A transformative spiritual experience, Sadhana translates as ‘realization’ from Sanskrit.
In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, a Sadhana practice is a commitment to daily prayer to achieve enlightenment. The discipline, or sustained effort, in Sadhana helps cultivate an inner awareness of your responsibilities and reactions to adversity.
During Sadhana, you show up every day—especially on the days you do not want to.
Commitment is much easier to honor when you are happy, well-rested, and have the time to dedicate to your practice. The real work starts when you show up on the days you lack the motive, energy, and enthusiasm to do the practice.
We spoke with Janet Stone Yoga on the potency of cultivating a Sadhana practice.
Janet joined us on the Practice with Clara Podcast to share how she came to yoga and how she honors a personal practice she shares with students.
Keep reading to see the five powerful teachings to develop a Sadhana practice, or listen to the full interview.
Why Devote Yourself to Sadhana?
When inconsistencies and difficulties appear, this is the most important time for you to show up for your Sadhana yoga.
Working with and through challenges develops discipline, known as tapas in Sanskrit. Tapas is essential when walking a spiritual path.It teaches you to face challenges head-on and develops strength in body and mind. In a yoga practice, Tapas builds heat.
In ancient scriptures, tapas refers to burning away impurities to clear.
The element associated with tapas is fire, traditionally associated with transformation, revealing the light and destroying all that it touches to make space for what’s to come.
What Does a Sadhana Look Like?
Sadhana yoga is how you devote yourself to practice each day to transform your consciousness, connect with spirituality/Divine, and develop an awareness of the layers of yourself in mind and body.
Your Sadhana could be a few minutes of breathwork (pranayamas) or mantras (chanting), a moment in silence for meditation, or a movement practice.
It can look different depending on how you feel or how much time you have for your practice.
5 Powerful Teachings on Sadhana from Janet Stone
It’s really about ritualizing. It’s about making a little moment in your day a ritual. — Janet Stone Yoga.
Janet Stone is an internationally recognized yoga teacher and Bhakti who shares and connects students from her own Sadhana.
During the pandemic, we spoke with Janet in 2020 on the power of sustained ritual, community, mantra, and travel in shaping her Sadhana she shares with students worldwide.
How Janet Stone Yoga Creates Space for Sadhana:
Set fierce boundaries.
Thank goodness for my film ministry experience. I think producing, and production has helped me understand how to prioritize what to let go of. It’s about cultivating a sense of fierce boundaries.
I had no social life. I’ve made choices, and you’ll have to make choices. I’m not special in any way, I don’t have a different time clock than anyone else, but I’m able to do so much because I know my priorities and my intentions. You’re not seeing me out at the birthday parties that much because I choose to contain and prioritize my energy. Mothering is way up there on my priorities, and sharing my offerings; is where I focus all my efforts.
Show up, no matter what.
In Sadhana, we show up no matter the elements. Rain, shine, happy, sad, divorce, marriage, birth, death. We show up; it doesn’t matter. Every single practice is different; it’s not like today. We come together to sit in Sadhana, and then we all disappear and return to our busy lives.
Some rituals involve dry brushing, abhyanga, tongue scraping, or splashing cold water on the face. Every day we do sun salutations and move the body and the joints. It’s not complex. It’s not fancy. It’s simple, show up for yourself, stay in it day in and day out, and just show up for yourself.
Honor the roots of the practice.
The roots of one place were all of the nutrients I received. I was able to take the eight limbs and see how the eight limbs are actually about containment of my life force energy and directing it where I want it to go.
Place your heart in all that you do.
I think being in India and hearing chants in the temples and even up in Nepal, the resonance was what woke something up in me. It’s when I realized I’m not going to figure out enlightenment staying in my mind.
Through mantra, the resonance, sound, and reverberation exist within the vibration. It’s where it all makes sense. The mind drops down into the heart. The heart gets bigger. In this place, I feel that it’s not about me. It’s not about you or me; we’re not telling our story. We’re not performing. I don’t perform. I don’t even sing. I chant. There’s zero performance in Bhakti yoga. Bhakti is devotion; it’s participation. Singing is performative, and there’s zero performance in Bhakti. Bhakti is participating.
When I do mantra, it’s like my jealousy and my fears, anxieties, and depression, you know, whatever the things are, all of it falls away. Whatever’s coming up in your life, when you’re willing to show up and churn and not just choose to go to sleep, Netflix, vices, all this stuff, it’s uncomfortable. So let’s do it together. My one voice mixed with all the voices. Everybody drops their story even for a second.
Step back to see the bigger picture.
My superpower is my compassion for humanity and being able to see a larger view. I have this ability to go way out to see the macro view of things and also really micro; I have a lens that can expand to take it all in, and I can be right here with you and see you as who you are, where you are and hold a context.
How We Contribute to the Community
Staying in integrity with the teachings is how we support each other. That means staying to the heart, staying to the root of the teachings, and giving them to other people. — Janet Stone Yoga.
One of the main tenants of the practice is how we contribute to the global community and the collective consciousness.
Yoga teachers pass on the physical postures and philosophy to students as a method for personal growth and spiritual transformation.
Sangha represents the community; it’s a Sanskrit word that means ‘company’ or ‘assembly’ and refers to the idea of individuals coming together to align for a greater purpose.
Sangha, Dharma, and the Buddha make up the ‘Three Jewels,’ where practitioners seek refuge in Buddhist practices. Sangha is the community, Dhamra is the universal truth connecting all living beings, and the Buddha taught this enlightenment theory.
Establishing a Sadhana Practice at Home
The practice is to make a ritual that alleviates stress instead of jacking up our adrenals with coffee, picking up the phone, or taking care of everybody else’s or the computer’s needs.
— Janet Stone Yoga.
You can do a Sadhana practice anywhere, anytime. Depending on your intention, it can be a shared experience or a solitary event.
Benefits of a Sadhana Practice:
- Cultivate awareness.
- Confront mental blockages.
- Embrace adversity.
- Develop strength in your body and mind.
- Confront obstacles in body and mind.
- Practice breathwork to clear stagnant energy.
- Build tapas (heat) to burn away impurities.
- Reflect on your choices and actions.
- Contribute to the Sangha (community).
- Create a habit to better your lifestyle, health, and connection to spirituality.
Sign up for a 7-Day Sadhana Series on the Practice with Clara Apps.
3 Questions for Janet Stone Yoga:
If you could be born in any era, what period would you choose and why?
I would choose now because it’s ripe with knowledge. The speed at which things are evolving, growing, and shifting is completely rapid fire.
In every single moment, we have a choice to go forward, to enter the shadow space and the darker realms.
We can pull back and see more of a context of where we are. So I’m just going to go with it now.
How did you come to yoga?
My grandfather and three generations prior had been born and raised in India and what he brought back to my California childhood was enough to plant a seed for sure. Thanksgiving was curry and naan, and all the stories and something about it hit me. I had that moment, you know, Saturn Return, vibes maybe. So I took a hiatus, as they call it in the film industry, and went traveling. One of the places that I stayed in was both India and Nepal, and both of those just were ripe with teachers.
I found a teacher and took up meditation, and this is a whole new level that opened up to me. It was funny and fun and great. I returned to LA and went back to the film industry, but then there was this one moment when someone asked me to step in for them to teach. So I taught the class, and every person in the room asked me where and when I was teaching.
I felt like it kept going, calling me toward it. Until one day, I was at a dinner party and discovered that I wasn’t saying I was in the film industry. I was saying; I’m offering yoga.
What are three things you never leave home without?
Compassion, empathy, and acts of kindness. I never leave without my intention. Intention helps me with those other three.
I try to bring my kids when they’re willing to come with me, but sometimes they’re not. A snack, I’m weirdly always hungry, and turmeric, ginger, and warm water because it’s like my little security blanket.