By Helen Mikuska, SOYA, E-RYT500, IYTA,
Yoga Sadhana means “spiritual practice.” The word “Sadhana” in Sanskrit means “an effort exercised towards the achievement of a purpose.” In this sense, every effort is some kind of Sadhana, because it leads to the achievement of some intended goal.
The value of a daily physical and spiritual yoga practice helps to keep us grounded. For the majority of us, we find it difficult to maintain a daily yoga practice with the demands of work and family schedules. Yoga Sadhana is the means to let go of the ego, personal agendas and attachments and is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a goal. It can be used as a tool to help work on yourself, to re-discover the purpose of your life, to help open doors and to let you live your life as you desire.
What are the Benefits of Practicing Yoga Sadhana?
- Commitment – You are putting yourself first and allowing yourself to grow further in your yoga practice.
- Discipline – By practicing yoga regularly, it will help to build discipline (quieting down the mind and the ego) and will bring us inner peace.
- Evolution – If you find yourself stagnating, this is your opportunity to commit to a daily practice as a means to make sure that every single day is just a little bit better than the last one, no matter what else is going on in your life.
- Foundation – Yoga Sadhana is like planting a tiny little seed in the garden. Every day you practice you water it and it
Choose a Sadhana Practice
The first aspect of Yoga Sadhana is to choose to practice (how about a yoga retreat?) and the second aspect relates to regularity – doing something at periodic intervals. This disciplined practice allows one to learn from it and enables one to make it a regular life habit. In this one day retreat, we will practice Kriyas, Pranayamas, Asanas, Mantras, Meditations, Mudras and Yoga Nidra.
Kriyas – Are known as Shatkarmas which are body cleansing practices of the physical body. Shatkarmas not only have a positive effect on our well-being but they also purify our mind helping us to develop an inner awareness. Both body and the mind become lighter. Shatkarmas aim at mental, moral and spiritual elevation.
Pranayamas – These breathing practices are also essential for cleansing and purifying the respiratory tract. They help to maintain the flow of blood (toning the nerves, brain, spinal cord and cardiac muscles) and protect the internal organs and cells. They strengthen and free the mind, sharpen the intellect and illuminate the Self. Sample pranayama below:
Chair Pranayama for Chest Breathing – Place a pranayama bolster or vertical piece of foam against chair back. Sit against it in the chair with it between shoulder blades. Focus breath to the space between your shoulder blades. Modification: Place folded blanket on chair seat for comfort or blocks under feet if they do not rest on floor comfortably.
Asanas – The principle of movement can be seen in all the activities of the body (nervous system, muscles, joints, circulation, digestion, etc.) and with movement there is life. Where there is no movement or activity there is decay and death. We are somewhere in between these two states.
Mantras – The practice of Japa is a method of spiritual communion through the repetition of the Sanskrit mantra and practiced with the use of a mala. By continued repetition you create certain vibrations in your system. The recitation of the mantra fills the mind with spiritual vitality. An easy mantra to start with is So Ham, which means I am one with the Creator and all of creation.
Meditation – Meditation trains us in concentration. The practice of going inside is of fundamental importance in the process of evolving the aspects of personality through yoga. When we develop the ability to relax our mind at will, it gives us a sense of mastery over the vagaries of the mind and allows us to maintain it in a positive state.
Mudras – Mudras are “closed energy circuits” and every part of the hand is linked to a specific part of the brain. Bending, crossing, expanding and touching the fingers or particular portions of the hand, stimulating reflex zones and meridians has a direct effect on the body and mind. Sample mudra below:
Creating Caliber-Living Life with Full Expression, Accomplishment & Success Mudra – This mudra will help you maintain your core identity under stress. It stimulates your inner resources, giving you a sense of expansiveness & confidence to live from your destiny & inner truth instead of your fear. In Sukhasana (easy crossed-leg sitting), with both elbows relaxed at sides of body, raise your right hand up to level of your face. Hold fingers straight together & pointed straight up with thumb relaxed & palm facing left. Bring the left hand up with the palm facing the body & fingers pointed to the right. Hold fingers together with thumb pointing up. The tip of middle finger of the left hand touches your right palm. Hold this mudra so that you first look right over the index finger, then slowly raise it & look into centre of the left palm. No special breath. Let your heart chant the mantra you love the most. Concentrate on your palm. Carefully gaze at palm & meditate on the lines on your palm. Your vision will start enlarging. Hold 11 minutes
Yoga Nidra – Yoga Nidra literally means “yoga sleep”, which facilities a deep state of relaxation which works at the subconscious level. It refers to the state that one will experience that is between wakefulness and being sound.
Helen Mikuska is a lead trainer for the SOYA 200 hour yoga teacher training in Calgary Alberta, held annually in July. To contact Helen at email@example.com