≡ Menu

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

summer sadhana starts June 21

Here comes the sun. . . .


Summer Sadhana starts on Monday, June 21, and just like last year, I’m wondering if I’m ready.

“Sadhana,” apart from being the name of a 60’s and 70’s Bollywood star with an iconic hairstyle, is a Sanskrit word which translates as, “a means to get something done.” (Which presumably explains why it’s also the name of an Indian journal for research in engineering.)

In North American yoga circles, Sadhana has come to mean an early morning practice for a set number of days undertaken with a group of other yoga students, or Sadhanistas, if you like. The Sadhana I’m about to lead runs from 6:30 to 8 a.m., for 10 days, ending on July 1.

I am not naturally an early morning person. I have trouble going to bed when I could stay up and read. This week I probably ought to be in training, getting up earlier every day, but I’m not. I know that once I have to get up, I will. 5 a.m. is, after all, not so very early, especially when it’s light out.

This year I’ve found extra incentive in a poem by the 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the door sill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

I ran across that poem, by the way, on the 3HO Foundation (Kundalini Yoga) website, which posts a schedule for a much more rigorous sadhana, beginning at 3 a.m., or if you’re a sleepy noggin, 3:15.

I know what we’ll be practicing, at least in the large outlines – inversions and standing poses and then a day-by-day rotation of forward bends, back bends and twists, ending, on the last day, with a restorative practice.

What has me puzzled is the question of what I’d like to get done. Last year was easy. I had never led a Sadhana before, and I wanted to lead one. Just getting through the 10 days was all I expected to accomplish.

Much to my surprise, I learned that a Sadhana is a magic circle. Each person’s work multiplies everyone else’s. We don’t talk any more than we do in a regular class, which is to say, very little, and yet somehow, day by day, a group energy emerges that takes us all farther than we would go alone.

Last year’s sadhana propelled me into a happy cycle of practice that stayed with me all summer and well into the fall, when, as practice always does, it changed again.

This year, I know what can happen, and how powerful it can be. I hear Rumi saying: “You must ask for what you really want.”

Now all I have to do is figure out what that is, by Monday morning.

Would you like to do the Sadhana with us even if you can’t practice at 6:30 a.m., or come to the Yoga on 7th studio? I’m planning to post the schedule to the blog, starting Sunday night for an early Monday start. And I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, in a Sadhanista’s diary.

Image from Flickr Creative Commons, by kyz.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Caren June 17, 2010, 4:31 pm

    Participating in a sadhana somewhere has been calling to me for a few years, but with my schedule, planning the time to be in one place that long just hasn’t come together. Thank you for the thought of blogging the schedule. That may offer me the push I need to create my own sadhana.

    The poem you have discovered is also perfect, to all of us who love a few minutes longer under the covers, it is good to be reminded that “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you”

    • Eve June 18, 2010, 9:53 am

      Hey Caren,
      I’ll do my best to make the sequence easy to follow, although I’m not sure I’ll have time to link to a picture for every pose. But you know your poses well enough, I think, to know what we’re doing.
      Are you going to join us on Monday morning? It would be great to have a distance sadhana going! And I’d love to hear reports on how it goes.