Our Foundation Friday series delves into the basics of yoga—looking at its postures (asana), breath (pranayama), philosophy, and all the other essentials—giving you the foundations upon which to build a solid practice.
Foundation Friday || Sādhanā
Welcome to 2015! In this time of transition, renewal and reflection, what is your intention for this year? Maybe you're inviting a theme to your life, or perhaps you've assembled a specific list of ways to live and the things to do to get you there. This concept of shaping and committing to a goal is called sādhanā, quite literally defined as "a means of accomplishing something". In yogic philosophy this is generally a spiritual exertion or focus to achieve your said goal, but the theme can arch into many other accomplishments you want to create in your life. Traditionally, the chosen sādhanā is guided by a guru until the practitioner steps into the rhythm autonomously. Who may you need to seek out to ensure your path is set up, or are your goals already so apparent that you can step forward with confidence?
Iyengar describes sādhanā in relation to other facets of self-study in his translation of Pantajali's Yoga Sutras:
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.
Yogi Bhajan proposes the following questions for contemplation when working towards a goal:
1. How much am I a part of the I which made me what I am? 2. During my working day, during my existence, during my awareness, how much of the time have I been aware that I am part of the greatness that I am? 3. What can I do to extend myself to the greater I AM of which I am a part?”
"In finding the answers to these questions, you will find your way from the realm of finite ego to the realm of higher consciousness, and you will have the experience of total relaxation into mental happiness and contentment."
- Yogi Bhajan