Sadhana is the sanskrit word for any discipline that is created in the pursuit of a goal. It’s an ancient and essential concept, that I believe is the secret to success in this crazy healthy life.
I tell my students to practice sadhana by making yoga an “every day / everyday thing”. By that, I mean that we should practice yoga every day, and at every opportunity. Don’t wait for a class to do some yoga…the best parts of the practice are often the lessons we learn on our own.
Making yoga an everyday thing also means letting go of the idea that there certain places you can’t practice yoga. I told you last week that I practice yoga on airplanes. I also practice at my kids’ soccer games, in the doctor’s office, at the grocery store, and everywhere else that I can. The way I see it, every stretch, every deep breath, and every meditation adds up over time.
I have been practicing sadhana for about seven years now. It has made me more aware of how I spend my time, and that most people have a lot of underutilzed time in their daily activities. We spend time waiting in carpool line, and waiting for the water to boil, and waiting for people who are late to a meeting. Why not use those moments to practice yoga? Twist in your seat, touch your toes, stretch your shoulders. Don’t analyze it…just do something.
I am grateful for my friends that share the same perspective. One of these friends is Betsy, an amazing pilates instructor, who also happens to love yoga. I have known Betsy since 2005, when we were both teaching at a health club. We helped each other with childcare, so that we could teach more classes, and not have to pay a sitter. Watching Betsy care for her twin boys revealed a lot about her healthy lifestyle, and helped me better understand the foundation of her joyful outlook on life. Sadhana made her happy.
Another thing I learned about Betsy is that she is a HUGE Alabama football fan, and there is little that gets in the way of her commitment to her team.
It made me smile yesterday, when Betsy posted the photo above, taken as she practiced yoga in front of Saturday’s game. The quote read, “Gameday at our house! Namaste!”
Some of her friends might have been surprised that she was not glued to the tube, but I wasn’t. Betsy knows that when we are disciplined, we really can have our proverbial cake, and eat it too.
Sadhana is only as difficult as we perceive it to be. If we accept discipline as a path to happiness, sadhana ceases to be a chore, and we see it as a blessing. We realize that we are fortunate to practice yoga–some people can’t, or just don’t know how–and it is a gift to have the time to do it.
I think the easiest way to practice sadhana is to become an opportunistic yogi. Look for underutilized time in your own life, and use it to meditate, stretch and strengthen your body. This is how we begin to cultivate a personal yoga practice, and there’s just no telling where it might lead you from there.