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Sadhana starts tomorrow: here’s the first day’s practice

Okay, the road to the studio isn't paved with bluebells, but the morning light is still beautiful

I’ll be laying out my clothes tonight, hanging them on the hook in the bathroom in reverse order of putting them on.
I’ll set my alarm clock, and then, if tradition holds, wake myself up three or four times during the night.
It’s Sadhana preparation. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year’s practice is based on the Intermediate Course in Geeta Iyengar’s classic book, Yoga: A Gem for Women.

It’s a six-day-a-week practice, but it breaks down into essentially two different practices, which repeat  Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, with a few interesting deviations.

Sunday is a day off – which by happy accident, is also the one day off in the 10 days of Sadhana.

It begins with sitting, child’s pose and dog pose, then arm  balance and headstand.

If you aren’t yet practicing either of these, don’t worry.

You can skip them, and just move on to the standing pose.

Or, check out Get a Leg Up on Downward Dog or half arm balance, and work with the one that’s most accessible to you.

For headstand, do either Prasarita Padottanasana or half a headstand with three bricks and the wall.

Below is a full list of poses in the practice.
My guess is that we’ll be pressed for time, especially on the first time through the practice, and may be trimming some of the backbends and twists.

Day 1:

Sitting/ Invocation 5 to 10 minutes

Child’s pose   1 minute

Dog pose     2 minutes

Arm balance (or preparations) 3 – 5 minutes

Headstand (or preparations)   3 – 5 minutes

Standing poses: 30 seconds per side:

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Parvatasana (fingers interlaced, palms out, arms up)

Utthita Trikonasanana  (triangle pose)

Utthita Parsvakonasana (side angle pose)

Vira 2, Vira 1, Vira 3  (warrior 1, 2, 3)

Ardha chandrasana  (halfmoon pose)

Parivritta Trikonasana  (rotated triangle)

Parsvottanasana  (intense side stretch pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-leg forward bend)

Padangusthasana  (uttanasana, feet hip distance, holding big toes)

Uttanasana  (standing forward bend)

Virasana cycle: one minute per variation

Virasanana  (hero pose)

Parvatasana arms in Virasana  (fingers interlaced, palms out, arms up)

Forward bend in Virasana

Shoulder stand

Shoulder stand – 5 minutes

Halasana  (plow pose) – 2 minutes

Baddha Konasana cycle: one minute per variation

Baddha Konasana  (bound angle pose)
Forward bend in Baddha Konasana
Supta baddha konasanana  (supine bound angle)
Upavista Konasana   (wide-leg seated forward bend)

Paschimottanasana  (seated forward bend) – 1 – 2 minutes

Backbends:  2 times, 30 seconds each

Salabhasana  (locust pose)

Dhanurasana  (bow pose)

Urdva Mukha Svanasana  (upward facing dog pose)

Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana  (bridge pose)  OR

Urdhva Dhanurasana  (upward facing bow)

Twists: 30 seconds to 1 minute each side

Bharadvajasana 1  (Bharadvaja’s pose)

Bharadvajasana 2

Ardha Matsyendrasana  (half Lord of the Fishes pose)

Winding Down

Setu Bhanda on a brick  3 to 5 minutes  (bridge pose, supported)

Savasana   5 to 10 minutes

If you’re doing the practice with us from home, I’d love to hear how it went.

Photo courtesy of Christopher Hawkins at Flickr Creative Commons

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

All of the stories from last year’s Sadhana, (in reverse order)

Press your outer arches down to lift your inner ankles (good advice in all standing poses)

Five good reasons to let a timer be your practice buddy (it will help you stick to the timings)


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • frank June 19, 2011, 9:20 pm

    hello. thank you for your postings. i am confused about the sadhana. i am fairly new to yoga, and a barbarian concerning spiritual practices. I am wondering what is the difference between the sadhana and a daily yoga practice, as what you detailed above seems like what I do routinely almost every day in yoga practice.

    • Eve June 20, 2011, 1:14 pm

      Hi Frank,
      Good to hear from you. Great question!
      “How does Sadhana differ from a daily yoga practice?” has at least two answers, depending on the context.
      In one sense, any sustained, consistent spiritual practice is a Sadhana.
      The word itself means “a way to get things done.” So, for example, the second chapter in the Yoga Sutras, in which Patanjali lays out the method of practice, is titled Sadhana Pada.
      But as the introduction to last year’s Sadhana explains, Sadhana has other meanings, most specifically, a special practice, undertaken with a group of other yoga practitioners for a limited period of time, to achieve a desired result. Naturally, the chosen result varies from person to person.
      A Sadhana undertaken in that sense can be much longer than 10 days – 40 is more traditional – and it can even continue for years.
      In practical terms, the difference in coming together for an early morning practice is huge, because the energy of the group creates an environment that propels the participants more deeply into the work.
      I’m hoping that even those who are following the practice online will be able to feel some of that energy and sense of community.