It’s a committed prayer. It’s self-enrichment. It is not something that is done to please someone or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which everyone accesses their best. Yogi Bhajan
It is very common to hear this word, Sadhana, in spiritual environments spaces and yoga classes. But what exactly does it mean, and for what purpose?
The word Sadhana means self-discipline – and this should not be confused by the cultural idea of something obligatory, rigid or forced – but rather in the sense of training for the mind. Anything that takes the mind out of automatic can qualify your consciousness. Each day, the mind needs to be cleared so that it becomes more and more clear about itself and about reality. Therefore, Sadhana is a daily practice. Like taking a shower, or brushing your teeth, or sorting out the garbage.
A Sadhana practice can be any yoga routine or breathing exercise (pranayama). I always recommend, at the beginning, to start with a simple practice, with reduced time, and keep increasing as the experience evolves, organically and naturally. It’s no use choosing a long Sadhana that doesn’t suit your available daily time, or even your previous experience. This would be an invitation from the ego, which ends up frustrating the person who tries to “take a step bigger than his leg”. Sadhana is felt more by the quality of the experience than by the amount of time that is allotted. What really makes your practice perfect is the connection you build, especially in your mind and heart, with it.
Sustaining a sadhana is not an easy everyday experience. There are moments of tiredness, agitation, discouragement; all possible emotions and justifications of thoughts appear. But therein lies the great cure: when a sadhana is sustained, in the face of these confrontations, we gain caliber. Every day we conquer the mind. Gurudev, eminent Professor of Sat Nam Rasayan, relates sadhana to a lasting relationship, like a marriage: it is often challenging, there are conflicting and difficult times, but still we resist and go through the difficulties – if that makes sense, if there is a purpose. Sadhana needs to have a personal meaning, an inner purpose, which encourages you to go forward, step by step, every day.
The ideal time for Sadhana is in the morning, before the day starts: between 5am and 7am. Meditating at this time provides a cleansing of the subconscious due to your stimulation of the pineal gland by sunlight, in perfect inclination in relation to the Earth. This glandular stimulation is like nectar to consciousness, so the time of dawn is called Amrit Vela, time of nectar. This is ideal, but yes, you can do your sadhana at another time if you need to, the key thing is to do it every day!
One who does sadhana builds for himself such a powerful personality, who can conquer anything! That’s why I do my own Sadhana. I’ve been doing it for years. I do it even now. People ask me: Are you a Master, why do you do Sadhana? I reply, ‘to remain a Master’. – Yogi Bhajan