Every Sunday morning @Urban Yoga Chicago, we practice Sadhana beginning at 5:30 AM for approximately 2 hours.
It is typically comprised of
Done regularly, it is life changing. It elevates caliber of Self and connects us back to our inner wisdom that is infinite intelligence.
While sadhana can be done individually, practicing sadhana as a group develops group consciousness as well as compounds the elevating effects out to the community at large (which the world needs). By the end of morning sadhana, when everyone's energy has intermingled and merged, it is much easier to communicate and be on the same wave length.
The difference between Sadhana and a Kundalini Yoga class...
In a Kundalini Yoga class, the teacher instructs the students. She explains each exercise and observes the students, offering the appropriate modifications and guidance; depending on the teacher, she may share words of inspiration, stories, benefits, etc to help the class through the exercises. The teacher holds the space for the class and brings the experience to the students. A class can be 45 to 90 minutes in duration, and there is typically a set fee for the class.
In Sadhana, a designated leader (who is also a teacher) leads rather than teaches as she participates in the practice with everyone else. The leader is essentially the time-keeper who calls out the exercises with minimal instruction and keeps the time. The experience is brought from the Self to the Self, and to each other through the group practice. Sadhana typically lasts from 90 to 180 minutes and is pay-what-you-want.
“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. --Yogi Bhajan.
Sadhana is a practice of self-discipline that allows one to express the Infinite within one’s self. It is a time each day to notice the patterns that lead away from higher consciousness and to transcend those patterns.
Morning Sadhana – Cleaning the Subconscious
The 108 yogic scriptures called the Kundalini Upanishads, call for at least two-and-a-half hours of sadhana before the rising of the sun. The duration of two-and-a-half hours is determined by the law of karma: everything you give, you receive back ten-fold. So if you dedicate one-tenth of each day to your higher consciousness, your whole day is covered by the returning energy.
To exercise before sunrise is important because the angle of the sun to the Earth is very good for meditation. Also there is much prana in these hours, and the body rhythms are more set to support physical cleansing than during the rest of the day. Few people are awake and busy, so the clutter and bustle of daily activities does not interfere with your practice.
Though many challenges may come to stop this constant early morning practice, as we conquer each one, we will build our willpower, confidence, and ability to concentrate. This is no small accomplishment. If at the same time each day, we tune all of our mental and physical rhythms to each other, then the entire day flows better. Besides this, if we learn to meditate at the same time every day, this natural rhythm will make it easier and easier.
In meditation, we are clearing the subconscious of fears. As each fear comes up and we look upon it neutrally, the fear loses its power over us. We become more flexible and feel more free. Most fears were learned at a particular time of day. So these fears tend to occur most intensely at the time of day they were originally experienced. By meditating at sadhana time, we slowly attract the anxieties from all other parts of the day. Normally we react to anxieties on their time and conditions. In meditation, the effects of old fears come to us on our time and under our conditions. Since they come at the same time each day, it becomes easier and easier to deal with each one. Eventually the mind is cleared of the clouds of fear and begins to see the light and power of creative consciousness. Then the morning meditation clears out the daily worries and projections so no further long-term subconscious fears can accumulate.
After practicing a regular sadhana for some time, the effect begins to seep into the deeper parts of the mind. This might take 40 days or one and a half years. It depends on the individual, the intensity of the effort, and the starting condition. The subconscious mind finally gets the message. It understands that we are sincere, that meditation is a priority, that every day at this time we begin to wake up automatically without the aid of an alarm, and that even when traveling we will meditate every day on time. The subconscious begins to support us, and sadhana begins to feel effortless. The subconscious, which directs about 60 percent of our activities and responses by habit, has now acquired a habit to have the consciousness of sadhana.
Overcoming the Duality of the Mind
Yogi Bhajan: “When I tell you to get up and meditate in the ambrosial hours, it seems odd. Why should you get up at 3:30 am? Because you require those two hours to work out your own mind, so that the rest of the day you can work out your life. Amrit vela naam jaap. Rise in the ambrosial hours and meditate. Be with God. Whenever your mind will be in duality, you will be in trouble. There is no way you can function. ‘Should I go north? Should I go south?’ If you can’t decide which way you are going to go, you are going to sit right there. You’ll neither go north nor south. That’s called duality. Life is a gift of God, and duality is a waste of that life….Whenever you have duality, you will be in trouble. That’s the law. Nobody can change it. To have no duality and to have oneness and clarity of mind, you have to keep your mind clean, smart and healthy.
In terms of the body and posture there is one law for sadhana: “Get up, set up, and keep up.” If you don’t set up for the day, if you don’t posture yourself, ready to engage the day, how are you going to keep up? And how are you going to have a set up if things are already happening before you even get up? So, first you have to get up before things are happening. Then you can set yourself in a posture, attitude, and commitment: ready to engage. Then you have the potential to keep up. If you keep up, you will start having a momentum above Time.
Integration & Commitment
Another element in the sadhana process is commitment. Yogi Bhajan once said that 90 percent of today’s insanity comes from a lack of commitment and the lack of a capacity to commit. Commitments set the values of the self. The values of the self allow you to subject the power of the self to create. Creativity allows detachment. Detachment allows judgment. Judgment plus forgiveness give progress in the process of expansion of the self. Sadhana acts as a counselor to the two sides of the self. It encourages a central self to become bilingual and translate the languages of the two sides. Sadhana creates a meditative mind which can absorb all the stimuli in the environment, compute it, and then act wisely instead of just reacting. The inner observer can understand logic as well as intuition, activity as well as rest, science as well as art. We must develop the bilingual self, fully prepared with a clean sense of values and a deep capacity for commitment. This capacity comes through sadhana.