Monday, April 12, 2010

Revitalize Your Yoga Practice with Me & Shiva

This is an excerpt from Shiva Rea's SADHANA FLOW. Often the deeper teachings of yoga are reserved for teachers and teachers-in-training, but I like to level the playing field so that all may benefit. -- SG

Living Sadhana by Shiva Rea

Sadhana is the Sanskrit name that often gets translated as practice. The only problem with “practice” is that it can often become something we “do” and soon can become a separate part of daily life. To embody the flow in yoga is to enter the a continuous stream of living yoga.

Sadhana is derived from the Sanskrit root sadh, which means “to accomplish or to succeed” referring to the power of a sadhana to transform and bring one to fulfillment - like the path up a mountain towards the peak or even down the mountain into the world. In yoga, this peak is self- realization. I often translate sadhana as the groove into one’s self. That path is often a subtle track at first as the groove is just beginning and is not yet established. Gradually, through daily process, your sadhana gains a transformational momentum and that develops into a natural pathway within. A living yoga sadhana shines on all aspects of one’s life as a constant light of awareness that also changes according to the seasons’ of one’s life.

We have developed these 30-day Living Yoga Sadhana Programs as a guide to developing a daily-weekly-monthly and seasonal sadhana that supports your unfolding path as a student or teacher of yoga. Your life-long sadhana is a living flow and will change as needed. This primary goal of this program is to help you develop an appropriate, effective sadhana that you can fall in love with enough to sustain you when you are not feeling the love flowing within you (for that is when we usually slack off our sadhana). Let your sadhana become a natural support for you - like the painter’s paint brush.


We have six basic programs to adapt to your individual needs so that you can eventually create your own sadhana. The curious will want to try everything at once. The samplers will want to try everything just for a week to see if they like it. If that is the case, start with the Hatha Sadhana which includes elements of all the sadhanas . Over the course of your development, you can eventually experience all of the below sadhanas as part of your conscious evolution.

The purpose of sadhana is to support your Sva Dharma (inherent purpose) and natural self-realization.

Click here to read more about the six programs.

Beginning the Program

1) Assessment: Start where you are.
Which of the sadhanas speaks to you and authentically addresses the needs of your life right now?
In a reflective manner, fill out the Living Sadhana Preparation Sheet. Each Sadhana has suggestions in the Sadhana packet and Living Sadhana Chart to help clarify your answers and provide guidance in creating an individual practice that is evolutionary for you. Remember your practice is to help you apply and embody a prana vinyasa practice and to
learn to adapt the series for yourself, students and classes.

2) Tala (Rhythm):
Where and when will you practice (give yourself a week of preparations):
Choose the days that have the least activity for your solar practices, the days with the most activity for your lunar practices and the even days for solar-lunar practices. To develop, it is essential to have an asana-pranayama based sadhana, a minimum of 4-6 times a week, without creating tension around “practice”.

3) Organize your space, journal, support materials and friends.
Set-up your practice space including arranging for alternate places to practice around town (e.g. the open times at a yoga studio where you teach, a friends’ space). Have your journal, study books, texts in your practice space. Create an altar for yourself that is an anchor for your spiritual life. I also travel with a smaller version of my home altar. Your altar is also a personal mandala of the different rays of the Source that illumine your path. This is referred to as your Istha Devata within yoga – your intimate relationship with the Source. Let your partner and appropriate friends and family members know your intentions.

4) Plan the sadhana program and check-in with your mentor
Each Living Sadhana Program has a preparation sheet to guide you through your process that is unique to each type of sadhana. You can check-in with your mentor, before-during or after to assist you in your process. Save most of your time with your mentor for during your sadhana as that is when questions will arise.

5) Auspicious Authentic Beginnings
Choose a new moon cycle to new moon cycle that works in your flow. This way people in our program can connect with others who are beginning a sadhana.

2010 New Moon dates: April 14,May 14, June 12

Create a ritual for yourself that honors your intention. This can be at your practice space on a mountaintop, at the ocean. The ritual can be a simple declaration and offering of your sadhana or a more elaborate process. Stay true to your ishta devata and yourself and the ritual beginnings will be auspicious.

6) Honor the Closing of your Sadhana by reflecting on what has changed and what you are integrating into your life.

These are suggested guidelines that go along with your Living Sadhana Preparation Sheet that you will adapt to your body-life. You can write this on a separate sheet of paper or in your computer so that you can send elements of your form to your mentor. Do not let anything create tension around sadhana. Do preserve the power of the time with yourSelf. Let these serve as guidelines for your awareness on the spiral path of life.

Purpose and Goals:
This is a reflection on why you are choosing this sadhana. In your journal, contemplate the polaries within you. Write the 3-4 foremost reasons and the goals for your sadhana. The goals should be realistic and can be open ended.

Samskaras and Shadows:
What are the obstacles that arise for you in cultivating your sadhana? What are the types of challenges on an inner and outer level that may come up? What awareness, support and “counterpose” can help your transform that samskara of pattern? Most of all remember to just return to the process. Be diligent and your own best friend simultaneously.

Opening Ritual & Altar:

Create your altar or renew your current altar. Clean the Space for your practice and set-up your supplies (incense, lighter, etc.). You can activate your altar in a specific way for each sadhana with relevant pictures-murtis-symbols (images of the Divine), sacred objects and specific colors of cloth, flowers and candles. Keep your altar simple but potent as a reflection of your inner being.

Asanas, Kriyas, Pranayama, Mudra, Meditation:
See the chart for the suggested differences in focus. Choose peak poses to serve as a guide for your sequencing. Develop the power to guide your own asana practice as the basis of what you teach.

Yogic Texts/Reading:

Choose a relevant yogic text or book that is either from your reading list during the teacher train ing or your own library. Let the study of this teaching be part of your transformation and selfknowledge. You can read a page or a chapter per day
except on your rest day when all is optional. Keep notes in your journal.

Living Yoga Sadhana
This is the area to integrate according to your capacity. Some people will feel it is enough to activate their sadhana and will be overwhelmed at initiating life-style changes. Others will have a great appetite to embrace the whole process. Below are suggestions for integrating your living yoga sadhana. Choose one primary pattern to transform during the sadhana. When that pattern arises, investigate the regressive effects and apply what you learn about yourself. For example, Mental-Emotional-Pattern: What thought pattern, way of thinking, or too much thinking, view of yourself, body, relationship, world is calling to be transformed?

What can be enhanced-developed in your relationships with others particularly your family? Space and Actions: How can your your personal space (home, car) be revitalized during your sadhana? How is this reflected in the quality of your actions?

Health Cultivation:
What is one practice that you could integrate that would be enhanced by the spirit of your sadhana and support your health and vitality? Seva: What is one practice of service (deed, speech, formal, informal) that you could integrate that would be enhanced by the spirit of your sadhana and support your health and vitality.

Now write your Sankalpa, a short potent declaration of your intention or dedication for the sadhana period that becomes a steady navigational compass during your 30-day sadhana. This is the summary of all of the different aspects of your sadhana in a phrase that you can internally at the beginning of your sadhana and any time you need to refocus your energy.

Reflection and Dedication:

Purpose of Sadhana:

Seed Goals:



Date of Beginning and Closing:

Opening Ritual & Altar:

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I'm an organic gynecologist, yoga teacher + writer. I earn a living partnering with women to get them vital and self-realized again. We're born that way, but often fall off the path. Let's take your lousy mood and fatigue, and transform it into something sacred and useful.