Recently I could feel something change inside of me. I grew calmer and less agitated by both the big and little things that came my way – as if things were just meant to be. I let it happen, I felt synchronicity. I felt connected as I simply surrendered to my destiny. Somehow my spirituality strengthened after I started my Kundalini Yoga teacher training program. A requirement of the program was to complete a 40 day Sadhana practice.
Although I was already a passionate yogi, I didn’t practice every single day. After 40 days of Sadhana, my life changed in the best possible way and it is still continuing to evolve.
What is Sadhana?
It is a regular, self- disciplined personal daily practice of yoga, meditation and spiritually related activities. By having a daily Sadhana practice, we are re-shaping our inner being. We are replacing the old patterns and thoughts with new ones. It is the main tool you use to work on yourself to achieve the purpose of life. It can be done alone or in a group. "Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best" Yogi Bhajan
How to start a Sadhana practice…
Do we need a special place for Sadhana? A special place is ideal. The care you give the external environment is a sign and symbol to the mind of your intention - the outer reflects the inner. I keep it simple - I love practicing facing the window and catching the light, sitting in silence overlooking the river. A few details around that have a personal meaning to me - candles, flowers, a few healing stones, books I currently study - all of these elements bring a quietness within. When travelling, I do my best to bring a sense of specialness with me to wherever I practice.
In the beginning, Sadhana may seem like a negative activity. It imposes discipline at the cost of some other activities such as sleep or watching telly. It is difficult to deal with the many influences that resist your attempts to be regular. You may start by just setting aside some time each day to practice different techniques and activities such as meditation, yoga, chanting, journaling or reading.
For thousands of years, yogis have been getting up before sunrise to do their Sadhana, because that time of day is considered to be sacred and infused with a sense of stillness and quietude. Your world is quieter, it’s easier to meditate and concentrate before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. The morning practice clears out the daily worries and projections so that no further long-term subconscious fears or anxieties can accumulate. However, if you absolutely cannot get up early in the morning to do Sadhana, then do it some other time! Doing Sadhana at any time of the day or night will benefit you.
Commit to commit
Many challenges may come to this constant early morning practice. As we conquer each one, we will build our willpower, confidence and ability to concentrate. Through all the flux of life, we can consciously choose to maintain a constant and regular practice. Commitment is just like a muscle we train. It is the ability to stay consistent. Just like in life, you show up then people can trust you. Otherwise, it is like building a cozy bungalow on the top of a volcano. If you act like an earthquake or volcano, who will build upon you? Consistency is steadiness throughout time. 90 percent of our insanity comes from a lack of commitment and the lack of a capacity to commit. Commitments set the values of the self.
Benefits of Sadhana
Immerse yourself in the joy of victory that comes from starting each day with a powerful Sadhana and every challenge becomes an opportunity. After practicing a regular Sadhana for some time, the effect begins to seep into the deeper parts of the mind. This might take 40 days or a few years - it depends on the individual, the intensity of effort and the starting condition. The subconscious mind finally gets the message - it understands that we are sincere, that meditation is a priority, that every day at this time we begin to wake up automatically without the aid of an alarm, and that even when traveling we will meditate every day on time. The subconscious begins to support us and Sadhana begins to feel effortless. The subconscious, which directs about 60 percent of our activities and responses by habit, has now acquired a habit to have the consciousness of Sadhana. All these changes that you are seeing in your personality did not just happen because you got counselled or because your teacher was great. You changed because you wanted to change and you did Sadhana - Sadhana changed you.
It is simply a means through which you can defeat all your miseries, misfortunes, and handicaps. It is a very personal thing which does not relate to anybody except yourself. A sadhu is a being who has disciplined himself. Sadhana is the technique to discipline yourself.
Create a routine
Remind yourself each day why are committed to having a daily practice. Remember to practice yoga for about 30 minutes before you decide to meditate. Asana practice gently stimulates energy flow and prepares the body for stillness. A great way is to begin with sun salutations and focus on connecting each movement with your breath. Whatever you choose, the important thing is to find something that speaks to you. If you are new to yoga, start with something very simple or simply go to a yoga studio and take a class. Doing Sadhana in a group is a powerful experience as it develops group consciousness. The more people there are, the more the individual differences balance out and create a harmony. The happiness of one person balances the sadness of another. The individual auras merge and form a group aura. It’s healing, it’s empowering and it’s uplifting.
There is a natural 40-day rhythm to habits in the body and mind. It takes about 40-days of consistent practice to break a habit. It takes about 90 days to establish a new habit in action and in the subconscious.
If you overcome the limitations, become a steady student and do your practice (Sadhana) with regularity, the results are certain! You can enjoy your life more and you can extend your life’s vitality. This is the practical result of yoga. It offers the capacity to live a healthy, happy life.
Igniting your Light