Life in Sadhanapada: When Sadhana Begins to Catch Fire
Over 800 participants from 32 countries come together to spend 7 months in the consecrated space of Isha Yoga Center for their inner growth.
Where there is fire, there is bound to be light. As spiritual sadhana intensifies, an inner illumination begins to clear up old cobwebs, bringing in its wake a sense of clarity and balance. Sadhanapada participants have been doing various kinds of sadhana including Hatha Yoga practices, Shakti Chalana Kriya, Shambhavi Mahamudra, Bhakti Sadhana and Adiyogi Pradakshina. A Bhava Spandana Program was also organized specially for Sadhanapada participants, deepening their experience of sadhana.
We are almost halfway through Sadhanapada and the participants are beginning to notice the effects of pursuing dedicated sadhana in a consecrated space.
As one grows on the spiritual path, it is often useful to look back and reflect on what has changed within. Participants share how the past few months of intensifying sadhana has changed their experience of life.
Inner Friction Has Come Down
“One significant change that happened is, whenever something goes ‘wrong’, I'm willing to look within myself and not around me. My ability to reflect upon myself, my words and my actions has increased greatly. Because of this, the friction inside of me and around me has come down drastically.”– Vaishnavi, 26, Andhra Pradesh
“I can see a significant change in my energy throughout the day, I'm much more vibrant, energetic, productive and involved in whatever I do. I'm certainly much more balanced and clear since Sadhanapada started, and the most wonderful change is the intensity of energies. This is magical and unbelievable – one can only experience it. Sadhanapada is definitely a big stepping stone in my life.” – Kapil, 18, Maharashtra
Adiyogi Pradakshina + Ekadashi = Explosive
An important part of Sadhanapada is Adiyogi Pradakshina - a circumambulation of the Dhyanalinga and 112-ft Adiyogi, which is a two-kilometer walk. By chanting a mantra and holding a certain mudra, the pradakshina is a way of imbibing the energy of the various consecrated spaces at the Isha Yoga Center. On Ekadashi, which is a bi-monthly day of fasting, the Adiyogi Pradakshina offers an even more intense experience.
This Experience Blew Me Away
“I am always excited when the day of Ekadashi arrives, as it brings a tremendous energy and possibility of realization within me. We had to fast on Ekadashi and as I was mentally prepared for it, I wasn't even hungry. As I went on doing the Pradakshina, it felt like I was getting drunk but was conscious and in control. As I kept chanting the mantra with devotion, something within me began to rise in a big way. Suddenly I felt that I have become so light that I could barely feel my body. At a certain point, for a few seconds, I felt like my body was separate from me – like the person walking and this conscious person are different. This experience blew me away that day. I was not tired at all after many Pradakshinas. In fact it energized me even more. Every Ekadashi opens up new experiences for me and it never fails to surprise me every time I do it. I am so grateful to be in such a process.”– Murchana, 24, Assam
No obstacle is a challenge when one has a heart full of devotion. To cultivate this aspect, Sadhguru has designed Bhakti Sadhana.
I Am So Much More Alive
“Bhakti Sadhana is very enriching. The way I perceive and look at things, my perspective, has completely changed. Initially, I used to categorize what should be respected and what should not, what is important and what is not. With Bhakti Sadhana, I am coming to a place where I see that everything I look at, everything that I know of, has a certain importance and is something to be respected. Bhakti Sadhana just puts my ego aside and makes me so much more alive. I am learning to bow down to life.” – Mridula, 24, Maharashtra
An Important Checkpoint
Every month, the whole batch meets for a day of watching Sadhguru’s videos, getting their practices corrected and sharing their experiences. As everyone comes together to reflect on how the past month has been, it is an opportunity rekindle their sense of purpose and prepare for the upcoming month.
Sets the Tone for Where I Wish to Be
“All of us being together in this space creates a sense of kinship with the whole batch. And when we share our experiences, it's such a good refresher of the purpose of why I am here. It almost serves as a checkpoint on this journey, helping me recalibrate and assess where I was the month before and where I am now. It also sets the tone for where I wish to be in the time to come.” – Indradeep, 35, Texas, USA
Banana Split – Two Sides of the Same Coin
In the Yoga Center, we are constantly reminded of our limitations and the expectations we place on others based on our likes and dislikes.
It’s too ripe!
By Baran, 35, Australia
“After the invocation in Biksha hall, I opened my eyes to see the golden glow of a ripened banana willingly offering itself to me. I felt blessed.
Tears were dripping down his weathered black exterior. Either his time had long passed or this was one enlightened banana. Let me see.
Peeling back its skin, I found a ripened yellow body, but brown and white in parts. I optimistically took a bite of the yellow flesh and it tasted slightly sour.
Then this exchange occurred between me and the volunteer serving:
Me: My banana has gone bad. Can I please have another one?
Serving Volunteer: This is fine to eat.
Me: I like ripe bananas, but this one is too ripe. It’s gone bad.
Serving Volunteer (after carefully examining the banana): That’s the best way to eat them. That’s how I eat them.
Me: You eat it then...
I looked down at my plate, faced with a weeping yellow banana feeling neglected after offering its life to me. I felt pangs of guilt, with my reaction echoing in my mind – ‘You eat it then, you eat it then, you eat it then.’
‘I am going to eat this banana,’ I thought, ‘and I will apologize to the volunteer later today for my reaction.’ After closer inspection, I ate very cautiously, taking precarious bites among the yellow, brown and white. The process was not unlike walking a cliff face, avoiding certain death.
Yes, it did taste ever so slightly sour, but I thought that it is fine to eat and my likes and dislikes are creating my Banana Bondage.
Later that day, the Serving Volunteer approached me for a second exchange:
Serving Volunteer: I am sorry.
Me: No, I am sorry. I ate the banana and it was perfectly fine – you were right.
Serving Volunteer: No, I am sorry.
Me: No need to be sorry. I feel bad for speaking to you like that.
Serving Volunteer: No, I’m sorry because I ate a banana just like yours, and now I have a sore stomach. Your banana had gone bad, you shouldn’t have eaten it!
We both bowed down and laughed with great joy! It was a lovely moment that taught me that even though I may not have become fully conscious, it was something that I can make an effort towards every day.”
It’s not too ripe!
By Edgardo, 22, Puerto Rico
“Before eating in Biksha Hall, I like to serve. So I offered a banana to someone and he told me that it was too ripe and had gone bad. I looked at the banana. I like ripe bananas, so I said, ‘It’s a good banana!’ And he told me, ‘Ah, you eat it then.’ When he said that, I realized that I had reacted to the situation.
Later, when I sat down for my brunch, I looked for the blackest banana. I thought, ‘Okay, if I can offer it to someone, I must be willing to eat it myself.’ So I took the ripest banana. When I peeled it, it smelled kind of funny, but I decided to eat it because I thought the banana was good. As soon as I put the banana in my mouth, my stomach started churning! I ate the whole banana anyway. The first thing I did when I came for my Seva was to look for Baran and apologize. I told him that I had misjudged the situation and reacted unconsciously. He was also really open and had a completely different take on the situation. We ended up laughing and having a very good time. It is little moments like these that show me how well my sadhana is working.”
Work in Progress
There is still a long way to go, but every participant has realized that they are well on their way.
“I always thought that if I do whatever I want, I will enjoy freedom, but after coming here I am gradually working towards real freedom – freedom from choices. I am getting more and more involved and joyful in doing whatever comes my way. I think I have tasted a bit of what it means to be truly free.” – Himanshu, 24, Uttarakhand
Not So Serious Anymore
“I used to live in my own box. I was always carrying a serious face, and people had to make an effort to break down my walls. Now I feel more effortlessly joyful and loving towards anyone and everyone, like how I used to be as a child. One more significant change is that no matter how the person is, no matter how the situation is, I am able to either respond consciously or realize in just the next moment that I have responded compulsively. I never thought such a thing was possible, assuming my compulsive reactions to be my natural self – which was a lie indeed.”– Vineeta, 30, Punjab
Something Beyond the Body and Mind
“My body and mind are going through the same struggles as before, but they do not dictate what I do and how I feel to the extent they did before. They have gone from the foreground to the background and something more pleasant has taken center-stage.” – Ashwini, 27, Ohio, USA
Sadhanapada – An Insurance for Life
Sadhguru (addressing Sadhanapada participants): The difference between a spiritual aspirant and those who are into materialistic ways of life is just this – people who are in materialistic ways of life will run when life whips them. If there is some financial difficulty, or somebody in the family is sick, or some disaster happened, then they will run. But a spiritual aspirant means you whip yourself. You don’t wait for others to do it for you! Everything that can be done to you is done by yourself. So nobody else can do anything to you. This is freedom, you know. Because I sat down for years and criticized myself from head to toe in every possible way, today when people say whatever they say, it is okay. I myself already said it, so what?
Your body, your mind and your energies should never be an impediment in your life – this is one thing you must do. This is what Sadhanapada means. You have a limited amount of time, just another three-and-a-half months or so. I want you to go full on. If you use this properly, the rest of your life you will always look back at this time as your insurance. It doesn’t matter what life throws at you, if you empower yourself well in this time, you will see that nothing will really knock you off. Once you have that assurance, you will do great things in the world. That’s what we want you to do.
Coming Up Next…
Home to spiritual seekers of every shade and hue, Isha Yoga Center is designed to nurture the spiritual process in every kind of aspirant. It is no coincidence that a wide variety of spiritual processes are made available for individuals to make use of for their growth. In the next edition of “Life in Sadhanapada,” we get to sample some of the different flavors of Seva that Sadhanapada participants are gleefully thrown into!
Editor’s Note: Find out more about Sadhanapada and pre-register for the upcoming batch here.