|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 43 ]
A daily routine of yoga techniques and exercises, though a great habit to establish, is not yoga and alone does not constitute a yoga sadhana.
What is Yoga Sadhana?
When many people speak of yoga sadhana (or simply, sadhana), they are often referring to their daily practice of yoga asanas, breathing practices, kriyas, meditations, etc. Most modern writers simply define the word sadhana as "practice" and leave it at that.
A practice is a rehearsal, an exercise, a preparation, training or a run through. The verb 'practise', as in 'practise yoga', means "to do", "live out", "to perform or apply."
In this sense, practice does make perfect. In yoga, we must also practice in order to master certain techniques - more specifically, to gain the results intended from the performance of them in the first place. And this indeed does take time, effort and structured practice.
But there is a much broader implication to the word sadhana beyond just a routine of physical or mental exercises. Aside from all the yoga exercises for physical health and mental and emotional wellbeing, yoga is a process for attainment of something higher.
Yoga is not something that we simply 'do'. It is not only a specific action or group of actions (physical, mental or whatnot) performed at a specific time and place, and then that is it - finished, over and done with it.
Yoga is a continual approach to life that provides persistent self-training throughout the trials and tribulations of daily life, all with ultimate attention toward an elevated goal, which can be to become a better person; to find peace and harmony in life; to be a useful and important force in this world; to gain wisdom and understanding; to find fulfilment; and in the highest sense, spiritual evolution.
Many yoga schools neglect to discuss the broader aspects of the term sadhana, simply preferring to define it by the word 'practice', while their methods as well often imply little more then sets of physical techniques and exercises.
That's why so many people today walk around thinking that they 'do yoga'. "Yes, I do yoga three times a week, at 6p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!"
But if yoga is something that we 'do', then it is also something that we 'did' and will be, at some point, something that we are ‘done with.’ We are never done with yoga! Yoga, when properly approached, should become our better way of living!
So please bear this in mind. When we speak of yoga sadhana, we are referring to the all-encompassing way of engaging with the world from the yogic point of view.
I encourage you right from the start to consider yoga sadhana as far more then the physical practices and techniques that you do as a daily, structured routine.
Deem it to include your study efforts into this vast subject, along with your introspections and perhaps moments of insight along the way.
Consider yoga sadhana to be your ever-increasing efforts toward greater awareness - awareness of your every action or inaction, your words and your unspoken feelings, and awareness of your thought processes which lay behind them all.
Make yoga sadhana a continual effort to live a higher life of 'conscious evolution'...
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
"The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of
leather binding and an honored place in the
finest libraries in the world
... It is indeed a masterful work."
Dr. John Michael Christian
Learn More About
The Science of Yoga Course