What It Means:
Wikipedia: Īśvarapraṇidhāna is a Sanskrit compound word composed of two words īśvara (ईश्वर) and praṇidhāna (प्रणिधान). Īśvara(sometimes spelled Ishvara) means "Lord." Later religious literature in Sanskrit broadens the reference of this term to refer to God, the Absolute Brahman, True Self, or Unchanging Reality. Praṇidhāna is used to mean a range of senses including, "laying on, fixing, applying, attention (paid to), meditation, desire, prayer."
In Patanjali's Eight-Limbed Yoga, the word Īśvarapraṇidhāna means committing what one does to a Lord.
According to Shiva Rea, Ishvara Pranidhana is a “big picture” in yoga practice: "it initiates a sacred shift of perspective that helps us to remember, align with, and receive the grace of being alive."
In order to achieve Ishvara Pranidhana and ultimately samadhi, or enlightenment, it is vital that we develop a personal connection to the universe and to the divine and find our own way to surrender.
Ishvara Pranidhana is also translated as “offering the fruits of one’s actions to the Divine.” This can be done through creating a bhakti yoga practice or to accept that something is bigger than us.
Ishvara Pranidhana means that if we are able to completely surrender our individual ego identities to God (our own higher self) we will attain the identity of God. This would be mean that God dwells in human and non-human alike, and we will move beyond all feelings of separateness.
If you can say, "I give You myself: my body, my mind and my heart, to do with as You best see fit," then it is said that we will be freed from the stress, anxiety, self-doubt and negative karma that arises from our reliance upon our egos to determine which actions we take in our lives (Sofi Dillof).
Photo Cred: Haunani Chong