“All I have is my sadhana,” I said to a friend and he laughed.
What does it mean to have a sadhana? Sadhana is a daily spiritual practice in which I connect with God, my higher self, and when I feed and nourish myself. I chant (Japji), work out (do a kriya), meditate, and listen to music (Aquarian Sadhana chants) between the hours of 4-6am or approximately 2.5 hours before the sun rises. Yogi Bhajan said that if we give God 10% of our day, God will cover 90%. That’s a pretty good deal, I thought. What a great concept and boy did I struggle for years afterwards trying to live up to these guidelines. Each night before I go to bed, I set my alarm and I ask myself, no I declare to myself that I will wake up at 3:30am and take my cold shower to prepare myself for my sadhana. My personal daily practice and the internal drive to be excellent, to live up to my word-commitment. Some days, when I actually do get out of bed before sunrise and do my practice, I feel victorious. Then there are times when I slept in.
As one Kundalini Yoga teacher taught me, “Don’t use your sadhana to beat yourself up each day” I have become more conscious of my mental ramblings. After a while I realized how negative talk really shrinks my aura so I reset my negative mind with the all powerful mantra-“Wahe Guru” and start over. I keep on chanting it over and over as I go on with my day. Cultivating kindness and compassion for myself is really important because there is nothing outside of me. If I have doubt or worry, it will manifest somehow so when I hear my negative mind broadcasts its cynical messages, I stop and I take a deep breath.
It is challenging to fit in my 90-minute sadhana when I have a 6am flight, however, so I have discovered little tricks to complete my sadhana while on the road.
1. Chant mantras all the time-put on your iPod and press PLAY, especially while driving and for all lines like while going through security, post office, movie theatre, grocery store, etc.
2. Find a quiet corner in an empty terminal at the airport and meditate and do yoga. Everyone is too busy to notice you. I often meditate on the train, bus, plane, chicken bus, etc. I like the Mastery meditation, discreet yet powerful.
3. Never give up. Do it later in the day if you have to. Some is better than none.
4. Try, try, try again. If you end up missing some part of your sadhana, say “Wahe Guru” and forgive yourself, be compassionate and start again tomorrow. This is a lifelong practice.
5. Use a mala. Not only is it a fashion accessory, it is quite useful when chanting mantras.
6. Drink water to replenish and nourish your body when traveling. The element of water is cleansing and works wonders on the nervous system.
7. Travel with a shawl and sheepskin. It adds at least 2 levels of comforts on cold planes and public transportation.
8. Cover your head. It’s true I feel more contained when I cover my head especially in public settings. Loud noises and lots of foot traffic has a tendency to add to my stress levels. 100% white cotton is ideal but my ski hat or stylish fedora works as well.
Like Nike, who said it so eloquently- Just do it!