SADHANA: WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?
What are you doing with your life?
How have you made a positive difference in the world today?
Have you left the spaces you’ve visited better for you having been there?
Have you loved fully?
Have you opened as much as you possibly can?
Have you surrendered deeply?
Where you can further lift the veil of ignorance?
Have you deepened your knowledge of your Self?
These are the questions that I ask myself on a regular basis.
These are the questions that keep me up some nights. Tossing, turning, wondering how I, as a single individual on this vastly complex planet, can make a positive difference in the world.
Part of my practice recently has been to educate myself on certain aspects of history, marginalised social groups and discordant situations in the world so that I am not ignorant of what other human beings are experiencing. I know the trendy thing is to not watch the news, and I do agree that mainstream news is generally more harmful than informative (there are better sources out there!). But I also realised that in order for me to develop greater streams of empathy, I needed more knowledge of what was being experienced beyond my bubble of existence.
I have been learning in greater detail about Indigenous welfare, the Australian foster care system, refugees around the world, conflict in the Middle East, African slavery, human trafficking, plastic recycling, the list goes on.
But after learning this information, admittedly I feel a bit helpless. What do I do with this knowledge? Do I start a support group? Volunteer somewhere? Tell other people about it? What do I do???
Honestly, I don’t have the exact answer to all of this. But I can tell you, as yogic practitioners, what you CAN do. And that is make a difference in the one world that you have complete sovereignty over – YOUR WORLD.
One of the most potent things that you can introduce into your life, is what is called a ‘sadhana’ (pronounced saaa-dhana). Sadhana means daily spiritual practice.
Every spiritual teacher recognises consistency and commitment to your spiritual practice is more valuable than practicing in big chunks infrequently.
Yogi Bhajan says:
‘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 your best.’
Sadhana has also been described as a ritualised, regular connection to something greater than yourself A method of self-discipline to temper the ego. Or a ‘means of accomplishing something’ – inferring that your daily spiritual practice is the means to meet some of the high accomplishments on the yogic path such as true self-realisation.
Traditionally, Sadhana is a combination of physical and mental practices designed to clear the mind, expand the energetic body, create greater circulation of spiritual energies within the system and awaken consciousness. The ideal Sadhana is a combination of physical practice such as asana and pranayama, mental practice such as meditation and chanting, and devotional practice such as prayer or gratitude.
For those of you who have done the latest version of the Teachings Series, we talk about how the Yogis – who looked at their practice as an empirical science – worked out the best times of the day to practice.
Between 4 and 8am, and 4 and 8pm is where there is an abundance of beneficial, harmonious, Universal energies. So, if you are wanting to set up your own Sadhana, it is recommended that you arrange for your practice to be within this time. Traditionally, the morning is an ideal time to perform your spiritual and devotional practices as it is a potent way to set up the day. However, if none of these times suit you, don’t be discouraged. Do your Sadhana any time! Any spiritual practice done regularly is better than none at all.
Treat your daily Sadhana as an opportunity to cultivate the greatest version of yourself and to polish the lines of communication between you and your Higher Self. The more you are in communion with this deeper part of yourself, the more you will see your resonance will shift, and the easier it will be to hear the inner voice of Guidance that leads you to act from the place that is most harmonious for your Soul.
So how does this all relate to the night time contemplations such as – how do I make a difference?
Well it means that it starts within each of us to make a difference. As wonderfully imperfect beings, we continue to commit to getting on the mat, focusing our minds, finding things to be grateful for, and endeavouring to keep our hearts open when they might want to stay closed. Make the effort to come to class each week, stay connected to your fellow yogis, be inspired by one another. In the words of the great Karma Yogi, Mahatma Gandhi:
‘We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As one changes their own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards them. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do’.
So there you have it. It’s not quite a tangible solution that everyone will know about. But it is a very solid difference that you will be making in your own world that WILL have ripple effects in the outer world.
Further to that, my very shoddy spiritual mathematics say that if we get enough people in the world doing these practices, then there will be enough of us making a difference to effect REAL change. LET’S BE THAT CHANGE! It can start right NOW!
Back to practicalities of a sadhana for a moment, if you are not sure where to start, here is a basic 15 minute practice that is suitable for all temperaments:
- 4-10 rounds of Sun Salutations
- Paschimotanasana (seated forward bend – focus on Muladhara) – Min 2 minutes.
- Uddiyana Bandha – 5- 10 rounds
- Another Asana of choice. 1 – 3 minutes
- Maha Yoga Pranayama – 3 rounds
- End with gratitude/prayer
A sadhana may also be a regular ritual of self-care, time in nature, keeping a gratitude journal, transfiguration. If you think of any more, please feel free to post them on the Awaken Group.
Over the next few weeks we are going to be exploring some of the metaphysical topics mentioned above in the new Drop In Classes which commence on Wednesday 2nd May.
Along with 1.5 hours of practice, we will offer insights into topics from the Teachings Series. Meaning you will get to become familiar with resonance, manifestation, karma, the gunas, life after death, and the list goes on.
We welcome all of you to begin to create your own personal sadhana. To feel the power of committing to your spiritual practice and the connection that comes with daily communion with your Higher Self.
As always with love,