A daily necessity?

SADHLOGOMy teacher dropped the s-word into class this week. Sādhana. He glossed it as ‘daily devotional practice’ or something like that. Then he tried to qualify this, to restate it, perhaps wanting to soften the definition somehow. I don’t know, I’m just guessing from how I remember it.

I sometimes wonder how many people in my class do practice daily. I never hear anyone talk about their home practice, only about which classes they attend. And there’s the inevitable 30-day challenge tracker in the hallway with the rules stated at the bottom — that classes of only an hour’s duration don’t count… I guess home practice wouldn’t count either. Perhaps keeping up one’s personal sādhana is not worth celebrating. Or perhaps it just doesn’t need tracking! I don’t mean to criticise either the studio or my fellow yogis. I get that a studio needs to encourage regular attendance and I understand that yoga for many of us is something of a recreational or social activity, whatever else it might also be.

yoga at homeBut I got wondering about all this during a phone call with my mum today. She’s still thinking (sooo much thinking!) about her yoga practice and whether she wants to continue. Today’s conclusion was that she’s ‘not committed enough’ to carry on. In a bit of classic ‘all or nothing thinking’ she believes that attending a weekly class isn’t commitment enough and that if she can’t manage more than that she might as well give up. This seems an enormous amount of guilt and a weight of expectation, all relating to a practice that is fundamentally rooted in compassion!

And that’s just some thinking about ‘daily’. Never mind ‘devotional’….

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4 thoughts on “A daily necessity?

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  1. Women judge themselves so harshly don’t they. Yoga doesn’t have to be physical asana. It can be as simple as an act of kindness, which counts as a kriya yoga activity, a cleansing. It can be five minutes’ meditation practice. It can be just breathing deeply and counting your breath in and out. I don’t know where this 30 days of practice started but it sounds terribly boot camp militaristic and, dare I say it, not terribly yogic.

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  2. I think that the establishment of a daily home practice is ideal for the transformative magic of the practice to take root. Yoga studios need to promote themselves in order to stay afloat financially… but without a disciplined daily sadhana (as runslikeapenguin observes – it doesn’t have to be bootcamp style asana) I think that the practice remains shallow…
    Am I being judgemental here? I don’t mean to be. But a regular commitment is what fuels the fire of change…

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  3. No more judgemental than I was being…! 😉

    I agree, I mean for me the home practice is really important. Class is great too (I’m not dissing the studio at all!) — but class is a totally different experience. I learn, but maybe that’s not the same as ‘transform’. I guess for some the regular commitment is committing to class, and maybe that does it for them. It would certainly be simpler…

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