Day 23

Sutra 1.23


īśvara-praṇidhānād vā


  1. Or from dedicating ones self to God. -CT
  2. Or (samadhi is attained) by devotion with total dedication to Isvara. – SS
  3. Or, (this previously mentioned state is attainable) from devotion to the Lord.  – EBF


vā—also, or

Īśvara-God, Lord, Divine, Supreme Consciousness

praṇidhāna—contemplation, perfectly aligned attention, surrender, devotion 

Key Concepts:


Patanjali is laying out a second path to the goal of Yoga. The first is the 5 means to samprajna samadhi; faith, vigor, memory, concentration, and discerning intellect. The second path is surrender or devotion to God. 

This sutra starts Patanjali’s conversation on the Contemplation of the Lord. Patanjali is saying that the goal of Yoga can be attained by the grace of God.

This idea can be seen in the Katha Upanisad and the Bhagavad Gita as well, in the form of Karma Yoga. (Both written before The Yoga Sutras.) Karma Yoga is the Yoga of action. It is one of the first times in Indic traditions that renunciation and ritual done for gains are critiqued. Understanding Karma Yoga is important for the modern day practitioner and directly relates to this sutra. Karma Yoga teaches that we should act in the world rather than avoid it, however, we should offer up the fruits of our actions to the Lord. 

Some commentators describe this sutra as Bhakti the Yoga of devotion. The Lord reaches out to the yogin who is fully devoted and bestows his grace upon them. 

The or in this sutra suggests that surrender to God is an optional path to the goal of Yoga that is different than the means described before. However, many commentators would disagree and argue that this sutra suggest that with surrendering the means described before to God, expedites the process of reaching the goal of Yoga. 

Patanjali was very inclusive and doesn’t specify what God has to be. He does however specify that this is not your personal god, nor is it your personal/individual consciousness, but that God here is the Supreme Consciousness. 


The Practice needs to be completed all together! Not broken up.


Start with your prayer ritual. 


Do 5X Rounds each side.


  1. Use your mantra. 
  2. Say your mantra to yourself 5 times out loud. 
  3. Say your mantra in a whisper 5 times. 
  4. Say your mantra silently in your mind 5 times. 



  1. Start ujjayi, create a nice long breath, balancing the inhalation and exhalation. 
  2. Inhale into the belly for a count of 2 and pause for 2. 
  3. Inhale into the chest for 2 and pause for 2 
  4. Inhale into the shoulders for 2 and pause for 2. 
  5. Exhale slowly, smoothly and completely, pausing for 2. 
  6. Reapeat for 5 minutes.


  1. Draw your attention into yourself. Removing your awareness of the objects of your senses. 
  2. Focus your minds eye on your object of meditation. 
  3. Practice for 10 minutes. 
  4. When you feel your mind wander be so gentle in bringing it back. *Remember we are like infants in this journey. Treat yourself as you would your own child. 

Optional Practice

If you have not noticed already, Yoga Nidra is a powerful practice for keeping a heathy, helpful quality of mind. When you have time in your day, when you feel stressed or anxious, when you feel tired practice Yoga Nidra. 


  1. Is devotion to God the same as faith?
  2. What is the difference between faith and belief?
  3. How can I deepen my personal devotion to God?
  4. How do I feel about the practice now that I have personalized the prayer and object of meditation? 

What does this remind me of? Other stories, scriptures, or teachings.

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