May 25, 2010 by Swami Saradananda
This month, along with the students in the "Yama-Niyama e-course", I've been working with the principle of "ishwara-pranidhana", which is usually translated as "self-surrender" or "surrender to the Lord". This is a hard one for many modern yogis, who don't seem inclined to surrender to anyone or any teaching.
You may feel that you do not relate to the concept of "God" — or that you do not really know who or what God is — or even whether God really exists. You may (understandably) be loath to commit to doing things that you don't understand, even though they have been advocated by both ancient scriptures and modern yoga teachers.
If this is your situation, it might be helpful to envision Patanjali's final niyama as the steps you take towards letting go of your self-imposed limitations.
Begin by looking at how your world is very much created by your thoughts. Tell yourself that you are weak, and you will find yourself lacking sufficient strength. Or if you focus on an emotional experience, such as grief, it begins to form an integral part of your personality. See how you mould your character by your thoughts. The more you hold on to negativity, the more it controls you.
Remember, it is only the thought that you are not free keeps you from being free.
with best wishes for great success in your sadhana