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Making your practice fruitful

Yoga is called a ‘sadhana’

Yoga is called a sadhana. Many people translate this word to mean ‘practice’ but there is more to it then that. I say that because you can practice something for no real reason and little is gained from that effort. When I was young, I tried to learn to play the guitar. I would practice, but somewhat infrequently. I would learn a few chords to one song, then jump to the another. The effort and the years I put in, seemed to do very little for my skill set. The reason for this is that practice should be not only effort but regularity, commitment, objective and specific – not a little here and a little there.

Sadhana comes from the root word sadh, meaning ‘to accomplish.’ Sadhana is not just doing something but specific and goal oriented. It is a vehicle to get somewhere.

For this reason, our yoga practice should be the same. It is not enough to practice yoga but to make it a sadhana. For this to happen, one must make some considerations, prior to embarking onto their mat. These five considerations are; desa, kala, vṛtti, sakti and iccha.

Desa means ‘place.’ For our practice to be effective, we must consider where it is that we are practicing. This can be the environment, physical location, style of yoga, etc. It can also mean considering temperature and weather. All of these factors play a vital role in how we practice. I have broken many bones in my youth. On cold and wet days my practice has to be much more gentle on my joint.

Kala means ‘time.’ The time of day is also an important consideration to make. 6am is different than 6pm. 12PM is different than 12AM. The effort that we make should be appropriate to the time of day. Another way in which you can consider time is in the stages of life. As hard as it to accept, the body goes through changes in life and we must not neglect it.

Vṛtti means ‘activity.’ We were doing something before our practice and we will be doing something after. If you were sitting in stressful traffic prior to yoga, the practice should be appropriate to that state of mind. Or if you were going to an important meeting after class, the practice should not be depleting. Activity is a very important consideration.

Sakti means ‘energy or capacity.’ Every day we feel a bit different. Some days we are full of excitement and others a bit more lethargy. We should practice in a way in which is supported by our physical capabilities.

Iccha means ‘desire.’ This final consideration looks at what we truly want. We all have varying desires and ambitions. Being clear about what we want helps us to attain.

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