Ishvara pranidhana is not about what your yoga can do for you, but about approaching your practice in the spirit of offering.
Ishvara pranidhana means surrendering (pranidhana) to a higher source (Ishvara). Ishvara pranidhana is a “big picture” yoga practice: It initiates a sacred shift of perspective that helps us to remember, align with, and receive the grace of being alive.
To many modern Westerners the idea of surrender as a virtue may seem strange. Many of us have only experienced surrendering to a higher source as a last resort, when we’ve confronted seemingly insurmountable problems or in some other way hit the edge of our individual will and abilities. But in the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali transforms “surrender” from this sort of last-resort, emergency response into an essential ongoing practice.
For Patanjali, Ishvara pranidhana is a potent method for dissolving the endless agitations of the mind, and thus a means to the ultimate unified state of yoga: samadhi. Why? Because Ishvara pranidhana shifts our perspective from the obsession with “I”—with our narrow individual concerns and perspective—that causes so much of the mind’s distraction and creates a sense of separation from our Source. Since Ishvara pranidhana focuses not on ego but on the sacred ground of being, it reunites us with our true Self.
The Practice of Surrender by Shiva Rea from the Yoga Journal newsletter
expanded article http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/776?utm_source=Wisdom&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=Wisdom