I was recently invited by dear friends to join them in a 40 Day Sadhana. I am continually living/studying/teaching around the globe and I am constantly challenged with finding a routine and rhythm that supports my self-practice, so I agreed without much hesitation or expectation.
I began the Sadhana in a quiet apartment outside of Paris, traveled to Copenhagen and practiced inside a cozy hotel, and finally finished the Sadhana in Ghana, on the terrace of a bungalow overlooking the Volta River. From various countries and city sounds to village drumming, the Sadhana rooted me firmly in my body, breath and purpose. It wasn’t an easy journey (it never is) but the transformative aspect of the practice was well worth the minor turbulence and detours along the way.
The journey of the Sadhana was full of challenges, surprises and inspiration…
Here are my five biggest revelations:
1. Set intentions and allow them to evolve throughout:
Take a few days to witness what arises as natural intentions, and allow them to evolve throughout the 40 day journey. My intentions included a gratitude mantra before meals and eliminating the use of technology after 9pm. As I am currently in rural West Africa with very limited resources, I wanted to cultivate deep appreciation for the privilege to have three meals a day, even if they are not the elaborate vegetarian/vegan foods I would normally opt for. I wanted to reduce my technology use as a way to manage my time and bring balance between reality and virtual reality — as a freelance yoga teacher and entrepreneur, I *love* my work and often spend far too many hours researching, contacting and cultivating. While these intentions held true for me throughout the 40 days, half way through, I felt a spontaneous drive to strengthen my body through a fire-y asana practice and begin a running routine 3 x weekly. I embraced the unexpected, and allowed for the Sadhana to slowly seep into other aspects of my life. Create the mental space and follow your intuitive energies by allowing your intentions to organically morph into what it is you truly may need.
2. Self-Love and Acceptance are key.
Yes, you will miss practices…and you may even do it intentionally. Know that it’s okay. I missed the odd practices and even took a day off throughout. I felt different each week, some more turbulent than others, but overall as the weeks passed I began to feel more at ease and slowly began to full embrace the experience. I came away from the Sadhana with new healthy habits, but most important a sense of self-love and acceptance for the entire journey, even the days that I wasn’t as mindful as I would have liked. The Sadhana is not meant to be a competition that leaves you feeling stressed and under accomplished. The Sadhana is there as a powerful reminder of your highest self and your capacity to commit and build presence.
3. Never under estimate the power of community!
While I may be thousands of miles away and living in a completely different reality from loved ones and my cherished yoga community, the group of women that invited me to join the Sadhana held the ‘virtual space’ for one another effortlessly. We had open and honest discussions, debates, shared insight and inspiration, and ‘met’ online each day to check in. Although it would have been ideal to practice all together and sip tea afterwards, the reality is that in 2016 we have the power to make connections (therefore community) in all parts of the globe…these women represented that exact percentage of fearless yogis who see beyond borders and limitations. With mindful communication and intentions present, an online community can bring love and support into your life when you need it most.
4. The strength lies within the experience:
When you practice yoga, you are the one having the experience on multiple levels – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. The sensations are felt only through the practices. You can certainly learn yoga in front of a great teacher, maybe one who shares with heart and soul the philosophy behind the practices in a compelling story, but nothing will teach you the philosophy better than your first hand experience. Often because that experience involves a breakthrough of sorts – overcoming a challenge by awakening your inner teacher and seeing clearly how to transform the barriers to create more freedom in body and mind. While I have known the power of a 40 Day Sadhana for years from teachers/friends, nothing gave the transformative experience as when I went through the efforts and daily dedication. Sadhana is always hard work, but always worth it as we will inevitably feel the positive effects of the practice emerge into all aspects of our lives.
5. Day 40 is just the beginning!
Through a daily Sadhana practice, we are transforming our inner being. 40 days is the time it takes to train the subconscious to release thoughts or habits that no longer serve us. Throughout the 40 days we change the habit by replacing old patterns with new ones on a cellular level, which reshape the signals sent to the body and mind. Through a Sadhana we are slowly chipping away at our subconscious identity and blocks which limit us and instead move towards our highest selves. Day 40 represented a beautiful new beginning, one full of gratitude, discipline and self-love!
LAUREN LEE is passionate about holistic health, exploring the world and empowering others to live vibrant and happy lives. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated yogini and sun seeker, she lives for creating connection and enjoying simple pleasures.