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Developing a Personal Practice

By Nirbho Atma Kaur (Melissa Baker)

“It seems that on a daily basis, when you do sadhana, nothing happens. But you don’t do it out of greed. You do it to conquer your laziness, your ego, your stupidity, with your essence of commitment. That’s all sadhana is. We don’t do it to get anything.”
-Yogi Bhajan

Sadhana is a daily spiritual practice, specifically recommended in the morning before dawn. Whatever stage of life you are in, sadhana is a foundation to help you commit to personal and spiritual growth. Day by day, on a subtle level, sadhana has the power to shift your perspective, patterns, conditioning, energy, and sense of connection.

I began my sadhana as an overwhelmed, analytical, lonely college student with a great mask of social media covering up the depression that looked back at me in the mirror of my own judgments. In my mind, there is this obnoxious roommate that thinks she knows what is best for me. Occasionally, she is helpful. Most of the time, though, her comments are usually needy, judgmental and over-analytical.

Yogi Bhajan says:

“There are a lot of things we need: one of these needs is that for the mind to work for you for the whole day, it must be fresh and clear; it must be made livable. That is why it is a requirement to rise early in the morning when nobody can disturb you, when you can be yourself.”

When I started Sadhana, that roommate began to move all her junk out of my mind. This was the first time in my life when I committed to something that felt greater than only the physical body, like going to the gym as a former bodybuilder, or committing to something that was materialistic like buying nice clothes. Of course, gym and clothes can be used as tools, but practicing a Kundalini sadhana was the commitment that made the biggest difference in my life.

For years I did sadhana by myself. It was challenging for my rational mind to understand that it is helpful to wake up before dawn, 2 ½ hours before the sunrise. This time acts under the principle of karma: that whatever you give comes back tenfold. After doing the practice consistently for a year, my mindset began to shift from resistance to acceptance, and even to connection to this powerful time of the day.

“A sadhu is a being who has disciplined himself. Sadhana is the technique to discipline yourself. It is a scientific way to live.”
-KRI International Teacher Training Manual Level 1

Discipline, as Yogi Bhajan says, “is a scientific way to life.” With a splash of gentleness to this word that can scare people, I use blissipline. This blissipline helps you use the technology of Kundalini Yoga to understand the connection to all aspects of who you are today, and accept them with grace and ease.

I noticed on the days that I’d wait to do it until the evening, I’d have less focus and more emotional reactions to my daily tasks. Each person is different in how sadhana affects them. The point is, a routine of going to bed and waking up early is connecting us to mother nature’s cycles and our own natural cycles.

I empathize with those starting out doing it alone. Sometimes, showing up on days when you are tired takes the most effort. The key is showing up every morning. And if, at that time, you still feel as if you are alone in the darkness before dawn, that is when you can use the power of visualization to open up to the feeling of being surrounded by many who committed to connection with their inner self.

“If you must do sadhana by yourself, then while you are chanting, imagine a million others all around you. Hear them all chanting, with you in the middle, not moving at all. Feel that you do not chant physically, and yet are leading the chant and letting the chant lead you.”
-Yogi Bhajan

Unless I am traveling, my partner and I meet in front of the alter each morning for sadhana. Along with the personal benefits of sadhana, group consciousness adds a component in our lives that helps our relationships have a balance between stability and freedom. We’ve developed a routine where we can both cultivate a creative individual experience and a collective union in our relationship.

If you have a partner or a group to do sadhana with, the vibrational energy will harmonize and clarity in communication grows. Love sprouts effortlessly when sharing the experience of sadhana.

The routine and commitment of this powerful practice transforms and structures the rest of your actions and thoughts in life. The amazing part is, you have a choice—the opportunity to build awareness around what you are connected to. Then, you decide how this connection is going to help you connect to your personal purpose in life.

I will leave you with this question that you can answer with your own inner wisdom: When I wake up, how do I choose to connect?

“Sadhana has only one purpose: you face the day with strength and victory.”
-Yogi Bhajan

In 2010, Nirbho Atma Kaur’s (Melissa Baker) life changed when she had scoliosis surgery, where two titanium rods were placed aligning her spine. Since then, she has fully embraced and cared for her body through an active life. She is a Kundalini Yoga teacher who is passionate about teaching young adults and diverse cultures how to access and connect to their inner truth through Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Ayurveda.

She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and Radiant Child Yoga Teacher. Nirbho Atma learned Kundalini Yoga at an Ashram in Israel. She has developed personal practices of Kundalini Yoga, and Hatha Yoga, and her creative expression of writing and music. She teaches transformational workshops, retreats, children's classes, and online. Outside of yoga, Melissa loves to experience travel adventures, play tennis, be in nature, cook nourishing food from local markets, and simply be around loving people.
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