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The Sniffley Sadhana

common cold virus

That's Rhinovirus 14 on the left, and an interior view of Rhinovirus 16 on the right. No fun.

Summer Sadhana 2012, the fourth annual 10 days of early morning practice, has been a bumpy ride.

Every day presented a new obstacle: one student had a family medical emergency; another’s dental surgery date moved ahead from July to two days before we started. There was  a temporary crown that came out; a fall on a sidewalk; headaches and nausea.

And then there was the common cold. It rippled through our ranks: one, then two, then three, then me.

No longer can I say that can’t remember the last time I had a cold. And I’ll be able to date this one if I ever need to. It’s the cold I had while getting up at 5 a.m. to teach every day for 10 days.

The strangest thing about it is that getting up hasn’t been hard for me. I’ve loved my morning drive to the studio, being there by 6 a.m., pulling up the blind, opening the windows, lighting some incense, doing small housekeeping tasks and then encountering the deep quiet of sitting very early in the morning.

I don’t feel sick while I teach. It’s a little piece of yoga magic – without even trying, I tap into a universal reserve of energy that keeps me going until about an hour after the class ends.

Teaching with a cold has even been instructive. Now that I don’t touch anyone with my hands, ever, I’m more precise with my words and somehow keener with my eyes.

I’d like to keep that, even when I’m no longer a mobile home for the Rhinovirus.

In general, I’ve been happy with the practice. Despite our various states of illness, standing poses are stronger, headstands are more confident, and shoulder stand setups go together in record time.

The aim of this sadhana is to send its participants off into the summer, not only inspired to keep on practicing, but equipped with everything they need to modify and adapt in the face of less than perfect circumstances.

Our bodies are different every day – sometimes drastically, sometimes almost imperceptibly. So our practice has to be different too.

There’s no point in doing a vigorous practice in the midst of a full-blown cold. Prolonged Savasana (relaxation pose) in bed is the best thing we can do.

But if we’re going to cultivate the “long, uninterrupted, alert practice” that the  Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali prescribes for achieving a state of yogic union, then we need strategies for the days when we’re not at our best and ways to practice that allow us to turn inward and do good work while honoring our body’s limitations.

As it turns out, the sniffley sadhana of 2012 has been a crash course in doing just that.

If you’d like a pdf of the practice we worked with, let me know in the comments and I’ll email you a copy.


If this is your kind of post, you might also like:

Summer Sadhana: The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you

Morning Yoga Practice: If it’s so important, why is it so hard to do?

Find a Time of Day to Watch Your Breath



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Becky Patel July 9, 2012, 3:27 pm

    Hi Eve,
    I’m coming to this post a little late because I have been traveling for the fourth of July holiday. I would love a PDF coy of the practice if it’s not too much trouble.

    • Eve July 10, 2012, 2:34 pm

      Hi Becky,
      Good to hear from you, and you’re not late at all. I hope you enjoy the practice.

  • charlotte Sandoz July 6, 2012, 11:58 pm

    Dear Eve,
    You should know that you get “dearer ” all the time as the 5 minute yoga is often my only teacher and always gives my spirit a lift and peace to my heart.
    Of course, every practice also fills me with gratitude for all the teachers who shared with me, but getting those little emails brings me back to the mat again and again..
    Aloha, may the breath be with you!

    • Eve July 7, 2012, 10:57 am

      Ah, Charlotte, how lovely to hear from you! And thank you for this generous and encouraging comment.

  • anita July 2, 2012, 1:14 pm

    Coming in to all this a bit late, Eve, but would love a pdf please. Actually just had a great Canada Day weekend morning practice using your five-minute practice app! Hope you feel better soon.

    • Eve July 3, 2012, 9:25 am

      Oh Anita, how lovely to hear that the app is useful to you!
      I am much better this morning – exactly a week since the first symptoms, so I guess that’s about right. And when the sun comes out tomorrow, I’m sure we’ll all feel better.

  • Eve June 29, 2012, 7:01 pm

    Thanks everyone who asked for a copy of the practice.
    I’m going to teach the last day of Sadhana on Saturday morning and then make some revisions and add a few notes. I hope to have it on its way to everyone who requested it by Monday.

    • Heather July 2, 2012, 3:35 pm

      Hi Eve – I’d love a copy and thank you in advance.

  • Liz June 29, 2012, 11:59 am

    Thanks Eve
    I’ll love to have a copy

  • Barbara Doran June 29, 2012, 11:24 am

    Yes, Eve I would like the pdf very much. I am taking your app to South Africa with me and will be working with you daily there. Thank you so much for making yourself portable. Cheers, Barb

    • Eve July 3, 2012, 9:24 am

      Good to hear from you! It’s lovely to think of my virtual self in South Africa, especially since the rain and cold here just keeps right on coming.

  • Anne June 29, 2012, 9:22 am

    Hi Eve,

    I look forward to your Five-Minute Yoga postings every week and thoroughly enjoy reading about your practice. I would appreciate a copy of your Sniffley Sadhana. Thank you.


  • Loura June 29, 2012, 8:10 am

    Hi Eve,
    I am back…sorry I did not come for the last two Sunday classes, guess I am listening to my body. Returned on Wednesday the 13th and it told one week for my body to get over the jetlag. So happy to hear that we should honour our inner teacher and be flexible to our routine.
    Thanks for all the teaching! May I have a PDF of the summer Sadhana, so, I will have you with me when I practise at home.
    Have good summer..see you in September. Loura

    • Eve June 29, 2012, 6:58 pm

      Hey Loura,
      Good to hear from you. I hope you had a great trip!

  • gaileee June 29, 2012, 5:28 am

    I’d love to see a pdf of the sadhana practice.

    I too have noticed while teaching while a bit feeling off, I do not feel that challenged while teaching. But a couple of hours later. whoa!


  • Barbara Mercer June 29, 2012, 4:19 am

    I would love to have a copy of your pdf. I’ve been following your blog since I became a yoga teacher and incorporating a lot of your ideas into my classes. Your insight and alignment-based principles are so helpful!!

    With light,

  • Jane June 29, 2012, 1:03 am


    I’ve been lurking around your blog for a while gaining inspiration to get up and go with whatever time I have. I would love a copy of your sniffly Sadhana practice if possible.

    Many thanks for the encouragement and practice,


  • nancy June 28, 2012, 9:13 pm

    Hi Eve,
    I would love to have a copy of your Sadhana practice. I’m suffering from ‘that’ cold at the moment and could use some teaching inspiration!

    • Eve June 29, 2012, 7:00 pm

      So sorry to hear you have our all-too-common cold. I hope it’s brief.

  • Ann June 28, 2012, 8:09 pm

    Hi Eve,
    I’d like to have a PDF of your practice please! I’m always interested in your summer sadhana practices.
    Thanks, hope all is well with you,

    • Eve June 28, 2012, 8:37 pm

      Good to hear from you! Apart from the cold, I’m doing fine. Looking forward to time on Read this summer. Maybe this is the year we connect on Quadra.

  • Barbara June 28, 2012, 7:54 pm

    Dear Eve,
    I’m quite new to your excellent site.
    I would enjoy receiving a PDF of the sniffley sadhana practice (I love that name!).
    Thanks in advance.

    Much fun and laughter,

    • Eve June 28, 2012, 8:35 pm

      Hi Barbara,
      I’ll get it off to you when I’ve put the final touches to it – I hope before Monday. Fun and laughter are two of my favorite things.

  • melissa June 28, 2012, 7:22 pm

    Another thought-provoking post, Eve. Thank you. Journey has taken precedence over destination these last 7 months as injuries and duties have called me to unhook from my head’s schedule, and let what my body and spirit need guide my practice. I would love a copy of this year’s Sadahana practice.

    • Eve June 28, 2012, 8:33 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a difficult road for the last while. I hope it gets less rocky soon, and that when it does, your body and spirit will still be guiding your practice.

  • Laura June 28, 2012, 7:01 pm

    Hi Eve,
    I would love to have a PDF of your summer Sadhana. Your site has been a steady source of inspiration for me, always finding something that’s pertinent to what’s going on. I too had the rhinovirus for the past two weeks and could not have made it thru without yoga!

    • Eve June 28, 2012, 8:30 pm

      Hey Laura,
      Good to hear from a fellow sufferer. I’m glad you like the site.

  • Fay June 28, 2012, 6:49 pm

    Sorry, Eve, I hit submit before I signed off.

    Take care and hope you are feeling better.
    have a good weekend.

  • Fay June 28, 2012, 6:48 pm

    Hi Eve,
    I’d love to see a PDF of your sadhana. Thank you. I looked for you at the AGM and was sad that I didn’t see you. I’ve passed your five minute yoga site to several of my students and I know they like it. I like it too. thanks for your work!

    • Eve June 28, 2012, 8:30 pm

      I wish I could have come the the AGM, but it just wasn’t in the cards. I’m hoping there was some documentation, and that there’ll be sharing of the teaching.
      This cold can’t last forever. . . . .

  • meenu chaudhary June 28, 2012, 6:42 pm

    Hello Eve,
    Always a pleasure to read your five minute yoga write up.

    Your talent with words is truly wonderful.

    I am not sure if the pdf of the sadhana practice is to be shared with people who were not part of it but if it is I look forward to it.
    Have a good summer – till next time.

    • Eve June 28, 2012, 8:28 pm

      Hey Meenu,
      Good to hear from you. The Sadhana people are all getting copies of the pdf, but I’m also offering it to anyone who is interested. I’ll send it off as soon as I’ve put the final touches to it. Best of summer to you too.