“The greatest reward of doing Sadhana is that the person becomes incapable of being defeated. Sadhana is a self-victory, and it is a victory over time and space. Getting up is a victory over time, and doing it is a victory over space. That is what sadhana is.” – Yogi Bhajan
Sounds fantastic! Who doesn’t want to be fearless in life?
But we all know, there are challenges that come up before and during your practice. For most, these challenges need to be identified and addressed, in order to have a successful 40-day practice. When you’re committing to something with a group of people, it’s easier to stay motivated and enjoy the process. Sadhana, spent alone most of the time, requires discipline. For 40 days, you must consciously get up from sleep, wander onto your yoga mat, and begin.
But, what if you’re tired, feel you need more sleep, or didn’t set the alarm, yada yada yada?
We all have those days. Here are some tips to “keep up” and keep going!
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep or interrupted sleep makes me a grouch. I hardly need mention that I don’t want to bring that onto my mat or sheepskin. I can be an insomniac and, therefore, I prepare the night before by going to bed when I’m tired. I have herbal supplements near by. I do some pranayama in bed. And if all else fails, I get out of bed and do some yoga stretches.
I have an internal clock which keeps very good time and wakes me up before 5am most days, sometimes before 4. If I am well rested, there is no problem in getting up. However, I do set my alarm at least 10 minutes earlier than I want to get up. I put the alarm on snooze, so it rings every 10 minutes.
Ah! Sleep befalls me, and now it’s morning. Sadhana begins!
“The greatest reward of doing sadhana is that the person becomes incapable of being defeated.” – Yogi Bhajan
Expect to Hit a Wall or Two
You may hit a wall, where you make excuses or feel you cannot remain committed, so be prepared to climb over it. Know instinctively that there is a reward. Visualize that reward, that new you. To help with that wall, you can begin your 40-day Sadhana with another inspiring ritual at the same time, such as introducing a change in diet, volunteering, etc. You might at this point, if you feel it’s something to note, write down and look at your avoidance behavior. Is whatever’s on your to-do list really important enough to miss time seeking your soul?
Keep Motivation Close to Home
You have been doing the same kriya or meditation for 20 days. You see the light at the end of the tunnel. But somehow, you feel uninspired. Motivation is what’s needed.
- Look for new ways to do your practice. Follow a video online for support, or challenge yourself further by increasing the time.
- Join Insight Timer to meditate with others. The timer is great – no guessing about the length of your meditation, as you can set it up exactly as you want with a selection of beautiful bells.
- Read a chapter from The Master’s Touch. Yogi Bhajan explains the importance of spiritual discipline in facing the challenges of life.
- Write a blessing in your journal each day. I began Meditation to Tap Opportunities, and each day that I continue, the obstacles drop away.
- Reach out. Join Yogis Who Like 40 on FB and discover what others have experienced by putting yourself out there.
Prepare Yourself for Vacation or Other Changes in Your Routine
Let’s take on another big obstacle to showing up for your 40-day Sadhana, one I recently experienced.
I went to Australia to visit my son and vacation. Challenges to Sadhana were in my face from the moment I got there (Sleeping in a new bed, woke with back pains, very cold house, not my space, so I was tentative about waking others, jet lag, etc.). I had just finished a 40-day meditation, so I felt a bit lazy. And then there was constant food, food, food, and alcohol, which is usually a detriment to Sadhana. Even though it was all excellent, it was not my routine.
There was also the addition of staying up late, watching movies, and tons of interactions with people. I live alone.
How I handled it: I relaxed as the Aussies do. I was on vacation, so I did my Sadhana at different times, such as later in the morning on the porch, or at night in bed. I took yoga classes and met some wonderful new friends. I taught classes. I took care of myself by staying in bed for half of the day because of the pain in my back and let my hosts pamper me. Basically, I made exceptions and did my best to go with the flow.
The same goes for guests you might be hosting. Let them know your routine, so they can be comfortable. Ask for their ideas on how it might work best for all concerned. You might find they join you and there is a unity and sweet blessing from meditating together.
Remember that any new routine begets the mind to agitate. Trust the science! Your life will be better overall. Every Sadhana as I see it is for the neutral mind. Coming to that middle space and beefing up the intuition is the victory of time and space. Sat Nam!
For more sadhana inspiration, keep an eye out for next month’s blog post, where Kathe will show you how to take the results of your Sadhana into the real world.
Kathe Forrest/Siri Kirin is the author of The 40-Day Sadhana Companion: A Guided Journal (formerly titled Keep the Change). She is a mom, grandma called Nonni, yoga teacher, herbalist, and nutritionist. She lives deep in the heart of Texas and volunteers through her local hospice and herb society.