In Sanskrit, "sadhana" means a "practice," but it has a spiritual basis. As we go into the fall season, with the darkness closing in around us and the invitations to parties and obligations looming ahead, it can be a good time to rededicated yourself to a daily practice or change one that's no longer resonating with you.
A sadhana can be anything nourishing and spiritually resonant for you.
My current morning practice consists of the following:
Morning meditation - This either consists of a pranayama practice, lately nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), or concentrating on a particular image. I find that starting the day off this way, usually within the first hour or so of being awake, helps me to establish a beautiful spiritual flow to my day. That's not to say there aren't mornings when that ego of mine grumbles and protests, but usually, I'm able to tie it down and sit for a bit.
Abyanga - Oh, the joys of abyanga! This ayurvedic healing art is done by rubbing the body down with warm oil (often sesame-based, but not the cooking kind). Before getting in the shower, I put some of the oil in my hand, and starting with my feet I work my way towards the heart. I often add some kind of affirmation or mantra to the process, and it just makes my body sing. I only started this up last week, and it's amazing how it's healing my body and heart in ways I haven't expected.
Touching the Earth - Whenever I leave my house for the first time of the day, I squat down on a patch of earth and place my hands on Her body. Connecting with the Good Green Earth, the goddess of abundance and so many of our joys, I bless Her and thank Her.
Saluting the Sun - After connecting my palms to the Earth, I blow a kiss to the Sun and sometimes sing a sun song - either the gayatri mantra or "Jesce Sole," a sun-worshipping song from Southern Italy, where part of my family is from.
Some of you might be thinking, "That all sounds great, but I have to wrangle the kids into getting ready for school, there are dogs to walk, lunches to make, etc., etc., etc." A morning sadhana doesn't have to be completed or even particularly time consuming.
Think about any of the following options: write down five things you're grateful for in a journal; take a deep yogic breath and say a prayer to the divine before breakfast; recite a mantra of peace out loud or internally before leaving the house; do a sun salutation in the bathroom if that's the only private space you've got. (I used to say a prayer to the water coming out of the shower head everyday, asking for cleansing and healing of all negativity in all parts of my body, mind, and heart.)
Shiva Rea, an amazig yogini and yoga teacher, often talks about "bed yoga," where we just stretch, flow and breathe with the covers still on - a great way to start the day, for sure.
What's your morning sadhana?
Rock it out, yogis!
Wed, October 14, 2009
by Greg Marzullo