How To Create Your Own Sadhana
Sadhana is the generic Sanskrit term for daily spiritual practice, and is typically done for a set period of time each morning, or at the same time each day. Sadhana will be different for everyone and should include activities that allow the opportunity to be in your own energy and present to your internal landscape.
Yogi Bhajan puts it powerfully by stating “the greatest reward of doing sadhana is that the person becomes incapable of being defeated. Sadhana is a self-victory, and it is a victory over time and space.”
What To Include In A Daily Sadhana
We all need different things to balance our energies, and your Sadhana will probably shift with the seasons of your life. Consider what your intention is for introducing a daily Sadhana, and what brings harmony to your body and mind.
Remember there are no rules; the important part is that you are able to be consistent. Here’s some ideas to get you started.
20 minutes of yoga
5-10 minute meditation
Go on a walk
Read a chapter in a book
Draw or paint
Practice breath work
Get out in nature
Pull tarot cards
Burn palo santo / sage
When To Practice Sadhana
Traditionally, sadhana is practiced in the wee hours of the morning, beginning just before 4am. Of course that’s not a realistic expectation for the majority of us to place on ourselves. It’s advised to practice at the start of your day, before the mind and priorities are pulled a million directions. It is helpful for any routine, however, to take the path of least resistance. So if morning doesn’t work, pick a certain time in the day that does, or make it an evening practice to pull away from your day.
How Long Is Sadhana?
How long do you have? Be realistic with what is sustainable in your life. Sadhana is just for you; no one else is going to make you do it. If you can commit to 10 minutes, start there. If you have more time and as you start seeing benefits of your consistency, consider aiming for 30 minutes daily.
The body-mind operates on set bio-rhythms, and it typically takes around 40 days to break habits and 90 days to create new pathways in the brain. Give the practice a chance to integrate before changing it up.
Morning -- Energizing
5 sun salutations (surya namaskar)
3 minutes Kapalbhati pranayama (breath of fire)
Meditate / journal on gratitude for all of the gifts you woke up with.
Visualize yourself moving through the day with ease
Mid Day -- Mental Break
Go on a walk
Draw, paint, or color
5-20 minute meditation
Evening -- Calming
20 minutes of yin yoga
Reflect on the day through journaling
Nadi Shodhana pranayama (alternate nostril breathing)
Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep)
My personal practice
I do the following practice every morning. It takes about an hour, and I’m really grateful I’m at a place in my life where I can comfortably prioritize this whenever I wake up.
Sage the area
3 minutes Kapalbhati
3 minutes Wim Hof
3 minutes alternate nostril Bhastrika
3 rounds Yoni Mudra
5-10 minutes meditation
Free flow (usually this lasts about 20 minutes or a little longer and includes a lot of spinal movement, hip and shoulder opening, and core activation)
I’m not perfect and I do slip up. If I’m traveling and rushed or with other people for days at a time, I will simplify to alternate nostril Bhastrika + 2 minutes of meditation + a quick full body stretch.
Tips For Maintaining Your Sadhana
The best way to make sure to prioritize Sadhana is by making it something you look forward to doing. Create an altar with a few of your favorite things, or a dedicated space in your home to practice. Set a time for your practice every single day, and make sure that it happens. Even if you slip up, taking 10 minutes is better than none. Tune into how you feel after completing your practice.