A sadhana is a personal practice to spiritual devotion or a way for you to connect with your inner most self. It’s almost like a New Years resolution, but instead of a punishment like a lot of resolutions may be.. this is more of a positive daily practice that focuses on self-fulfilment. A sadhana is a daily practice that you complete ideally at the same time of day and it’s something that truely has to serve you. It may be an Asana practice, pranayama, meditation or a combination of and not limited to the three. Commit to a time frame, maybe say 21 days? Make it doable and make the amount of time it takes suitable, dont set yourself up for failure. I will give some ways to formulate a personal sadhana and more importantly why having one is good for the soul. We will look at co-ordinating this with aspects of the Chakra's as a way to navigate what is in your personal sadhana.
Creating space each day for yourself is not selfish it is self-fulfilling. There I said it. The ‘be busy or your not important‘ climate of current culture has us demanding more and more of ourselves in order to be ‘good enough’ or ‘successful’ according to acceptable social norms. I have some big news, folks, your self worth has nothing to do with how you are placed in a rat race and it certainly has nothing to do with others perceptions of how you fill your day. And as a wise person once said to me, “No one gets a flippin medal.” (they didnt use flippin). There are no parades. Your self worth and self love is a practice that comes from within, by doing things that you need and making sure you are filling up your cup to overflowing so that the excess can then spill into others. The opposite of this is known as burn out. Being so over worked, over stressed, and over scheduled that you carve no down time out for yourself and work yourself away to a shell. Who is the winner of that race? Therefore a sadhana shouldnt be treated as just another thing to add to your busy day, its more of a way to get you through your busy day or connecting with deeper levels of yourself that modern day has somehow tried to distract you from. Taking you back to something deep inside when the outside world has your thoughts streaming endlessly, getting you into fictious arguments, burning out, ect.. Fill up your cup first. Having a sadhana may be the thing that takes you back to that space within when the outside has you upside down.
Okay, convinced. Here are the steps to make and personalize your sadhana:
1. What do I need?
Finding your own personal sadhana is something only you can formulate. And it can come from a deep question of "what do I need" or "what do I want" or "what is my purpose"? My advise is to pick one or the other and write this at the top of a piece of paper then write down 3 things that come to mind. Try and word them in a postive way. For example, "motivation for things I find hard" as a postive affirmation, instead of "to not be lazy."
2. Find the common denomenator
From those 3 things you wrote down, pick 2 that seem to go together, maybe all of them go together and you've just described one thing in 3 different ways. Maybe each one has an independant necessity, that is fine. Find, if you can, any connection. Maybe you can see a theme or two like; peace, joy, switching off, movement, connection to others, patience, motivation, ect.. This connection will be the basis of your sadhana. Write down any words that comes to mind or any themes you see here. This will be the goal of your sadhana, this is what you are trying to acheive.
3. Picking the details
Time of day is a big factor, this determines how much time you can dedicate to it and where you think it best serves you. Beginning, middle, or end it is your choice there is no correct answer. Try and make it a doable length as you have to commit to this aspect of it as well. This might determine when you do it. It's a great idea to have a swing time, for example, 20-40 minutes so that way on days where you feel like you may not have the time, you have a shorter version as to not completely not do it at all. Write these down beneath your goal: time of day, length of practice and amount of days.
4. Connecting to the Energetic Spirit Within
Chakra's are energy systems that begin at the base of the spine and climb up to the crown of the head. There are 7 from my lineage and this system is as old as the yoga practice itself, knowledge of them dating back to the Veda's and Tantra yoga lineages links them up with main Nadi's (last post) on subtle energic planes within the body. The goal is to have all 7 open and blanced, commonly finding that one being blocked might block the others above it. They can be blocked or overactice with corelating symptoms from either end and balancing them can see great benefits in the body, even if you didnt know you had them or maybe dont believe they exsist. As you go through these below, write down any next to your goal that we established above that you feel have connection or resonate with you. Its okay if not all the things listed in blocked, over or balanced apply, it might just be one or two. Dont look at the practice or Asana list yet under each Chakra, we will get to that.
Muladhara: Primal and basic needs, rooted, earth, foundation
Blocked: greed, obsessive over objects, aggressive
Overactive: fear of change, anxious, financial instability, difficulting sleeping
Balanced: sense of trust, non attachement, generous
Practice: gratitude journal, walking on bare ground, Yin yoga
Asana: Tadasana, Goddess, Warrior 1/2, Chair, Malasana, Childs pose
Svadhisthana: creativity, sexuality, pleasure, joy
Blocked: low lobido, fear of intimacy, no creativity, not able to understand or express emotions, recluse
Overactive: addiction, emotional dependancy, over emotional, manipulative
Balanced: optimistic, open, passion, joy, creative, outgoing outgoing, happiness, cheer
Practice: Vinyasa, daily emotion journal, create without fear - start or do a hobby
Asana: flowing practice, Pigeon, Square Pose, Butterfly, Triangle, hip openers
Manipura: energy, will power, self esteem
Blocked: low self esteem, victim mentality, fear of rejection
Overactive: domineering, perfectionist, critical, arrogant
Balanced: drive, good self image, in control, motivated, confident, high self esteem, will power
Practice: Bastrika Pranayama,Vinyasa, cardio based movement
Asana: Boat, Bow, Half Moon Pose, Warrior 3, core strength, Sun Salutations
Anahata: heart, love, disallusion of ego, selfless
Blocked: lonely, depression, lack of empathy, jealousy, anger, quick to judge
Overactive: self sacrificing, give to much, suffocating
Balanced: peaceful, compassionate, tolerant, patient, generous, empathetic
Practice: volunteering, Loving Kindness Meditation, acts of kindness, being in nature
Asana: Cat/Cow, Fish, Camel, Wheel Pose, heart/shoulder openers
Vishuddha: throat, communication, expression
Blocked: fear of speaking, weak and small voice, misunderstood, poor listener
Overactive: harsh, loud, critical, speak over others
Balanced: confident speaker, clear, speaking your truth
Practice: chanting, kirtan, singing, Ujjayi Pranayama
Asana: Shoulder Stand, Upward Plank
Ajna: energetic centre, third eye, intuition
Blocked: poor judgement, no 'outside of box' thinking, lacks imagination, can only see physical plane
Overactive: hallucinations, delusions, nightmares, over exaggerate reality, difficulty sleeping
Balanced: imagination, intuiative, clear, can tell difference between truth and illusion
Practice: Bhamari Pranayama, Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, Yoga Nidra
Asana: Scorpion, Downward Facing Dog
Sahasrara: universal consciousness, union with divine
Blocked: rigid beliefs, closed minded, brain fog, anger at divine
Overactive: delusions, spiritual addiction, dogmatic
Balanced: universal love, wise, faith, aware, understanding, balanced perspective
Practice: Yoga Nidra, meditation, researching new things - read a book about a topic you wouldnt
Asana: Savasana, Lotus
5. Piece it together
Now you have all your information and you can maybe put all the pieces together. Which ever Chakra/s you felt resonated the most with you or your goal will be your direction. Take the things offered in the Practice/Asana sections as recommendations including but not limited to. See if you can match up the recommendations to an applied sadhana practice. For example, if you were using Throat and Manipura Chakra you might have a practice that incorporates movement and core strength asana beginning with ujjayi breathing. Another is, a gratitude journal and Yoga Nidra every night if you were combining Muladhara and Ajna. You can go a lot of different directions with Charka balancing like colours, crystals, chanting, ect.. I’ve given a few things to make a start. Maybe you want to do a whole Chakra practice and incorporate something from each one, starting with Muladhara and working your way up?
Write down your sadhana practice and then practice it before you commit to it. Allow yourself to tweak it and make any necessary changes. Make sure you love it! You are giving yourself a truly unique gift of self love each day, celebrate it!
Here is an example, below, of one I did.. Its okay if yours didn’t quite work out like this or maybe none of the Chakras matched your goal. Go in a different direction, the biggest thing is you have asked yourself the question, ”what do I want,” and then answered it in a postive way.