Life in Sadhanapada: A Symphony of Skills
Over 800 participants from 32 countries come together to spend 7 months in the consecrated space of Isha Yoga Center for their inner growth.
From Freelancing to Inner Freedom
Rashmi – Art Director, Mumbai, India
Rashmi: Before Sadhanapada, I studied advertising and communication at Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, a college I dreamed of going to since seventh grade. When I used to watch movies on television, I used to find the advertisements even more creative than the movie. Following college, I worked as an art director in ad agencies producing television advertisements and then as a freelancer for top agencies like McCann Worldgroup, Grey Advertising, and Ogilvy and Mather on campaigns like Vodafone, Glucon-D and others.
Q: How did you first hear about Isha and Sadhanapada?
Rashmi: I found out about Isha from my brother who did the program and I saw so many changes in him that it led me to do the program myself. I came to know about Sadhanapada while working on a big project. Whenever I opened YouTube, the Sadhanapada video used to pop up. I said, “Okay I am registering for this!” My clients and colleagues quizzed, “Everything is going very well. Why are you leaving?” I told them, “Everything is going very well and I have a very comfortable life, everything is in place. Despite that, I am not happy. So it’s time to do something different.”
Q: Taking seven months off from work, isn’t this a big dent in your resume?
Rashmi: Oh, no. This was the time that clients were coming to me. If you are good at your work, if you know whatever you do, you give it a hundred percent, there is no shortage of work. You can start anytime, you can stop anytime.
Q: Has your definition of success changed since coming into Sadhanapada?
Rashmi: Every advertising industry person imagines getting certain awards. Just before coming here, I had finished a project for breast cancer which received the highest award an ad agency can get. So I was like, “I have got this, now what else?” Even after all these awards, I was still not happy. Now, I’m coming to know that inner satisfaction means much more. I had never experienced this kind of inner satisfaction that is now blossoming within me in Sadhanapada.
Q: Have you discovered any new skills here?
Rashmi: Getting along with people! As a freelancer, I was alone and stuck in my own comfort zone. Then slowly, I started noticing that I could not tolerate even my brother. Going through Sadhanapada, I’m feeling well equipped, well-balanced, and the big thing is that I can get along better with people, however they are.
An Inventor Re-invented
Niall - Inventor, Ireland
Niall: I am an inventor turned creative technology entrepreneur. I am obsessed with the design and manufacture of innovative machines, objects and tools.
I founded my own company to develop my ideas around robotics, and electronic tools and accessories. My products have been exhibited at a number of Maker Faires in New York and San Francisco including my patented product PinJig - a tool that allows makers to solder entire thru-hole electronics circuit boards.
I have since developed an innovative new type of robot, which I was about to launch but decided it was a better idea to come here instead – and I don’t regret it one bit!
Q: Why have you chosen to come for Sadhanapada?
Niall: For years I’ve talked and talked about spirituality but now it’s time to “stop the talk and walk the talk.” Therefore, Sadhanapada.
Q: What’s your favorite part about living in the ashram?
Niall: Definitely spending time in Dhyanalinga every day! Sadhguru often talks that the Linga is in fact a meditation machine and being a machine designer, I can really appreciate that. There is only one word to describe what it brings in to my experience – “ineffable”.
Q: Can you talk about specific changes that you have seen in yourself after four months of Sadhanapada?
Niall: Impossible growth is happening. Impossible progress is at hand. My energy and my intensity has changed. I used to do a lot of weightlifting, squatting, deadlifts and bench press. I feel that I have been regaining the flexibility that weightlifting took away. There is a stillness slowly blooming from within and outside also. My walk has changed. I lost nearly 20 kg in weight in just the first three months. When I started, I couldn’t do Sarvangasana and I found the snail posture especially difficult. I can get into the difficult snail posture easily now… one might even say that I “snailed it”!
From Software Engineering to Inner Engineering
Surajit – Lead Developer, Bangalore
Surajit: I was working as a Software Engineer in Bangalore – four-and-a-half years in IMS Healthcare, and then seven-and-a-half years as a delivery lead in IBM. I worked on software design and architecture, managing around fifteen to twenty people.
Q: How did you first come in touch with Isha?
Surajit: I used to read spiritual books and around 2011-12, en route to my office, each electric pole had a Sadhguru photo plastered on it. It was as if he was calling me. I started to wonder, “Who is this?” I found the book Mystic Eye and immediately enrolled for Inner Engineering, straight away followed up by BSP. Ever since, I’ve been involved with Isha. I ensure that I do BSP volunteering once in a year. Every few months, if I have a long weekend, I just come to ashram for volunteering.
Q: How feasible is it for someone like you who is in a senior position in the IT field, taking seven months off?
Surajit: Someone in the IT field with eight to ten years in a position of a certain responsibility, earning well, with a family to support - it can be a challenge. But fortunately, my wife is also earning, and my parent and in-laws are there to take care of my daughter. That made it feasible for me. Many people are contacting me because I have taken this step and they want to do something similar. The question arises, “If I go for seven months, how much money will I lose?” I can say from my experience, “Just see that if you go, how much you will gain. Because if you calculate in terms of money, you will never get a break.”
Q: What is your specific role here in Sadhanapada?
Surajit: My specific role here is to build an analytics platform. There is a lot of data in Isha now with the number of programs increasing, Sadhguru becoming globally known and the online presence growing exponentially, not to mention huge on-the-ground campaigns like Cauvery Calling. But what we are missing is that we do not have an analytics reporting platform. We did a temporary reporting platform – you might have seen the Cauvery Calling dashboard. So we are doing that for all the data in Isha.
The Sadhanapada Equation
Eliza – Chemistry Lecturer, Odisha, India
Eliza: Before Sadhanapada, I completed my PhD and was teaching chemistry to college students and also to eleventh and twelfth grade school students.
Q: What made you apply for Sadhanapada?
Eliza: When I first saw videos of Sadhguru, I decided even way back then that I should go and spend some time in the ashram and walk the spiritual path. With the Sadhanapada video, I wanted to experience the ashram and see whether I would be comfortable here as a full-time volunteer.
Q: So what seva are you doing here in Sadhanapada?
Eliza: When I came here, they told me my seva will be in Isha Home School teaching chemistry for class eleven and twelve students. At that time I was a little frustrated because I didn’t want to be doing the same thing. But within three to four days, my perception completely changed. Earlier when I used to go to class, I imposed myself as a very strict teacher, but here there is no need for such things. When I enter the class, they don’t shout, they sit quietly. Even if they don’t want to listen, they don’t disturb the class. But outside, I used to spend half of my time trying to control the class. Students here are very sincere and learn quickly. When I used to teach in college, that was more like a profession but here all the teachers are included in the other activities, not just teaching a subject. So, I always enjoy the other activities like dancing, singing and drama. It is a great experience. I don’t feel like I am teaching. It’s just playful.
I feel very touched by seeing all that is provided to us. When I think about what Sadhguru has offered, many times I cry. How can he give such a big thing to thousands of people who know so little about spirituality? Everybody should make use of this opportunity.
Editor’s Note: Find out more about Sadhanapada and apply for the upcoming program here.