To begin, we all know that repetition is the foundation of both physical and mental growth – that what we repeatedly do and think become who we are. In any area where we are passionate – whether work, relationships, sports, or even hobbies – we realize the importance of committing ourselves to regular practice. And yet, ironically, we seldom apply the same consistent effort to emotional or spiritual improvement.
The Yogis realized the importance of this – if we want to consistently move forward on the spiritual path, we need to approach it with the same dedication and consistency with which we approach the other important task in our lives. Very much like an athlete who sets goals, establishes a program, and periodically evaluates how that program is working, if we are serious about our personal growth, we want to do exactly the same. Sadhana is our own unique approach to working toward our own emotional and spiritual ideals, and as such, it is an indispensable part of the spiritual life.
Here are some suggestions for maintaining a regular self-practice;
INTENTION & PLANNING
- Write out an intention:
Write out that you intend to practice daily. Set the intention in the present tense and keep it written somewhere it is visible to you. eg “I practice 30 mins of yoga every morning at 4:30 am” Add a time of day and duration.
- Plan your practice:
Set out what you want to practice in advance. Either follow a set sequence or if you are creating one then do so before, so that the time of practice is spent on the activity and not on thinking and planning.
- Set up a simple structure:
Divide the time into different segments. Whatever your practice, you could start with centering, followed by the main asanas and finally end with a short relaxation or meditation.
- Set a place & time:
Set a place in your house that you will practice. As we practice the place gathers the energy of the practice. So when we enter the space our mind-body system registers that we are about to start our yoga practice and is therefore easily primed. In addition to place fix a time, try to stick to the same time of day. Of course, there will be days when you might need to adjust the time, however, setting the same time also reinforces the habit of self-practice.