Sadhana – The Practice
And just like that, 365 days have come and gone. The proverbial ‘goose’ has been cooked, a fresh new calendar spine is cracked, and I am so ready for a realignment on my personal health and wellness practices. I’d say that I’d fallen off the wagon these last few months however it’s more like I’ve been chasing the wagon down the road while frantically waving my arms and screaming for it to ‘WAIT FOR ME!’ for the last few years. My asana practices has been more of a roll and flop around on the floor with intermittent bouts of integrity; my eating habits have left my body feeling overtaxed, heavy and unhealthy; I shudder to think, or admit, as to how much ‘spirit’ I’ve consumed as of late; and lastly, my sleep/rest has been fitful, routinely broken, and completely dissatisfying. Compound these day to day living habits week after week, and I have set myself up to end the year feeling disgusted, betrayed and borderline fraudulent.
Sure there have been many things out of my immediate control, insert a global pandemic, but that is what the teachings of the great Yoga and Ayurveda Masters impart – how to stay the course when you don’t even know what, why, when or possibly even who may have muddied the way.
Years ago, as a newbie yogi before I even knew I was a yoga newbie, a friend of mine gave me copy of the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. This initial introduction to Eastern philosophy eventually led me to research the mystical philosopher and author of the Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu where I found, memorized and repeatedly rolled this quote off my tongue: “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch you character, it becomes your destiny.” It’s been years since I recited that quote. But today, it feels fitting to reinstate this mantra for the foreseeable future for it is a wonderful reminder of the importance and the truth in what I’m practicing.
Practice comes in many forms and all too often is meant as a reflection on improving a talent or sporting activity. But everything I and you do is an opportunity to support our ideal health and well-being. From the way we sit, stand or move about, to the food we eat and drink, to the time we devote to rest, relaxation and sleep, and also and equally important is the time, energy and awareness we devote to acknowledging the way we think, feel, act, react, and breath.
Modern day yogi and spiritual teacher Sadhguru shares this about practice, “Sadhana means you are using everything as a tool for your wellbeing.”
Ayurvedic Physician Dr. Vasant Lad, shares this about health and healing as a daily practice, “The state of ill health is a moment to moment happening. Healing is moment to moment balance, bringing awareness to our thoughts, feelings and emotions and how we respond.”
The father of modern day yoga, Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar explains the concept of practice in this way, “Sādhanā is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a goal. Abhyāsa is repeated practice performed with observation and reflection. Kriyā, or action, also implies perfect execution with study and investigation. Therefore, sādhanā, abhyāsa, and kriyā all mean one and the same thing. A sādhaka, or practitioner, is one who skillfully applies mind and intelligence in practice towards a spiritual goal.”
I was drawn to, and continually am drawn to practice yoga even when I do fall off the wagon, because it helps me reinstate the utter importance of what is happening To and IN me right here, right now. While on my yoga mat, much of that practice is in acknowledging the importance of and giving back responsibility to and of my breath. And not just noticing whether I am inhaling or exhaling, but rather accessing a deep place of fullness of satisfaction that is immediately and intimately balanced with clarity in emptiness.
Yoga helps me decipher and deduce what, where, why, and how the moment is unfolding. And in that moment, even if just for that moment, I more clearly understand the who that I am. Many of you have heard my joke about my ‘worst-ever’ business plan. (I say worst-ever business plan because I believe that as a yoga teacher it is my job to teach you until you no longer need me… see what I mean?) The truth is that even though I’m the one standing up at the front of the room guiding you, it is YOU who inspire, support and compel me to show up.
So with all that being said, I am promising myself to humbly and authentically shift and show up this year and to let the spark of creativity and lightheartedness guide me over the inevitable hurdles that life will surely lay down on my path.
Will you join me?
Yours in light and love,