Sharada’s July Update

Hello everyone,

Happy Canada Day – and Fourth of July if you’re American – and happy summer, everyone. The sun is shining (on some days), the grass is still green and the sky is light into the late evening. We hear the song of the frogs at night and the birds early in the morning.

The pond at the back of the mountain-fountain

The pond at the back of the mountain-fountain

Added to the ongoing daily tasks that keep the Centre running – and asana classes, yoga theory study and kirtan – this is a time for swims in one of Salt Spring’s many lakes and naps in the hammock. As always, we are blessed to have an awesome group of karma yogis here to keep everything on track.

Laundry sadhana; Lucille with a bouquet of parsley

Laundry sadhana; Lucille with a bouquet of parsley

Yoga Teacher Training is coming up this week, always an exciting time, followed by our Annual Community Yoga Reteatour 39th consecutive yoga retreat! – at the beginning of August. If you plan on joining us please read the information online and register. The retreat is filling up quickly. The early bird registration date has now passed, and late registration closes July 15; to ensure that there’s a space for you, register now! The retreat is always a wonderful time for strengthening our learning, deepening our practice, and connecting with family and friends. You can see some beautiful photos of past retreats here and here.

Self-development is supported by practice, whether we’re talking about learning to play a musical instrument, become a skilled athlete or make progress on our spiritual path. This month’s teaching from Babaji, called “Regular Sadhana” is a reminder of the importance of regular practice.

“Our Centre Community” this month features Markus Vikash Knox, whom many of you know from Sunday satsangs and Wednesday kirtan evenings; you may also know him as the maker of the rose petal beads. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading his full story.

July’s “Asana of the Month” is Half Moon pose – Ardha Chandrasana – contributed by Peter Ashok Baragon, an early graduate of the Centre’s Yoga Teacher Training program, who teaches at both Yoga Getaways and YTT. He has also contributed this month’s YTT Grad feature. He is one of several people who have graduated from the Centre’s Yoga Teacher Training program who are now teaching at the Centre, either at Yoga Getaways or YTT (or both).

On July 22 of this month, we will be celebrating Guru Purnima, an ancient Vedic ceremony (Yajna), to honour Babaji and all spiritual teachers. Please follow this link for more information on this year’s event. We welcome you to join us at 8:00 am on the 22nd for this auspicious ritual in honour of Babaji and all spiritual teachers who have inspired and supported us in treading the spiritual path. If you are interested in offering at the Yajna, or would like more information, please contact Rajani at 250-537-9537 or rajanirock@me.com.

I wish you all a sunny summer, filled with light, joy and peace.
Love,
Sharada

Regular Sadhana (Spiritual Practice)

Baba Hari Dass

Baba Hari Dass

Over the course of many years Babaji has often responded to students’ anxious questions with the recommendation to do regular sadhana, later shortened on his chalkboard to RS.

Sadhana, or spiritual practice, comes in many forms. Many people have a committed asana practice, and that is one expression of sadhana, as is the practice of karma yoga or developing positive qualities.

Generally, when Babaji uses the term ‘regular sadhana’, he is referring to the daily time that one sets aside for a meditation practice, a time each morning that is designated to withdrawing the mind from its preoccupation with the outer world, holding the intention of being still within .

Most of us, when we sit, are not actually practicing meditation. What happens when we first begin to sit is that we notice we are not sitting in stillness; rather we are quieting down enough to notice how out of control our minds are. Our thoughts wander all over the place, bouncing from one subject to another – very disconcerting.

All the limbs of classical Ashtanga Yoga serve as supports in becoming able to sit and still the mind. A daily practice of asana along with mindful breathing can develop flexibility in the body and concentration in the mind. Pranayama (breath control) helps steady the mind, which in turn supports pratyahara, the withdrawing of the mind from its preoccupation with the senses. This leads to the ability to practice dharana (concentration), leading to dhyana (meditation) and eventually samadhi (merging with the Self or source).

For a regular meditation (or at least sitting) practice, it is more useful to sit for a set period of time every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes to begin with, than to sit for an hour one day and none for the next several days. Sitting regularly develops the habit of sitting regularly. The commitment and discipline alone create changes that we may not be aware of, and over time we may begin to notice that we’re calmer, more tolerant, less reactive – maybe not every day, but increasingly over time. In “Silence Speaks” Babaji says, Regular sadhana works inside the body and mind very slowly. One should not be disheartened by apparent lack of progress in sadhana. There is always progress but we can’t feel it, just as when an airplane is high in the sky and going very fast we can’t feel its speed. The progress is felt at takeoff and landing.

From Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, book 1, sutra 14: Persistent practice becomes firmly grounded when it has been practiced for a long, uninterrupted time with earnest devotion.

There is no definition of “long, uninterrupted time”; all we can do is commit to a practice and then do it regularly. As Babaji says in Everyday Peace: Keep the lamp lit, walk on step by step. You can’t go astray, but will merge in the light.


contributed by Sharada