For many of us, busy schedules govern our daily lives. Our culture of hustling and competing has changed our priorities from a quality life to a quantity life measured by the checkboxes we tick on our success report card. Especially during the pandemic, the causes of burnout are higher than before because people are competing to hold on to their jobs while managing home and family round-the-clock.
It will serve you well to embrace an activity that can help you de-stress, improve yur focus, calm your mind and breath, and bring clarity in your day-to-day life. Sadhana is one such outlet. It helps you put your goals in perspective and focus on personal growth rather than the highs and lows of your journey.
Sadhana can simply be defined as a technique to discipline oneself. Sadhana is a Sanskrit word which roughly means ‘a daily spiritual practice’. In a sense, it is an effort exercised towards the achievement of a purpose. The daily practice helps keep us grounded. Sadhana helps lay a foundation for your personal, individual effort to communicate with the divine inside and around you.
A form of such spiritual training, yoga is one of the many ways to practice sadhana. Yoga sadhana helps in letting go of ego, personal agendas and attachments and thus undertaking the disciple to pursue a goal. It is used as a medium to help work, rediscover yourself or even live your life as desired.
What are the benefits of practising Yoga Sadhana?
Yoga sadhana helps you focus on your current state of mind and grow as a person. It helps you evolve into your desired state of mind physically, spiritually, mentally as well as emotionally.
- Yoga sadhana helps you commit to yourself, putting yourself first and allowing you to grow further.
- It helps you build discipline, bringing inner peace by eliminating ego and calming the mind.
- It allows you to commit to your daily practice, taking the time ensuring it is better than the previous day. This ensures that you are not stuck and stagnant at a spot and keep on growing.
- Yoga sadhana helps build a foundation, like a plant growing after being watered and taken care of daily. It helps you focus and take care of yourself.
Importance of Sadhanas
In the words of Sadhguru, an Indian yogi, ‘Sadhanas consist of the three I’s in your life. The practice includes Instruction, Integrity and Intensity of practice that is very important in the process of sadhana. The whole process is to take you to an all-inclusive state.’
Sadhanas put you in control of your mind, easing it. It also helps develop a sense of commitment and discipline.
A Simple Daily Yoga Sadhana Routine For Spiritual Growth
Your morning sadhana routine can include physical postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation (Dhyana), mantra (affirmation), Kriya (set yoga practice) which can include asana, pranayama, meditation, asana, mantra, mudra…), aromatherapy, chanting, reading sacred literature, visualization, and even daily physical exercise in nature.
Practice The Yoga Asanas As Part Of Your Sadhana
1. Adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog)
This pose gives you a chance to look within. The focus and concentration required to make this a beneficial pose for cultivating willpower.
- Start by placing the palms and soles of the feet on the floor so the body creates an inverted letter V.
- Push up from the palms, lengthen from the sides and lift the pelvis. Feel the stretch running down the calves as you attempt to bring the heels onto the mat.
- Slightly rotate the shoulder blades inward to avoid completely collapsing into this pose.
- Close the eyes and direct the gaze to the navel or the anja chakra, located at the eyebrow centre. Feel the strength and stability coming from your foundations.
- Relax your head. Hold for 5-100 breaths.
- To release, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to your hands and knees.
2. Virabhadrasana II (warrior two)
The warrior poses are a dynamic series known to increase inner strength and confidence.
- Step the feet apart so there is a significant distance between the legs. Bring the hands to the sternum and then extend the arms outwards. This will help get your alignment correct.
- Rotate the right foot out and slightly turn in the left foot. Inhale and bend the right knee so it is aligned directly above the ankle.
- Keep the back leg straight and set your gaze on the right palm. Feel the energy radiating up from the feet, engage the core and stretch out from the fingertips. Feel the courage and determination of the warrior.
- Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.
3. Inversion sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
Inversions can be daunting for many people but they offer great benefits. If we can overcome the fear of performing an inversion, we have the strength and stamina to tackle life’s obstacles
- Lie on your back with your hands by your side. Lift both legs.
- Use your arm strength to lift the lower back off the mat. Support the hips or, if possible, the upper back with the hands.
- Straighten the legs and bring the chin closer to the chest.
- Focus your gaze on your toes. Feel the body lengthening and blood flowing throughout.
4. Backbend setu bandha sarvangasana (bridge pose)
Backbends are often given to patients suffering from depression as they have long-reaching effects, including the ability to create uplift and clarity — beneficial qualities for spiritual transformation.
- Lie on your back and bend the knees.
- Place the soles of the feet on the floor at roughly hip-distance apart.
- Bring the arms resting beside you or grab hold of the ankles with each hand. Inhale and lift the hips.
- Gently walk the shoulders in.
- As the chest lifts and expands, feel the breath naturally deepen and the enhanced sense of vitality and contentment.
5. Forward bend uttanasana (intense forward stretch)
Uttanasana can effectively fight depression and anxiety. Therefore, it is also a good posture for those who are bound to follow a hectic schedule in their everyday life.
- Stand upright, feet together.
- Raise the hands and maintain the stretch going toward the fingertips.
- Bend from the waist, stretching the trunk and arms forward as you bring the hands down.
- First, lengthen the spine away from the body and then exhale, bringing the head close to the legs.
- Observe the consciousness and intelligence of the pose as you lengthen from the back and then from the sides as you go deeper into the forward bend.
- Forward bends also soothe and relax the body, so become aware of the flow of energy in this pose.
- As you bring the head closer to the legs, withdraw your senses from the external environment and internalise your awareness.
Sandhana Tips for Beginners
A Sadhana Practice can be done at any time with varying results. It can be a couple of minutes of meditation when you wake in the morning or yoga practice, or even any spiritual practise.
According to Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, popularly known as Yogi Bhajan, a yoga and spiritual teacher, ‘Sadhana is a test of self grit, it is what a person’s mental stamina requires’.
As a beginner, practising sadhana and keeping up with it is important. However short the period is, it is the practice that matters. It can be for minutes to even an hour. The ideal is two and a half practise.
Whenever you have a problem with sadhana it means that you are working on something. It is an indication that you must find it, conquer it and get it out of your system.
Sadhana is practised during quiet hours. It includes chanting and listening to the infinite. There is minimal talking involved.
It is important to cover your head with a nonstatic, cotton cloth. The hair regulates the inflow of sun energy which helps balance the sun energy and maintain equilibrium.
Practising in a special place or altar is ideal. The care you give to your external space is a symbol of your mind’s intentions. The outer atmosphere reflects the interiors.
Sadhana is to bring physical and mental awareness. It is an effort to prove that you are not lazy about your infinity. It is important to remember that each person practising has different results varying from the time period. And as practising you must not compare your results to another. Sadhana is to focus on your inner self and goals not bring in comparisons and ego.