As someone who was officially diagnosed with an "incurable" autoimmune disease I must say that I'm doing quite well. In fact, I no longer even have what they diagnosed me with! It's not because I took some magic herb, or because I went all organic. Why then am I not only able to live disease free, but I'm getting healthier and more balanced by the day? The answer is my sadhana.
Sadhana is a sanskrit term that refers to the efforts of a yogi. I oftentimes refer to my own sadhana as my 'practice'. The unique thing about my sadhana is that it takes place both on and off of my mat. My mat refers mainly to my hatha yoga practice, which includes my posture awareness work (yogasana), my breath work (vinyasa krama and pranayama), practicing sense withdrawal (Pratyahara), concentration (Dharana), and meditation (Dhyana). I study with amazing teachers such as Debbie Mills who gracefully describes this practice on her website (www.lotusadventures.com):
Stages of Yoga Asana Practice
Observe the breath,
Focus and calm the mind
Make offerings with reverence and Love
Stand with consciousness by observing the breath and balance,
Establish greater equilibrium "samasthiti" by focusing on breath and balance
Move the awareness from the gross to the subtle while maintaining connection with the physical via the breath.
Focus more on the internal experience of the asana rather than how it appears, or how one thinks it should appear.
Stay with the breath moving towards holding the asana, moving beyond perceived limitations while respecting the integrity of our unique structural makeup.
Counter poses, rest in Savasana,
Move into pranayama
work towards lengthening (double) the exhalation (ex.) to inhalation (in.). then holding after in., then after ex. – internal mantra recitation on hold after ex. offering up mantra recitation along with breath.
Then Pratyahara "sensory withdrawal" in preparation for
Dharana "focused concentration" and
Closing chants — for blessing of the practice and uplifting all beings everywhere.
An equally important aspect of my sadhana is the work I do on myself in every moment of my daily life. The purpose of this work is to create balance and therefore peace on every level of my being. Let me start with the most gross level, my physical body. I've practiced eating, moving, sitting, standing and breathing consciously for the past few years. This has ultimately led me to an organic, highly mineralized live food vegan diet. Not because a book told me to. Rather, by honestly evaluating how foods affect my body and whether it is supportive to my sadhana has allowed me to release attachment to any particular diet or food dogma. Ultimately, I've found that raw and living foods are the most supportive. Fortunately, my biology and chemistry degree helps me understand why this is so from the molecular perspective.
Juice feasting is by far the most supportive tool I've found in the dietary pantheon because it really holds space for the deeper work that I'll describe in my next post. It is also working wonders on my physical body as I feel clearer and more alive than ever before. I literally feel like a 13 year old again, except this time without all the crazy hormones and pimples! Score.
Namaste (I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace, When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One),