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Surrender, last resort or key to happiness?

Surrender, last resort or key to happiness?

Breathing in I calm my body. Breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh

An internet definition of surrender is “to give up, to relinquish, to yield”.  Another translation is “to relinquish to the control or to give up physically”.  A more yogic definition is “a lack of attachment to an outcome”.  The former assumes a losing of control or becoming powerless while the later, yogic definition, provides us a sense of freedom. When we surrender to that which we cannot control, we can take care of that which is in our control.  Surrendering in this way, is an act of unconditional faith.

SurrenderWhen we practice sun salutations, especially upon awakening, we offer gratitude to the sun and it’s energy, to it’s effortless rising and setting without need for control or resistance. In doing so, we are reminded to accept what is, what was and what will be by moving into a state of presence, calm and increased peace.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the yogic practice of surrendering to a higher self or to the Divine is called Ishvara Pranidhana. By practicing Ishvara Pranidhana, we begin to experience a shift in perspective that encourages us to remember, connect with and receive the grace of being alive. In the West, surrender is often taught or encouraged as a last resort. Patanjali teaches that surrender is a necessary ongoing practice. It is one of the 5 Niyamas (observances) of the eight-limbed path. We do have the ability to decide how we respond to life. Surrendering to the outcome allows us to move through the obstacles of our ego toward our divine nature and eventually to Samadhi (bliss) or serenity.

By Christie Mackson

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