What is a sadhana?
Sadhana means daily spiritual practice. Having some time to focus daily and intentionally on spiritual development will deepen your connection to yourself. Sadhana is different than just daily yoga practice, or abhyasa, because of the intention. The overarching focus of all sadhana practice is, "May I grow on my spiritual path." Oftentimes, that is enough and you don't need to refine or add to that focus. Sadhana can be practiced alone or in a group, but it's inspiring to have support and accountability as you work through your personal goals and changes.
Why is sadhana powerful?
It's just 15 minutes a day, so for most people, it's a manageable commitment. The practice in itself is meant to be flexible, evolving and accessible. Sadhana is one of the best ways to get 'unstuck,' break out of ruts or ingrained habits (in yoga, these are called samskaras) and replace them with the habit of yoga practice and self-study.
what do i do?
15 minutes per day, set aside time to devote to your journey. No experience necessary, so it works for anyone! Allowing time during or after the 15 minutes to journal about your experience is a very helpful way to keep track of your progress and notice changes. At some point throughout your sadhana, you will incorporate each of the 5 types of yoga, weaving them into your overall focus:
Hatha: physical asana
Bhakti: your version of spiritual devotion, prayer, chanting, dancing...etc.
Jhana: the yoga of study
Karma: action with intention
how do i get started?
Below, I've outlined the process in detail. You'll also find two buttons, one to join a private and supportive Facebook sadhana community and the other to download a printable, worksheet version of this info. I encourage you to read on, use the worksheet and reach out within the group or directly to me to gain insight for your sadhana, narrow it down so that it's clear and simple, understand the purpose of it all and manifest your goals.
The overarching focus is always "May I grow in my spiritual path." If you want and need to get more specific, here's how:
1) Brainstorm: Free-form write about what you need in your life. Spend time to sit quietly and feel your way through soulful answers. Ask yourself: what changes have you been avoiding in your life? Where are you currently wasting time, energy or creativity? What patterns would you like get rid of or create for yourself? Who do you want to be? (The 5 kleshas are a great place to start) Write it all out, everything you can think of, and then sleep on it.
2) Set Sankalpa: Sankalpa means 'deep intention' or a soulful vow. Narrow down what you've written. Trust your intuition and pull out what feels most necessary, not what you want to focus on or what you think you should focus on. Then, rewrite your words to be sure that everything is written in the affirmative (ie. rather than: "I don't want _____" rewrite it to read: "I want _____). Make it all as clear as you possibly can. Sometimes, once you start your sadhana, you'll find that you need to rewrite or refine a bit and that's okay. It isn't set in stone, but if your sankalpa is unclear, your sadhana will feel unclear and confusing. One detailed paragraph or so is all you need. (Connect with me in the Facebook group with questions!)
3) List ideas for practice: This is the fun part and this is where your sadhana becomes REAL. Take your time to figure out how to practice intentionally towards your sankalpa to manifest the concepts in your focus. Brainstorm about exactly HOW to develop the qualities you want for yourself within each branch of yoga and list some ideas that you can refer to throughout your sadhana. Get as creative as possible and ask yourself the following questions:
Hatha: how can you physically act out your sankalpa and feel it within your body?
Raja: what types of words, sensations, or experiences can you meditate on toward your sankalpa?
Karma: what types of activities can you incorporate that support your intention?
Jhana: list books, blogs or specific aspects of your intention that you would like to research and study
Bhakti: how can you weave your intention into prayer, worship and other spiritual practices?
- Take your time brainstorming. Sometimes, it's easy to jump into a sadhana because we're excited or because there's something that we really 'want.' But in order to keep our intentions pure and to draw from a deep spirit-led NEED, honor your sankalpa by giving it a little time to stew. Trust your gut so that you know it when you have it.
- Be prepared for your sankalpa to be challenged. The best types of change often involves growing pains. Understand that everything you think you know or believe or have or want in relation to your sankalpa will be challenged. Sadhana is always deeply humbling. Be ready for the energy you're calling in and be watchful for opportunities disguised as challenges.
- Choose something daunting, but doable. For most full 40 day sadhanas, your sankalpa will feel a little scary. Many of us have regular focal points or goals for daily practice, but sadhana sankalpa is deeper and more meaningful. It should be something you're NOT already doing and something that would feel freeing to explore.
- Practice non-attachment. Sadhana requires a conscious and daily decision to grow, but remember that growth does not end along with your sadhana. Resist the temptation to confuse sankalpa with an 'end goal.'
You're cordially invited to join our private Facebook group. The word 'sangha' in Sanskrit means 'community.' So our "Sadhana Sangha" is a place to ask questions, receive support and feel the love from others who are on the same journey together. We're all in this together!