The theme for my upcoming mid May workshop is Initiating and Maintaining a Home Yoga Practice (see details below). The word practice is key here. What does practice mean from a yogic standpoint? There are two words in Sanskrit that refer to practice. Sadhana is defined as a spiritual practice aimed at personal growth and enlightenment, a deepening of one's awareness of one's self and the world. Abhyasa means repeated, consistent practice with observation and reflection. Both are key components of the yogic path and are what make practicing yoga different from doing an exercise program. Yoga practice as a sadhana ultimately requires tuning into and being true to your heart. Your intentions and desires fuel your motivation to practice both in a class setting and on your own, and imbue your practice with deep meaning. Without deep meaning, yoga practice becomes hard and mechanical. Abhyasa is an expression of your will. It takes a commitment to show up to yoga class and to roll out your mat at home. It takes effort to come to your mat when you're tired or not in the mood to practice. However, when both sadhana and abhyasa are reflected in one's yoga practice, when the practice is both heartfelt and consistent, this when breakthroughs and insights can happen. This is when the teachings of yoga come off the mat and into your life. Ultimately, yoga is about awakening to your true nature, coming home to yourself, becoming mindful of your actions and making the world a better place through your attitude and actions.
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach yoga instructor.