My Theme: Yoga. For those of you who don't know, I've been working on obtaining my yoga teacher's certification for the past year and am just a little over a month from graduating with my RYT200. As such, I figure there's no better way to spend this month than teaching you folks some of what I've learned.
One of the most famous works on yoga (if not the most famous work) is Patanjali's Yoga Sutras written in or around 400CE. This work describes an 8 limbed path of spiritual transcendence (with asanas being only 1 of the 8). Among the other 8 are the yama and niyamas. The yamas have to do with how you relate to other people (instructing kindness, honesty and non-attachment) while the niyamas have to do with how you relate to yourself.
There are 5 niyamas in total which include: cleanliness (both of body and spirit/morals), contentment, change and purification, surrender (to a higher power) and self study/self knowledge which instruct on the methods one should use in order to achieve these states within themselves.
Ishvarapranidhana (which I spoke about on Monday) is one of the five niyamas.