Sadhana Padah / The Chapter on Practice – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Patanjali, the great yogi, covered all the subject of Yoga in only 196 sentences divided into 4 chapters.
The second chapter is called Sadhana Padah. Sadhana is the practice and the one doing it, the practitioner is a sadhak.
How the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali help the sadhak? Patanjali gives us the path, the direction where the practice should lead to. When you practice, you need to know how you are going to feel. Being guided, you won’t get stuck in some mind set which you think is a very high state of consciousness.
In another chapter, he describes what are the powers that may come on your path and finally what is the goal. He is also warning you not to fall in pit holes, being attached to any kind of power. If for example you get the power of attracting money, without strong will and a good guidance, you can overuse it and get lost on the path to realization.
What are the powers, what is the final goal are not what matters for us as yet. The way to practice is what is really important to understand. He talks about the one pointedness of the mind. Keeping our mind thus our practice is focused in one direction. This is the only way to progress and achieve any result.
Goenkaji, the great vipassana teacher talks also about a long term and regular practice. He use to say, to get water you make one hole and you keep digging, keep on drilling till you hit the water. If the water level is low and you are up, if you make a little hole here and a little hole there, you stay at the surface level… you can’t reach water!
A regular practice doesn’t mean once or twice a week. It means daily and long enough to be able to let it go, to go deep into it. If 2 hours a day looks too much, think about the time you spend on doctors, hospitals, chemist… add it and bring it per day! And be creative with your practice. Props are neither an obstacle nor an excuse for not doing the practice. Whether you travel, visit family or go for camping, there will be always a good place and some time to do your Yoga practice … just keep your mind opened!
In a long-term practice, explorations are more than important, they are a must. Unless you try, how can you know what is good for you? For example, in the Iyengar Yoga style, Master Teacher Sharat Arora method that we practice at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Center once you experience freedom in the breath you know what is a true path. Then when you know at the experiential level (and not at the mental level…) what is good for you, stick to it until you get to the water of life! But what our societies encourage today is a multi-pointed mind. Practicing 1 month this Yoga, 2 months of another, 3 months yet of another thing… does it give any results? Does it make any practice clear?
Patanjali talks about asanas, postural practice, in only 2 sutras. One is on steadiness and ease in the asanas. It means whatever pose you do, find steadiness and effortlessness. But to stay long and to make it comfortable, in some asanas, it can sound really challenging!
In the Iyengar Yoga that we teach at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Center, we know that comfort comes from the breath. When the breath flows freely, without obstacle, then everything comes with ease. And this is accessible for a beginner too. In Iyengar Yoga, this is the magic of using props. Using as much as needed to experience freedom and comfort. Only then you can keep the pose steady with ease.
Doing a long practice on a regular basis with the proper settings is the Art of Practicing and the only way to explore and go further on the Path of Yoga.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre