What is a Personal Sadhana and Should We Try It?

Two weeks out of yoga school and it’s time to Walk The Walk. Gulp! Something you are encouraged to do after leaving a teacher training program is to develop a 30 day “Sadhana” for yourself, and, presumably, carry it out. Sadhana is translated as a personal spiritual practice performed on a daily basis. It is anything that aids a person in their spiritual journey.

“Spiritual” is a loaded word for many of us, and arguably overused to the point of ambiguity. I am choosing to understand my personal sadhana as a practice that aids me on my path to wellness. I may just be substituting one equally vague term for another, but that’s what I’ve got for now.  Feeling well in body, calm in mind, and content in spirit equates to happiness for me, and I can think of no better definition of “spiritual” then a search for happiness.

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So what is this Sadhana, actually? This practice might include a daily meditation, certain asana (yoga poses), perhaps a breathing technique. It can even be more concrete and practical, like a dietary change, a detoxifying technique, or a sleep hygiene improvement such as no TV before bed.

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A good way to start is to systematically take stock of your strengths and challenges in the moment, and to weigh these against your goals. Then choose some practices that might help clear out the clutter that is getting in the way of you reaching your goals. If you feel like the path is clear already, and now you are in a rebuilding phase, you might focus on practices that help you build up certain qualities.

Why develop a personal 30 day Sadhana? What are the benefits? Well, having not started mine yet, I cannot speak personally to the benefits. More on that soon. I do know, however, that the majority of our daily behavior is based upon “habits.” If you consider your habits ( i.e. coffee, TV, wine, Facebook, negative self-talk,  etc) its easy to see that many of them probably aren’t serving your loftier goals in life. What if we began tipping the balance, making more and more of our daily habits those which serve us? How much more effective might we be in our lives?

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For example, if you have been dreaming finding the right partner in life and settling down, but that person just doesn’t seem to exist anywhere, could you consider taking stock of how you approach relationships? How do you feel about yourself? Is there a lot of self-criticism?  Well, from a yogic standpoint, there are techniques for addressing this. What if you replaced habits of self-doubt with daily rituals of self-care and love? What would happen next? I am not trying to suggest that there are any magic bullets here, but reason tells me that at the very least replacing one bad habit with one good one can’t possibly hurt.

All it takes to start the journey is to ask the simple question: “What if….”

In the next few blog posts I will share with you my personal 30 day sadhana as an example. I will also walk you through a systematic way to develop your own. Perhaps we can try it out together and see where it takes us. Please post comments on my blog to let myself and other seekers out there know how you are doing with it, and I will update my blog regularly with my own observations, challenges, and triumphs.

So, What if…

 

 

 

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