A New Year Meditation
The turn of the decade is a powerful time of transition. If you’ve been wanting to begin a sadhana practice, now’s the time to let go of old layers and start afresh
Perhaps you’ve been thinking of starting a daily meditation practice but haven’t gotten around to it – if so, this powerful time of transition is perfect for kickstarting your year with a sadhana.
WHAT IS A SADHANA?
Simply put, it’s personal spiritual discipline, a daily practice which allows oneself to turn inward and go through self-evaluation. Being spiritual doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be about religion – a spiritual practice is essentially one that connects you to your true self. For instance, some people might find connecting with nature a spiritual experience as it makes them feel more in tuned with life, and with themselves.
Sadhana is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.
A sadhana could take the form of many things: reading a spiritual text, practicing a specific kriya, or chanting a daily mantra. You could even begin every morning with a mindful walking meditation in nature.
Kundalini Master Yogi Bhajan said, “Sadhana is the technique to discipline yourself. It is a scientific way to live. The greatest reward of sadhana is that the person becomes incapable of bring defeated. Sadhana is a self-victory, and it is a victory over time and space. Getting up in the morning is a victory over time, and doing it is victory over space.
“For the mind to work for you for the whole day, it must be fresh and clear; it must be made liveable. That is why it is a requirement to rise early in the morning when nobody can disturb you, when you can be yourself.”
Think of a meditation practice as an approach to training the mind, just like how a fitness routine is an approach to training the body. Many studies have been done about the amazing benefits of meditation. In fact, researchers have found that as little as just 12 minutes of daily meditation over a period of eight weeks, can rewire the circuitry in the brain, bringing about decreased levels of anxiety and boosted feelings of well-being. Other documented benefits to the sympathetic nervous system include lower blood pressure levels, improved blood circulation, reduced blood cortisol levels, and deeper relaxation.
THE MOST POTENT TIMES TO MEDITATE
The “ambrosial hours” (the two and a half hours just before sunrise, when the sun is at a sixty degree angle to the earth), are believed to be most ideal for a sadhana practice. It’s quieter, making it easier to focus on your meditation before the day’s distractions begin.
Alternatively, the sandhyas (the transition times during the day) are also considered to be most effective for meditation: the Brahma Muhurta Sandhya (between 4am and 6am just before the break of dawn), is an auspicious time as the mind is calm and refreshed after a good night’s rest; the Vishnu Sadhya (at noontime), enables you to take a midday break from your daily routine to refocus your mind; and the Mahesha Sandhya (at sunset), helps you to transition from work and wind down after a busy day.
If you’re absolutely unable to practice at these recommended timings due to professional or family commitments, then find a time that works for you fit it into your day. The aim is to develop a regular sadhana practice, so regardless of when you do it, your practice will still benefit you.
With the beginning of each year, comes the opportunity for a little pause and self-reflection. Use this chance to refresh your sense of mental clarity and set an intention (rather than a resolution). This guided intention-setting meditation is a great tool to help you stay motivated and live in alignment with your intentions.