Namo namaha.नमो नमः
People often wonder what a Yoga Sadhana looks like. What elements go into making up the practice. I thought I would share what my routine consists of to inspire others to pick up the practice or to add to their existing one.
My day begins at 3.30am. Yes, that early! I set two alarms on my digital clock. I don’t bring my phone into my bedroom as a rule. There are spaces in my home where my phone is not allowed: my bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. The second alarm is set for 5.00am.
After the first alarm, I take my medication and vitamins and turn the lamp on. I pick up a textbook and read. I like to study the ancient texts; presently I am reading a commentary on The Yoga Sutras by Swami J, “Living the Yoga Sutras” and “The Bhagavad Gita” the Dru 3 book version. I have ordered three more books written by him so will soon be mixing up the reads. I like to read short sections of a book, then contemplate it and write about it in my journal. I also keep a Yoga notebook and like to write notes about what I read so that I have a reference to refer back to when I want to study other material or texts. I keep these notes in a large A4 folder, the pages separated with page dividers to denote which notes came from what book/text.
Sometimes I will break up the reading with listening to talks instead. I will move to my office and watch or listen to wise teachers on You Tube, TED or podcasts. Keeping in line with the reading of texts, I choose talks on texts rather than on random topics. Occasionally, I do break this rule and will listen to Eckhart Tolle. I find his teachings simple and easy to understand. He has a You Tube channel that I scroll through, otherwise I will read one of his books; “A new Earth” and “The Power of Now “ are two of my favourites of his.
I will read until my 5.00am alarm rings when I hop into the shower and practice mindfulness. I do a mindful walk to the bathroom followed by a mindful shower. It makes the morning so much more special.
After that, I change into my Yoga clothes and head to my Yoga room. I have a room in my home dedicated just to Yoga.
I light a candle, roll out my Yoga mat and prepare for my asana practice. My cat likes to wander into the space with me and hang out next to me or she will jump up onto the window ledge and watch the sun come up. It is still fairly dark at this time of day, but I prefer not to turn on my lamp. I enjoy doing my asana practice to the light of a candle and as I progress through the sequence, having the sun light up my room.
I start my practice with a silent prayer and a chant. I like to begin with the words: “Without expectation. I am only as young as the flexibility of my spine. I am exactly where I need to be in my practice. If I keep practicing I will get better. Slow, imperfect progress is better than none. Do my practice and all is coming.” I chant three Oms and recite the Astanga Vinyasa chant: “Vande gurunam…..”
My practice lasts for 60 minutes at the moment but I am currently in the process of building that up to 90 minutes by extending it by 5 minutes every week. The whole process will take 6 weeks. When i first started my home Yoga practice, I began with 15 minutes a day, doing just five repetitions of each of Sun Salute A and B. I slowly built it up adding 5 minutes a week, sometimes spending two weeks at an increase. It took 5 months to get to 60 minutes. I also count the number of breaths I spend in certain poses, like for example sirsasana (headstand). I started at holding it for only five breaths, adding two breaths a week until I got to twenty four breaths for a total of three minutes. These aspects took much longer to complete. I keep track of all my progress in a Yoga journal and on a chart. I mark off the total accumulated hours of practice and reward myself with star/trophy stickers when I reach certain milestones.
After asana, I sit for meditation. I don’t follow a guided one, I simply set my time on my Insight Timer app and sit in silence. Once my practice is over, I write in my journals; I have one for Yoga, gratitude and daily insights. Then I roll up my mat, put my journals back and get dressed for the day.