The Sadhana Series // Why?
A Means of Accomplishment
"What is sadhana? It’s a committed prayer. It is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best." ~ Yogi Bhajan
Sadhana is the foundation of living yoga, the well from which we draw as practitioners on this path. Cultivating and sustaining the habit of a daily practice, whatever it may be, is an integral part of moving from “doing” to "being". The literal meaning of the sanskrit word is a means of accomplishing something, and it is interpreted most commonly as a daily spiritual practice, the discipline of spiritual exertion towards an intended goal.
"Sādhana is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a goal. Abhyāsa is repeated practice performed with observation and reflection. Kriyā, or action, also implies perfect execution with study and investigation. Therefore, sādhanā, abhyāsa, and kriyā all mean one and the same thing. A sādhaka, or practitioner, is one who skillfully applies...mind and intelligence in practice towards a spiritual goal." ~ BKS Iyengar
What are the benefits?
- Commitment - a sadhana may only be ten minutes a day, but just doing it every single day, no matter what, is the highest act of self care. And more than just brushing your teeth or washing your dishes - this is self care for your spirit. It says that you care about your spiritual evolution. You are putting yourself first and you are growing.
- Discipline - the mind and ego are unruly, sneaky and do not always work with your best interests. A daily practice that can be full of monotony, yet requires your full attention breaks through boredom, burns through distraction and builds a strong sense of inner support and steadiness.
- Evolution - change and growth is intrinsic to our beings. Everything around us requires us to be constantly allowing for the change that is within us and around us. Either you are changing, growing and maturing as a person, or you’re stuck or stagnating. Daily sadhana is your very personal check in point - your inner focus - in even the smallest way that this day is a little better than the last one, no matter what is going on in your life.
- Foundation - even at just 10 minutes, a sadhana is like planting a tiny little seed in the garden. Every day you practice you water it and it grows… and as you get used to dedicating ten minutes a day to that inner space, to your evolution and growth, you’ll naturally discover you want to make more and more time for yourself. That tiny seed blossoms and grows and bears fruit and one day you turn around and discover your whole life has become a sadhana.
Why 40 days?
"Yoga is a process of replacing old patterns with new more appropriate patterns." ~ Sri T. Krishnamacharya
What we think, we become. Our life is composed of the thoughts, which become actions, that we take at each moment. And most of our actions come from our habits which we formed over the years. Transforming life starts from transforming the habits. When there is something we really want to develop, strengthen or be free from - we can look to the habits that have formed in our minds and in our lives. We've all heard the phrase 'it takes 21 days to break a habit...' - which is true. This is the time it takes for us to break down an impression in the minds processing of thought. But then what? And if you would like to change a habit permanently then it is said to practice that for 40 days and it will stay with you for life. Our habits and our nature are first established in the subconscious mind, which then become thoughts and then manifests in actions.
To really get the true benefit of many techniques of yoga and meditation, we need to work on it consistently. Allowing our energy to be affected, therefore our subconscious and be patient as the transformation can really take place in our lives.
To do a sadhana for 40 days really isn't as complicated as we'd like to make it. You don't need any experience just an intention and commitment.
Close your eyes, and take a deep breath and ask yourself what changes you want to see in yourself, in your life or in a current situation. Ask yourself why and listen very deeply with no expectation or pre conceived ideas. You need to search for reasons within yourself - not what you think you SHOULD do or what someone else has told you. Once you've have found a strong reason, a strong WHY, that you resonate with, write it down and give yourself a start date to work on this. Take some time to do some research on the most beneficial practice would be to support this and then stick to it for 40 days. See what happens!