SadhanaA Sadhana is a personal spiritual practice and it is how we connect to something greater than ourselves. Through meditation and prayer (devotion), we recognise that there is more to life than material things. The more we connect to our world, the more important our personal sadhana often becomes.

I rely on it to remain a conscious inhabitant of my body and a conscious participant in my life. Spirituality  has been a natural and essential part of my life since very young. Coming not from a religious family, rather a very loving one, I said my prayers privately each night. Without being prompted from my parents, I always thanked, rarely asked. I knew deeply, or perhaps I remembered, that this source I spoke to provided me with the things I desired. Only when I had recognised the things that it had already given me, did I ever ask for more.

As a result, I have always trusted that I do not need others to create my world for me. Rather if I stay connected to this force, I can create the things that I desire. Not necessarily on my own, but through connection, sharing and giving, never through taking or competing.

If things like meditation and prayer don’t float your boat here are some other ways to be more spiritual.

Ritual

Traditionally ritual has always been a part of spiritual practices. Often with a specific hierarchy of actions, they can be anything that we do that holds great meaning and which we consider sacred. The beginning and end of a yoga class, where we are reminded that the practice is more than the poses themselves, is a type of ritual. Keeping the spaces that we inhabit clean, tidy & beautiful are also rituals that we can consider a part of our spiritual practice.

After my home or yoga studio has been cleaned and before I meditate, practice yoga or enjoy the space, I bless it, cleanse it and infuse it with my love.

Play music that you love, light candles and adorn with fresh cut flowers, thriving plants and beautiful things. I often move things around and rearrange so that my eyes always ‘see’ the room. Open windows (if it’s cold just for a while then warm the place up to super duper snug again) and cleanse with sage or incense. Finally, bless the room with your prayers or palo santo.

Practices like this not only ensure that we want to pause a while in our spaces, but the act of bringing a room up to a height of loveliness, brings us up to that place as well. When our spaces vibrate high, so do we.

Ingest Life Force

Called Prana in yoga and Chi in chinese medicine, life force is in every living thing. The more our prana moves, and the more clean and clear our channels are, the better our life force is. You could also call this life force God, The Universe, or anything that you relate to as an infinite of source of love.

Another reason why I like to have healthy plants in my spaces is that they increase the prana in a room and cleanse the air. Eating fresh vegetables, fruit and food that was recently plugged into the earth can be considered your daily medicine. Try to ingest vibrant, fresh, local (where possible) food every day. If possible keep at least one home cooked dish with fresh plant based ingredients in the fridge ready to eat so that you don’t pick up low vibrational food when you are on the go. Not a cook? Don’t worry, because worrying will only stagnate the flow of your prana. Buy pre-prepared foods which are as close to their original state as possible and eat them often! When we eat fresh, we can’t leave that precious food going limp in the bottom of the fridge. Get it in your belly.

Eating Earth’s food keeps our energy high. The difference between a diet high in real food vs processed food (if you’ve ever tried both) is like the difference between day and night. When we are healthy, we vibrate on the same level as prana.

The cooking of our food and the conscious eating of it can be a spiritual practice when we are reminded of the powerful force it contains. Through this force we remember that we are the source. We have infinite possibilities available to us, and we have the power to add to the world, rather than try to take our power from others. Pause to gather, prepare and appreciate food, and devour the deeper meaning of life.

Breathwork

Breathwork is a way to move life force and cleanse our energy channels. It can clear negative emotional and energetic blockages in the body, which eventually manifest as physical injury, sickness or disease. It can also stimulate our subconscious which may need repairing. Preparing us for spiritual practices like meditation, breathwork detoxes the psyche in a powerful way.

Being in pain can draw us towards spiritual practices, or it can distract us from them. Either way, we need to remove this hurt in order to advance in life (or during the process of advancement). If we try to achieve outward success from places of lack, sickness or hurt, without healing it as we go, we bear the risk of achieving things that are tainted with the same.

I did an intense breathwork practice daily for three years. Coupled with following a specific process to bring me into complete acceptance and love of myself and the world I lived in, this was one of the most powerful things I have ever done as a daily sadhana. It wasn’t hard work as such, but it required intense dedication, patience and tenacity. And it required my time. Lots of my time.

I didn’t feel like I was hurting, but I hurt for the pain I could feel in my world. (my world, not the world). Behaviours that I witnessed often repelled and repulsed me and I wasn’t always strong enough in heart, mind or body to bear the pressures it placed upon me. In essence, the world shook me deeply. Eventually, through daily breathwork my body and heart strengthened, my world changed and I was able to connect much more deeply with my remaining humans from a positive standing point.

I don’t really know how the breathwork worked, but it connected me to something greater than myself that no therapist, pill or practice even came close to. I sometimes felt like I was breathing God through me.

Chanting

The first time I found myself chanting, I peaked out the sides of my partially closed eyes and rolled them. I then promptly looked for an escape route that I could take without being noticed. It was my love of yoga, and the fact that to practice at this particular studio I had to endure chanting, that I came to a place of acceptance. Oh for the love of yoga! I finally began to enjoy my ommmmmmm’s.

The next time I discovered chanting was at a Kirtan evening. Some Yoga Sanctuary buddies and I decided to support our friends involved. Not knowing what to expect, we found ourselves bopping, singing and even crying tears of happiness and emotion. I know, now you are rolling your eyes. I felt free, I felt connected and I couldn’t believe I’d had that much fun without wine. Realising how powerful it had been, I brought Kirtan to my studio and to my retreats for years to come.

The third time I discovered chanting was at a Kundalini class held at Yoga Sanctuary. I felt the same familiar feelings that I had experienced in the Kirtan classes from years ago! This chanting was not to be sneezed at, it worked for me in whichever context I discovered it. I had become an official convert of chanting.

Chanting helps to reduce stress levels and increase uplifting feelings such as joy and happiness. It also connects us to the present moment and can stop us from worrying about the past or future, even if for a while. It is yet another way to help us to connect to a great power as we become uplifted to the heights of God.

If you do not already have a daily spiritual practice, I encourage you to bring one into your life. So pause when you eat your food and keep your spaces bright. Perhaps dive deeper into practices like Kundalini Yoga, or breathwork. Bring deeper meaning into your life.

My breathwork facilitator – Graham Mead

More about Kundalini Yoga at Yoga Sanctuary

My Kirtan Buddy – Franko Heke