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New Year, New Perspectives, Exploring Ishvarapranidhana

Do you ever look at your life and just think…. wow…. I effed this up real good!?

Sometimes I look back at my dreams and goals and my life and wonder why my reality looks so different than my dreams. Now…. I say this coming out of a few really challenging years. When I look back at the challenges I’ve been through in last little bit I can still feel the pain in my body. No I haven’t been injured or physically hurt, but pain doesn’t only come from physical injury. But nonetheless, that is not what this post is about. This post is about the fact that through all of those challenging times that brought me to feel a pain like no other, if I take a moment to shift my perspective along side that pain is so much beauty. More beauty than I could see or feel at the time.

You see, there are times when our perspective takes over and there is nothing that we can do to see anything other than what we are feeling at that moment. When those feelings are so big our body and our mind will do everything to minimize sensation by not allowing any more feelings in. I know this sounds weird because when we focus on painful moments, you would think that allowing in good feelings would help, but it doesn’t work that way. We can only take in so much at one time, this goes for both negative… and positive. However, once we allow ourselves to move through those moments, whatever they may be, and start to gain some perspective is when the real shifts can start to happen.

When I look back at the the last couple years, aside from the difficult times, I can see so many amazing things that I don’t even know where to start. I’ve started a side hustle that I thought would always just be this small little thing that is now growing by leaps and bounds to a place that I never imagined could happen. I completed certifications that now put me in a spot to grow my career and help build and support new instructors in a way that I couldn’t before. I’ve grown in a way that gives me the ability to support and understand people on a different level. I’m able to give more depth in my teaching as I learn more and give my classes something different than I was able to before.

After teaching to a full room yesterday, I had a thought about my teaching that I want to explore more. I was told so many times that my class was amazing, which I appreciate and do believe, but…. I don’t exactly know what I do that is more amazing than others. I know this sounds weird, but if I were to tell someone what I do that makes my classes more amazing than others, I couldn’t pinpoint what it is that I’ve cultivated to make things so great. Don’t get me wrong, I work hard and there are specific things that I work on as a teacher to grow and develop my classes, I just don’t know what lands for those who love my classes specifically. For some it might be my music choice, for others it might be my cuing, or maybe it’s my voice, or the postures I choose. In all honestly, I don’t think it’s one thing. I think it’s different for different people.

As a teacher it has always been my goal to make people feel safe and comfortable. It’s a space where people can check out of life and fall asleep, or it’s a space where people can check in with the self and take a moment to cry tears or joy or pain. It’s a place where they can move their body without judgement. It’s a place where I see them and their potential and allow them to move in to places where they maybe never expected that they could go. It’s a place where people can try and fail. It’s a place where people can do what feels best for them without expectation. It’s a safe place. It’s a place where I feel confident, which is not something that I necessarily feel in all places. It’s a place where I give the things that I’ve gotten elsewhere that have made me feel good and safe, where I can give that back others. It truly fills me with joy knowing that I can provide this for so many people.

There are still so many things that I want and that I aspire to have and to be, but one thing that I’ve learned is that I need to surrender. I often start the new year with a word…. a goal… an inspiration. However, this year I’m feeling the need to do something a little bit different. I am thinking about a word, but not in the way that I’ve thought about it in the past. This year I’m focusing on a concept.

In yoga we study the Yamas and the Niyamas, so this year I would like to focus more on Ishvarapranidhana. My first goal might just have to be practicing how to say this crazy word. However, I chose this word because one thing that I want to focus on is trust. Trusting that I haven’t effed things all up. Trusting that there is good that goes along with the bad. Trusting that there is something greater beyond myself that knows more than I do. Trusting that my dreams are real and that even though I may not have what I want in this moment, that the fact that I still have the dreams means more than I can understand. Trusting that experiences and people have come in to my life for a reason. Trusting that things will continue to be good even though there is bad. Trusting that when there is bad that I know there is still good happening and that I know I will be able to see it even if I can’t see it at that moment.

Ishvarapranidhana is about surrendering to something greater than the self and trusting that there is a bigger purpose. I often struggle with the need to control and have things in a way that I think they need to be, but then I struggle when then aren’t that way. With Ishvarapranidhana, it will allow me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. To take a moment to understand that I am not alone and that there are bigger things happening than I could ever understand or explain. When I look back at the past few years and recognize the pain and hurt and challenges that I’ve gone through, in retrospect I an see that it has all taken me to a place that is part of my personal destiny. This is my path and I wouldn’t want to give it up for anything. What I’ve been through makes me who I am as a person. It makes me the teacher who I am, that I might not be able to put words to, but who I know gives 100% to her classes to connect with people in way that is unique. I know and accept that not everyone likes or will like me. This is one of my biggest challenges to accept. However, with Ishvarapranidhana I understand that I don’t need them to. I know that we all have different paths, different stories, different lessons, and I’m going to focus on the good, on the love, on the positive and let go of what no longer serves me.

So my word for 2020 is Ishvarapranidhana or… in simpler terms my word is Surrender. I am surrendering to what will be, what is meant to be, to what I have no control over, to a life that I’m meant to live, and I’m going to do it with all of my heart and the trust that I am not and I can not eff it all up.

Here’s to a New Year with New Perspectives and trust that we’re all being guided to where we are meant to be.


Nicole Leona

Photo Credit: Della Desrochers of Sooter Studios Moose Jaw

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