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Do we Need to Surrender to God? Yoga vs. Christianity

Isvara Pranidhana

Peace Familia it is Christina and I wanted to start making some videos that I think are going to be pretty cool. We'll see how you all react to it. I identify as a Christian. I've been a Christian my whole life, and I've gone on this kind of like epic spiritual journey exploring all different types of paths and Buddhism and yoga and Islam and like all kind of different stuff, to be honest. And I feel like I've come to this really beautiful place where, you know, I really do believe that God is one and that God has really tried to communicate to us throughout the world. And so especially having, you know, being a yoga teacher and being deep into yoga. I feel like it's interesting, at least to me, to link together some of these principles between at least my understanding of Christianity and my understanding of yoga traditions. Eastern traditions kind of like putting East and West together. And so I have a feeling that this might offend a couple of people, and that's totally fine. You know, I'm not saying I have all the answers. I'm actually just more bringing up questions and drawing parallels to see if there's anything there and if it's interesting to anybody else and if it's helpful.

So today I really wanted to talk about Surrender to God. And I love this one, because if you look at the eight limbs of yoga, you have literally eight different aspects of the practice of yoga. So when you in the West, for whatever reason, like most of us, have considered yoga to be asana, which is like posture practice. So when you're like, you know, um, inhale, exhale, right. Like most of us would be like, that's yoga. But like in reality, there's eight aspects to yoga. It starts with the yamas and niyamas, which are the first two limbs. Asana is number three. And so the idea is that before you even do a single posture, that you would get your heart and mind oriented in the right place, which is toward God.

And so I think it's interesting, like I've actually seen videos of people talking about the yogic path and will be like, "I don't believe in God. You know, we don't, you know, I, you know, the light in me, it's the light in you. Namaste. Which is like so beautiful. But then like, they play like God doesn't exist. Well, like, "You know that I'm. I am God. You are God." Like that type of like stuff. But like, if you actually go deep into pretty much every yogic text, from the Yoga Sutras to the Upanishads, like literally all of them talk about God like big, big G. Big God like, not like you and me are divine god, but they talk about like, big God, like surrender to God. And so I wanted to discuss that because I feel like I keep seeing people talk about like, "I am the God. And like, you know, my truth is supreme. And so I get to just follow what I feel because I am God, I am divine."

And I do believe that God does bestow a divinity upon us. But like we are not ultimately the end all be all right. Like I didn't create myself. You didn't create yourself. I did not create this environment that I'm in right here. I did not create the grass. I did not create the sun. Right. So it's like I may have some level of like inner divinity, inner strength, but like, I am not myself big God, I am like a little, little, little. I'm a little piece of clay that was breathed into.

And so I really wanted to talk about one of the niyamas in the eight limbs of yoga. And so you have yamas, which are like supposed to kind of set your heart on the right path. So it's things like ahimsa, non-harming and things like that. And the niyamas are personal disciplines, like ways that you can actually discipline the flesh, discipline the mind, and ultimately surrender to God. So in the Yoga Sutras, the of the niyamas Ishvara Pranidhana, which just means surrender to God is one of the niyamas. So it's like anyone who genuinely says that they practice yoga and follow the yogic path like. At least in my understanding, would be saying that they believe in God and are surrendered to God. So it's kind of interesting, like fascinating for me when I see a lot of yoga teachers and they're just pretty much like, I don't believe in God. I don't feel like I have to surrender to anybody except for my own will. And I feel like that's really the opposite of the yogic path altogether.

The yogic path is a path of surrender. It's a path of surrendering the ego, surrendering the will like, you know, and I think this is where for me, the Christian faith and the yogic traditions, even though they seem so different at first, actually come together as one. Because, you know, in the Christian tradition, Judeo-Christian, you would say, like, not my will, but your will, God be done. And in the yoga tradition, when you say, surrender to God, surrender to the will of God, that's that same thing, you know.

I think what happened is yoga, especially the way it's practiced in the West. I think that I'm not sure how this happened, but it's like at least it seems to be like in the 70s, maybe 60s, 70s, 80s, a lot of teachers from the United States and from like Western cultures went over to India and were like, teach me yoga. And so they went and learned these practices. A lot of it was asana based, but like, which is just postures. But then the teachers would like they would apparently, from what I understand, like sit in their home, the teacher would teach them things like breathwork, meditation, spiritual, like they would have real conversations. And then somehow after these people got back to the United States, I'm not sure what happened, but it's like a lot of that stuff got lost. And when you go to yoga class, all it is is just posture practice, which is number three of the eight limbs. And so it's like somehow it's like Lost in Translation that yoga is a spiritual discipline, that yoga has eight aspects, and that the thing that we do in yoga class is only number three of eight things, and that if you're only doing this one part, you're really not encompassing all of it.

And I think that the result and the reason I'm talking about this, I think the result is that when you only focus on posture practice, you're focusing on the physical body like you're focusing on the flesh. Whereas yoga as a spiritual discipline is supposed to be focused on actually not focusing on the flesh, but focusing on the spirit, focusing on transcendent things, and so decreasing the ego like we have, like what's called Purusha, which is like the.

The Spirit, I guess, is one word that you would call it in yoga tradition. And so you would have like Purusha, like the big Purusha, and then you would have each of us being aberrucia. So it's like I, the Purusha within me is looking at the camera, right? Looking at you. And then the person within you is looking back at me. Right? So it's like God has bestowed God's eyes into all of us so that we can all interact with each other. But that's God's way of trying to see and experience the world. And so I think that's such a beautiful way to look at it. Right? Like the God in me, the God in me recognizes the God in you, right? It doesn't mean that you are God and that I am God. It's that God has come into me and I acknowledge that, and God has come into you, and I acknowledge that. Right? And, you know, I think somehow as we've like, gone to just yoga is posture practice. We've begun to just focus on the body and like the oh, look at how good I look in this pose and look like almost like posture chasing. Like, look at how many poses I can do. Look at how good I am at them. Let me take a picture of it. And like I'm not exempt from this. Like this is literally what I was have been doing, you know, and so I'm talking out of my own experience and my own insight and like, as I'm growing and evolving on the yoga path and also on a Christian path. Really thinking through, like, what does it really mean to be a Yogi? Does it mean that I am good at doing postures and that I'm athletic? Or does it mean that I'm, you know, decreasing my ego and focusing less on myself and more on God? And I think the latter is really what the path of yoga really is. And so I just kind of wanted to talk about that.

And I wanted to kind of ask you guys what you think about that, you know, as yogis for for those of you who are yogis who practice yoga, like, consider yourself to be yoga teachers, yogis, whatever. Do you feel that surrender to God is a is an essential part of practice, and do you think it should be? And to those of you who are Christians, I know Christians can be like so um, because I know, you know, we look at the word of God as like being inherent and like, you know, a lot of people are afraid to look at other traditions with any level of seriousness and so we'll just kind of reject it all together. Like I've heard a lot of people call yoga satanic and all that kind of stuff demonic, and we can talk about that. I probably will do a video on that one just because I think that's a really interesting topic. But. For my Christians. Like, do you see any parallels? Like, do you see how the practice of yoga when practice, you know, I think in an authentic way that's balanced across all eight limbs, you know, also recognizes that same surrender to God. You know, I just think it's so cool.

I genuinely believe that, you know, this God is only there's one there's only one God. There's only one creator of all this. There's only one breath. There's only one sustainer. You know of all this? And I think that what's happened is. You know, just like how we have different languages. Like if you read the Bible, they talk about Babel and like how initially everyone spoke the same language and then all the languages got confused and no one could talk to each other anymore. And I think that literally, like religions and spirituality is like that way. Like I think it's that, you know, God has tried to communicate the same information to everybody across the world and that each culture has just interpreted it a little bit differently, you know? And so some people have focused on this part of it, and some people have focused on that part of it. But I think ultimately it comes from the same source, and that when you really look carefully, you can see parallels between it. And so I just wanted to talk about that.

I'm going to do more videos. I didn't want this to be too, too long. And so tell me what you think in the comments. Do you see the parallel? Do you think that it's okay to look at these? Are you offended? Are you mad? Like whatever you feel like I really want to know. And if there are any cross like, interfaith topics that you're interested in that you want me to talk about and explore. Also, let me know in the comments so that I can work on that. And so I love you guys. Make sure to like, subscribe! Tell a friend that I have this YouTube channel going now so that it can grow. And as always, I love you guys so much and I will see you on the next one.


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Peace & Pineapples!


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