastically) “How can I ever improve in yoga if I’m always told to accept where I am?” This teaching is more than just that as it asks you to try your best without any attachment to outcome.

Once you are able to apply ishvara pranidhana to your downward dog and mountain pose, the easier it becomes to apply it off the mat. Tried, tested and true, tasks like folding laundry and brushing teeth then become acts of love, and you realize that nothing is excluded from love. All is love.