Wholehearted Devotion


If man [sic] cannot pray he is gagged; if he cannot kneel he is in irons.
G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man via GK Chesterton Society of Ireland: On Kneeling.

Among the many gifts of this practice has been Dina Charya, alignment with the Ayurvedic ideas about the “daily rhythm,” including rising early, and as indicated for my constitution, physical activity, which for me has been the morning walk. I’m reminded of this gift upon rising. As I consider this crisis in Anusara yoga, I am reminded of the fifth niyama of Patanaji’s Yoga Sutras, Isvara Pranidhana, translated tantrically as “wholehearted devotion to the divine” (many thanks to my teacher, Sara Davidson Flanders, who offered this in the first immersion).

I feel blessed to have a big back yard, which I can see through the kitchen window, as the sun steals up over the horizon and shines through the trees. I think of this song “Praise Song for a New Day,” on the album Zero Church.

Over the doors of day
Here by this windowsill
I watch the climbing light
As early footsteps steal
Enormous shadows away.
Tenderly from this height
I feel compassion come
As all the city stirs
And trembles in my room.
So from a stance of calm
A stepping out of sleep
My shadow once again
Disperses in the warm day
With its lives more deep
Than any pleasure or pain.

words by Cecile Mchardy; music by Suzzy; via Suzzy and Maggie Roche – Lyrics from “Zero Church”.

“Zero Church” was conceptualized by the Roches and compiled at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University during the summer of 2001. The album is a collection of prayers written mostly by participants in the institute community, with some traditional pieces also included. Once the prayers were selected, the Roches composed nearly all the music to accompany them. The prayers were recorded at the Shinebox in New York.

via Sisters set prayers of human heart into song. . – Music – Zero Church – sound recording review | National Catholic Reporter | Find Articles.

Whatever direction people may go in this centripetal and centrifugal motion that is now Anusara yoga, may it be with wholehearted devotion to the highest.

UPDATE: This evocation of wholeheartedness reminds me of the work of Brené Brown. Beg to report, but wholeheartedness means embracing vulnerability, which is in her view, distinctly countercultural in a healthy way.

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About Richard Hudak

I am Senior Adjunct Faculty in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and I have been a practitioner of Anusara™ yoga. I have completed 200 hours of teacher training within its diaspora community, consistent with its philosophy and alignment principles.
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8 Responses to Wholehearted Devotion

  1. Sara says:

    Hi Richard,

    I love this line: “wholeheartnedness means embracing vulnerability.” That’s powerful. So happy to read that today.

    Love, Sara

    • Richard Hudak says:

      I can’t take credit for that idea. That’s from Brené Brown and her research. I found out about her from one of my teachers, and her TED talk made the rounds of Anusara circles a few months back.

      It’s a very productive practice, but gee, as one of my teachers says, “Buckle up!”

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  6. Richard Hudak says:

    Reblogged this on The Considered Kula and commented:

    From the archives: this song entered my head this morning, and I thought I had written about it somewhere online. Here it is.

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