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What is Sadhana?

sacred flow sadhana

What is Sadhana?

Perhaps you've been hearing this word on social media. Maybe you saw it here on my site (Sadhana Sustenance). Maybe you have an idea that it means a daily practice but are interested in learning more about its roots and what it entails.

(Don't have time to read? Listen to it on YouTube!)


What it is

Sadhana is a Sanskrit word and is discussed in the Yoga Sutras (main yogic text). On a very basic level, it is our spiritual practice. Essentially, it is what we do on a regular basis to turn inward, remove blockages, raise our vibrations, manifest our dreams, and develop one of the most intimate relationship we will have ... the one with ourselves. 

"Sadhana, the term used to designate spiritual practices, is derived from the root sadh, "to go straight to the goal," and is generally translated as "the means to liberation." Inside the Yoga Sutras by Reverend Jaganath Carrera

The inner work we do influences how we engage with others and the world around us. Sadhana is a pathway into growth, transformation, expanded awareness, and harmony.

 Ancient yogi's knew this so many Eastern cultures have a daily practice embedded into their culture. However, here in the West, we aren't (or at least weren't) necessarily taught to value Soul work and to commit to it daily. It isn't part of our cultural lifestyle whereas Sadhana is integral to Yogi's in the East. They know, and here in the West we're starting to realize, that pranayama and meditation are essential for our overall wellbeing.


Why commit to a Sadhana?

We're taught our bodies need food and water regularly ... and I feel that way about our soul. I like to think of Sadhana as the ways we nourish and explore our emotions, thoughts, and consciousness. The more we practice, the stronger and more balanced our subtler bodies may become because they are receiving your attention regularly and you are learning how to navigate your inner terrain. I personally believe that shorter but more frequent practicing is more powerful than sporadic longer practices (which is one reason I encourage you not to rely only on community experiences, as powerful as they may be). A consistent Sadhana is a doorway into centered and balanced living.

Additionally, Ayurveda makes the suggestion that dis-ease begins in the Manomaya Kosha (the mental body inclusive of our thoughts/emotions). This may occur from unprocessed emotions, ignoring intuition, trapped trauma, chronic low mental patterns, chronic low vibrational emotions ...  you get the idea. And these may occur because we are constantly on the go, always doing something, numbing out, spiritually bypassing, and/or tending to our physical body, but ultimately not taking the time we need to rest and address how we are experiencing and integrating our life experiences. By taking the time to regularly nourish our soul we are able to not only fully process what's going on in our lives, but we learn to respond to difficult situations from a more balanced place.

Sadhana is how we tend to our internal gardens. It's the time we allocate to observe what's growing within us, compost the past, weed out the toxic, adore what's flourishing, fertilize the possible, and be grateful for it all.


Create a daily Sadhana

Sadhana doesn't have to look the same for everyone. It many ways, it depends on how intense you want your practice to be and how much time you have to dedicate to it.

The general cadence of a traditional Sadhana includes:

  • Dinacharya: An Ayurvedic morning routine that may include activities such as tongue scrapping and oil pulling (two of my favs!)
  • Asana: Yoga poses or some way to bring movement into the body
  • Pranayama: Breathing techniques
  • Dharana: Some form of meditation

But that doesn't mean that's what yours needs to look like. Choose your own adventure and include chanting, mantra, affirmations, journalling, drinking a cup of coffee/tea while you connect with nature, an earth wisdom practice, pulling a daily tarot card, a gratitude practice ...

Choose how deeply you want to go, and create a practice to reflect your desire. 

And it can be broken up throughout the day.

Many people stress a morning practice because it sets up your day. And I agree, a morning practice is amazing! But, if mornings aren't where you have time ... it's okay to practice at another time. I'll be honest, my morning practice began with looking myself in the eyes and saying affirmations while putting my makeup on before work. Not a morning person. The real practice was at night when I would practice an hour of asana, journal, draw, and sit with myself in reflection.

I also really enjoy the idea of a 40-day Sadhana practice. It is said that is how long it takes to really feel and integrate the effects of your practice ... to truly make a shift in your organism. Having a timeframe also helps me mentally commit to the practice and helps me to curate it to support what is happening in my life at the time. We and the world around us are always changing, and I want my Sadhana practice to be flexible to support life in this way.

Create a daily Sadhana and choose a time to practice that resonates with your heart. Choose something that excites you and that you are able to commit to. A sustained and disciplined Spiritual Practice helps us return to the center as we ride the ebbs and flows of life.


If you need support in creating a Sadhana curated specifically to you, please reach out. I offer Sadhana Sustenance sessions to help you design a practice you'll love. Or if you'd like to join the Sacred Flow community where you'll receive monthly practices curated to seasonal energies, become a member today!




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