By Nicola-Jane le Breton
"Sadhana is self-enrichment. it is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your personal best."
–Yogi Bhajan, 16/7/82
Have you ever found yourself saying the ‘same old prayer’ or doing ‘the same old breathing exercise’ and suddenly realizing you’re not present with your practice; your sacred ritual is no longer ‘alive’ and humming? One of the aspects of Kundalini Yoga I cherish is the huge variety of daily kriyas and meditations on offer.
Although there are many benefits that flow from committing to one practice for 40, 90 or 120 days, or more, there are also days and times for turning over a fresh page and trying something new.
If you’re feeling a little jaded in your practice, try these tips for enlivening your daily sadhana and feeling that magical ‘zing’ again:
1. Choose one of your favorite Kundalini Yoga books and open to a random page, or series of pages, to find a new kriya and/or a new mantra/meditation you haven’t practiced before. Trust the one that leaps out at you, that calls to you or intrigues you, even if it looks difficult. You can always shorten the times (proportionately) for a kriya, or visualize your way through an exercise you can’t sustain for the full time. My companion book at the moment is ‘I Am A Woman.’ I began the New Year with Pittra Kriya which delivered me into a deep state of calm and vitality. The next day, I had less time and practiced eleven minutes of the ‘Meditation for the Fifth Chakra.’ Both kriyas brought fresh energy and engagement into my daily practice.
2. Try an evening meditation just before sunset. Take your sheepskin to the park, the forest or the beach. Immerse yourself in a quiet, natural landscape and let the energies of the natural elements support you as you reach for and find a deeper connectedness with Earth and Spirit. I have a favorite tree, that I now consider my friend, where I often go to meditate and reflect at the end of the working day.
3. Find a recorded mantra you love to listen to on Spotify or iTunes, perhaps one that’s a little challenging to learn. Commit to singing it eleven times per day for 40 days. Each day stretch yourself a little further until you know it by heart and can sing it without looking at the words, or while reading the English translation. Feel its meaning and reflect on what the words mean to you in your life at this time. I am currently learning the ‘Gaia Shabad’ or ‘Prayer for Mother Earth,’ which touches me deeply and speaks directly to my concern for all those here in Australia whose lives, homes and habitat are being endangered and destroyed by bushfires—including hundreds of millions of animals.
4. Keep a daily journal of your sadhana practice—a place to write about how you’re feeling, what’s going well in your life, what’s challenging and how you can focus more clearly on those qualities and activities that mean most to you. I use ‘The Virtues Project’ (www.virtuesproject.com) cards, which are available as an App called ‘Virtues Reflection Cards’ or as a set of cards you can hold in your hands and shuffle (there’s something satisfying about that!). As these cards are non-denominational, they are a beautiful tool to accompany any spiritual path as we seek to sculpt ourselves and our lives into works of art and service that make this world a better place for all to dwell in.
5. Share your practice with friends, other students or colleagues. I attend one of my fellow teachers’ classes when I can, and I often feel the results of my practice multiplied in community. In fact, if I’m having a down day and my husband is aware there’s a class on, he’ll tell me to get myself over there because we both know I’ll be back with uplifted spirits and a smiling face.
Nicola-Jane le Breton is a story weaver and sustainable community facilitator with a passion for the power of story to awaken, connect and deepen our relationships with each other and with the natural world. As a mentor, she offers a safe space to discover and develop your innermost stories, both written and spoken. She runs writing circles, storytelling journeys, and yoga and meditation classes that support imaginal inquiry and intimate encounters within, with each other, and with the sacred. Nicola is also a publishing consultant, editor and writing mentor in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with her via her website www.storyweavers.net.au or her Facebook page www.facebook.com/write2unravel/