Sadhana . . . What does it mean?

In Shala Studio, Shala Teachers, Uncategorized by admin

Shala Yoga Preview-4With April being Sadhana month at Shala, I thought that I would reach out and talk a little bit about what Sadhana is and means and how it can resonate with each of us in a unique way.  As I am at heart a nerd, book worm and secret academic, I will start with some definitions of Sadhana, something concrete for you to stand on, to hold on to, we do like that as humans, and then move toward the more esoteric and intangible qualities of what Sadhana is and what it has meant to me over the years.
Sadhana comes from the root word Sadha, which means “to practice.” Sadhana is a daily spiritual practice.  B.K.S.Iyengar describes Sadhana as the second level of yoga, which involves “asana, pranayama and pratyahara.” Essentially, Sadhana involves the daily practice of physical postures, breath work and a withdrawal of the senses, or some for of sense withdrawal which one can experience (sometimes) through meditation.  I can say that for myself when I first became aware of what Sadhana was, it sounded very daunting and overwhelming to commit to doing it every day one my own.  I have found over the years that a little help is nice, just to get you started on your path.  It has also been my experience that we all stop and start, which is why yoga is called a practice and not something that we seek to be perfect at, or to be better than someone at, which can be a difficult concept, the idea that yoga is not about being better than anyone else.  It is simply about connecting to the self, the dark, the light and everything that can be found in between and around these two ends of the spectrum.  A clear seeing of the self and a connection to our soul, our Purusha.  
My teacher, has offered many ways to make Sadhana accessible, and for that I am eternally grateful.  There is no need to practice for 3 hours daily in order to call it Sadhana, unless of course you feel moved to do so.  Committing to a daily practice works best if it is something that works for you and your schedule, that is manageable and serves the purpose of connecting you with yourself.
One of the key offerings my teacher has shared with me and I will share with you is to create a sacred space for yourself, that can include an alter or not.  Somewhere that you can go for your practice, where you feel calm just being there.  Your daily practice can be short and sweet, for example, perhaps it is 5 minutes of sitting in your special corner of the house when you wake up followed by 3 Salutations.  Choosing something that you can commit to and that feels manageable while allowing it to add value to your life versus have it be another stress, or responsibility is a key part of the equation. You set for yourself a baseline for your daily practice and then if you have time to do more, do more.  The key here is also to not beat yourself up for not doing your practice, as that my friends defeats the purpose.  You can always start again the next day.
I have found that after retreats, workshops, and trainings is when I feel most inspired and committed to my daily practice as I begin to truly feel the effects, those intangible and tangible effects of daily practice.  That is why for the month of April at Shala I would like to invite all of you into the space to help you commit to yourself for the 30 days of the month.  To breathe, to move, to be still, to quite and still your mind and commit to being with yourself in whatever way resonates setting the tone for a daily practice whether you are coming into the studio or rolling onto your mat as you roll out of your bed.
I can say for myself that I have never felt more at ease in my own skin, more grounded and at the same time more connected to source, the source within myself and without then when I am doing my daily practice.
As I was sitting down to write this blog, my inspirational friend and fellow teacher, Sarah Manwaring-Jones (www.theartofyoga.ca) shared a quote from Tias Little and the last part speaks in my mind to the ethereal aspects of spending time in daily practice, connecting to your Purusha (soul) through your body, breathe and being:
” A dedicated practice is like a right of passage that guides one to sense, feel and remember that which inevitable resists identification.”
 
See you on the Mat <3