Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sadhaka and Sadhana - and what is that?

The word sadhana in Sanskrit means practice or dynamic effort.  When one begins to delve into the deeper aspects of yoga, a yoga sadhana has begun. A sadhaka is a yoga practitioner, who uses the body, the organs of action, the senses of perception, the mind, the intellect and the consciousness to pursue a steady practice to reach Self-realisation.  As the depth of understanding increases the depth of the sadhana also increases.  Mr. Iyengar says in Light on Astanga Yoga, that Sadhana is done to quench the thirst for knowledge of the Self.
He also says that there is a great difference between just practicing yoga and a yoga sadhana
In Light on Life he says:
Sadhana is the way of accomplishing something.  That something is - by effective performance and correct execution- the achievement of the real.  What is real must be true and so leads us toward purity and emancipation.  This is yoga sadhana and not the mechanical repetition merely of yoga practice or yogabhyasa.  The end of yoga sadhana is wisdom.  You might translate yoga sadhana here as "the yoga pilgrimage" as it is a journey that leads somewhere, not the mere treadmill of thoughtless practice.
Thus, as stated in Light on Pranayama, yoga leads the sadhaka from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to light and from death to immortality. The fire of yogic discipline helps the sadhaka burn up within the self the impurities of desire, anger, greed, infatuation, pride and envy. 

To have a teacher is an important part of learning and should never stop since we never know where we will find our teachers in life, but your real sadhana begins when you bring this home and use your own intelligence, will power and desire to progress on your journey.  Mr. Iyengar says in Light on Life, then it comes from you, and its effect is profound.  This is not yoga by the body for the body, but yoga by the body for the mind, for the intelligence.

Pamela Nelson

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