This last niyama is the very core of yoga. A surefire way to be devoured by our ego, to remain spiritually stagnant is to choose a life with no devotion to the divine or the almighty, and to spurn his will for our lives. Your ego will want to fool you into thinking you need no one but yourself to make whatever you desire to happen, but Isvarapranidhanserves as a reminder you can do nothing on your own and you need as much help as you can get -- and there's nothing wrong with that. Think of Isvarapranidhana as a call to devote yourself to a greater power and to dedicate yourself to a cause much grander than your existence. You might be tempted to assume that such a total surrender means being weak, but that is not the case. You are indeed one with The All, and you are one with the divine will of the cosmos. The only thing it is for you to do after giving your best is to leave it up to God, communing with him in prayer, trusting that you will receive the best of solutions. Think of the niyamas like compasses for your spirit, as they guide you along your way, showing you how to keep yourself pure in body and mind. This repetition of an activity produces new neural connections, overwriting the old, unproductive or negative habits over time. This is neuroplasticity in action. It's also important to create actions or habits that are obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. For each action, I suggest you establish satisfying rewards to cultivate momentum and excitement and avoid resorting to old behaviors that do not promote long-term fulfillment. If you are not excited about or not enjoying doing your actions, it will be difficult to motivate you to stay the course to obtain your goals, causing you to make excuses, procrastinate, or give up altogether. For example, you may want to start a yoga practice to improve your health and energy levels. You will be more successful if you select a style of yoga you enjoy, such as vinyasa, ashtanga, or yin yoga and commit to a routine, such as every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can reward yourself with a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant after every thirty days. Our brains also love routines. Establishing structures will help you create new, positive habits at a cellular level and accelerate the attainment of your desired outcomes. Although you have not met your goal, you probably won't spend the rest of the day mindlessly clicking the Enroll icon over and over. What would you do instead?

Recall our earlier discussion of action identification theory. You'd probably move up the hierarchy to more abstract interpretations and consider the higher-order goal of getting enough credits to graduate. Once you did that, you'd stop fixating on getting in that one course and consider other courses you could take to get the credits you need. Indeed, people can be quite flexible at compensating for blocked goal pursuit by finding substitute means of satisfying the more abstract goal. This is useful because it allows the person to search for alternative lower-level goals that may help him or her achieve the same higher-level goal. But sometimes people persist in pursuing a goal long after it's no longer beneficial to do so. The self-regulatory perseveration theory of depression (Pyszczynski & Greenberg, 1987a, 1992) proposes that this is one way that people can fall into depression. This theory builds on research on self-awareness. With this viewpoint, as you continue with your practice, it gets easier. You grow in strength which cannot be contained or constrained by your human nature. During the following articles, we will dive into the rest of the yoga paths. According to Patanjali in the yoga sutras, The meditation pose should be steady and comfortable. The verbal translation of the word asana is abiding or staying. In yoga, the body is a temple or vehicle for the spirit, its care vital for spiritual growth. Thus, asana has proven to be the way a person experiences the unity of mind and body. Many asanas are derived from animals' movements and natural positions and bear the names of such animals. For example, Marjari (cat pose) that elongates the spine and stretches the body, Shashankasana (hare pose) to aid relaxation, and Bhujangasana (cobra pose) to help let go of emotional turmoil and aggression are examples of raja or royal asanas. Each posture is dynamic in the sense that the yogi is perfectly centered between activity and non-activity, tranquility, and movement. With your roadmap to success and happiness established, let's now explore how to navigate potential roadblocks with resilience and discernment to achieve your goals and live your destined path. Reflections

What are three to five goals you want to achieve in the next year that will help you realize your vision? What is your powerful why behind achieving these goals? What actions are you committed to doing for each goal? Be sure to leverage any of the mindful strategies, tools, and practices from previous articles. What old habits do you need to let go of to achieve your goals? What new habits do you need to embrace to create positive, lasting change? Who will be your accountability partner that helps ensure you stay on track? What routines or structures can you create to make your new habits stick over time? Recall that self-awareness theory claims that directing attention to the self leads people to compare their current state with their ideal state. If they notice a discrepancy and feel they have the means to reduce it, they will alter their behavior to bring it more closely in line with their ideal. But if the chances of reducing this discrepancy are unlikely--for example, if the task is very difficult--the person will disengage, or let go of the goal and divert attention away from the self. And although giving up on goals and avoiding self-awareness can lead to destructive behaviors such as excessive alcohol consumption, letting go of unattainable goals is generally an adaptive response. If you drop a pencil down a gutter, it's pointless to sit all day by the gutter, fishing around with a coat hanger and hoping that your pencil will magically reappear. Self-regulatory perseveration theory of depression The theory that one way in which people can fall into depression is by persistent self-focus on an unattainable goal. Of course, not all goals are so easily abandoned as your favorite pencil. If a goal is a central source of self-esteem, and the person has few other ways of deriving self-esteem, he or she may have great difficulty letting go of that goal even after it becomes evident that the goal is lost or probably will never be attained. Pyszczynski and Greenberg proposed that this persistent focus on an unattainable goal results in many of the common symptoms of depression, including elevated negative emotion, a tendency to blame oneself for shortcomings, and decreased motivation and performance in other areas of life. Each asana is a creation of a mental masterpiece, a physical prayer that, once we master, helps us handle the dualities of life. As you stretch in yoga, consider the sutras 11.

Saithilya helps the mind discard its many barriers so there is a perfect state of unhindered balance. This way, the asanas serve the dual purpose of exploring the conscious and unconscious mind. Breathing plays a significant role in asana. Coordinating body movements with breathing patterns makes for a harmonious yoga practice that stimulates the body's temperature, metabolism, and circulation. With asanas, the breath improves muscle relaxation by consciously expanding and contracting tense areas of the body to create a calm, clear mind. Asana is both a step in preparing for meditation and a form of meditation. Sri Patanjali teaches that asana and breath control will create equilibrium in any organism's energy flow, creating a fertile field for the spirit to evolve. Asana and Gymnastics: Similar or Different? How will you reward yourself when you achieve your goals and actions? Navigating Your Path When we step outside our comfort zone, we can experience a I n 2010, I was leading the biggest global business-transformation initiative of my career. It was aimed at transforming the customer-ordering-management process from a semimanual system using spreadsheets and web-applications to full business-to-business automation. With an approximately $200 million annual roadmap and major changes to cross-functional teams, systems, and processes, I led the change management scope of work and was chartered to establish a single change-management-operating-model to roll out the new ordering capabilities to our internal and external customers. This change was unprecedented in the company's history. Overwhelmed, stressed, and way out of my comfort zone, I sought guidance from a top change-consulting firm to help navigate this transformation. Asking for help was the best decision I made. It saved me from burning out again, avoiding future health challenges, and risking my reputation. Supporting this theory is evidence that lost and limited bases of self-esteem are precursors of depression, that depressed people tend to be high in self-awareness, and that reducing self-awareness in depressed people tends to reduce their symptoms (Pyszczynksi & Greenberg, 1992). Getting dumped is brutal.

How do you get out of the doldrums and avoid being depressed? Self-regulatory perseveration theory suggests one answer. The reason for this escalating pattern of problems is that excessive inward focus on the self magnifies negative feelings, promotes attributing one's problems to oneself, and interferes with attention to the external world, leading to further failures. The spiral of misery and self-recrimination culminates in a negative self-image. Many of us, for example, have had the misfortune of being dumped by a romantic partner. When this happens, if the relationship was really important to us, we may become depressed as we continually think about how much we wish we were still with that person, what we did wrong, why we're unworthy of love, and so on. We obsess about getting that person back. But it's just not going to happen. At first glance, it may seem like gymnastics is similar to the poses in yoga. Iyengar observed asanas as practices that create steadiness, health, and lightness of limb. Asanas create endurance and healthy and agile limbs to allow mental equilibrium and forego fickleness of mind. True, asana and gymnastics require flexibility and strength, but there are key differences: Gymnastics and yoga demand balance, endurance, and flexibility. However, gymnastics requires a truckload of agility that does not cut across all age groups, unlike yoga, which can be attempted by both little children and the aged. Gymnastics is more of a physical sport, but yoga develops both physical and mental faculties. Yoga teaches one to discard the ego, accept our limitations, and be in the moment. Gymnastics, on the other hand, is extremely competitive. Benefits of Asanas In the past, I would have endured the overwhelm, ignored my body signals and inner voice, and tried to do it alone. Applying the seven keys, I was smarter, wiser, and no longer interested in being the lone hero who drove business results at a huge emotional cost.