Sādhana in Sanskrit literally translates to, “A means of accomplishing something.” It is the term given to basically any spiritual exercise, physical or otherwise. Sādhana can be your asana practice, your meditation practice, your dialogues with colleagues, your spiritual writings, prayers, trance work, dancing, whatever you want it to be.
I haven’t thought much about Sādhana in a long time and since migrating my yoga blog post to my new website, I am getting a chance to read over my older posts. I wrote this one about Sādhana journaling over a year ago and I would like to expand upon it now that I have had some shifts take place in my own life. To be honest, I haven’t spent a lot of time in understanding the deeper meaning of Sādhana or my yoga practice in the last few months. I have been too focused on getting my feet back under me and figuring where to go next. Logically, I know that my Sādhana would have helped me but I was too much in my lower brain to even get that far.
I am not teaching yoga at the moment, at least not to anyone but myself. I am my own teacher right now and believe me, I am enough of a student for myself. I have been reviewing my text books, drawing on new inspirations, and making new connections that I didn’t get the first time around.
When I was in my yoga teacher training, my teachers had us do a journaling exercise at the end of each of our own Sādhana practices. It was a way for us to keep track of any changes or shifts in our practice.
As a yoga practitioner, it’s easy to forgot any progress you may have made in your previous practice. Here are a few journaling props that my teachers gave us to help keep track of own Sādhana:
How long did you practice for? Was that enough time or did you feel like you needed more?
Did you have an intention set before your practice and what did you want to focus on? (Intentions can be anything from focusing on your breath, achieving a peek pose, finding your edge, mindfulness of details, etc.)
Did you have any areas of tightness in your body? Did you feel any energy blocks?
Did you feel areas of your body open up more? Where did you feel energy moving?
Did you come across any challenges in your practice?
Were there any experiences that you would like to take with you and apply it to your time off the mat?
You can use these questions to help improve your yoga Sādhana time both in your home or if you are taking regular classes. I recommend that you keep a journal with you for when you finish your practice and write down what you experience before you lose it. I would also recommend that you journal how you are feeling before you start your Sādhana.
While my first experience with Sādhana was in regards to my daily yoga practice, I have tried to bring Sādhana into my great spiritual practice which includes journal writing, meditation, and asana. I would say that those three practices are the pillars of my spiritual practice and that they are my Sādhana.
I am an avid journaler and I love the process of putting ink onto paper and getting my thoughts, feelings, and emotions out where I can see them. Over the summer, I did a lot of journaling in a special journal that I made myself to help be process the grief, anger, and hurt I was feeling. Once those feelings had passed and I let them go, I went over those pages again but this time I pasted over them with messages of love and release. In a sense, I was doing my Sādhana through my journaling.
I am not great at doing a daily journal and I have a hard time keeping up with things like: Write ten things you are grateful for today. As promising as a gratitude list is, I find it doesn’t work for me. I end up repeating the same things everyday and it looks more like a shopping list to me. I can certainly pick one thing a day and for someone like me who has trouble finding things to be grateful for, it might be that I should stick to one until I feel like I have more than one.
My journal practice is more of a weekly practice or when I need it. Sometimes I journal daily and other times it’s once a week or every two weeks. I am not exactly regimented with anything that I do. I also keep a bullet journal to help keep me focused on the tasks, events, and activities I would like to complete. I use the bullet journal to help me set intentions for the week, month, and year. I try to keep one journal a year and I am currently working on my fifth one. However, I only started using the bullet journal method just over a year and a half ago.
My meditation practice is spotty at best. While I have been a bit more regular with it as of lately, I have not been traditionally good at keeping it regular. I had opted for distractions such as internet time, watching movies, or reading books to keep me occupied. As of late, I have been trying a timer of five minutes a day to sit and meditate at my altar. I have been using some of the elements that I am learning about in the book “The Untethered Soul” by Mickey Singer, a book that was referenced a great deal during my yoga teacher training. It’s been challenging but I have already felt a bit of a shift.
As for my yoga practice… Well, that’s been basically not happening for months now. Not since I got back from vacation. I can make all the excuses I want in the world but I know the truth of the matter. I haven’t felt like getting down onto my mat. I want to but that’s not enough. Wanting to do something is never enough, I need to actually do it. As of late, I have been able to get to the gym on a regular basis and that’s been helping my body but it’s not my body that needs help now, it’s my body and spirit.
I don’t mind being open about the state of my Sādhana and where I am today. It’s my hope that by sharing my experience, that I might inspire someone else in their own Sādhana and help them move forward. Sādhana is a practice and by definition is not perfect.