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Written by Dr. Marc Halpern   

Ayurveda Sadhana
Ayurveda Sadhana

Introduction To A Series

Sadhana defines the actions that lead you directly toward your goal. What is your goal? If your goal is enlightenment, your sadhana is comprised of the actions that will lead you there. This is the path of Yoga and the practices are defined within the context of the four paths: jnana, bhakti, karma and raja. If your goal is optimal health, it is Ayurveda that defines the practices that will bring about the fastest transformation of your well-being. Mastery of the practices of Ayurveda and Yoga escort you down the path of spiritual growth and maintain your physical, emotional and spiritual health along the way.

Each practice is a cobblestone on the path. It has often been said that life is about the journey not the destination. Thus, that the wise individual remains conscious and present all along the way. In Truth, there is no goal, there is only the journey. The goal is realized through mastering the journey. This is sadhana.

There are many practices described in Ayurveda. Few people master them all in one life. Each practice that we do master, however, is akin to adding a bead to the necklace of well-being. When the necklace is full we experience our full potential and optimal health. And so we bring our attention to each practice, one at a time, with no urgency to do them all right now. Slow progression, with attention on each detail, assures that we will eventually reach our goal. Even one small change, mastery of just one practice, has profound implications on our life. Mastery of each additional practice ripples outward from the core of our consciousness. It flows outward just as blood flows from the heart and energetically permeates every cell of our body. The heart is in fact, the seat of our consciousness just as sadhana is the seat of our growth.

Where to begin? Should a person start with creating a proper diet or perhaps with the care of the eyes, skin, mouth or ears? There are so many choices it can feel overwhelming. The truth is that it does not matter where you begin. All that matters is that you take your next step forward. Approach it with conscious awareness and it becomes sadhana. Every action of a conscious life is sadhana.


The goal is realized through mastering the journey. This is sadhana.


Regardless of the choice, it will always be challanging to sucessfully impliment a new behavior. Creating change, no matter how positive, challenges the ego. The role of the ego is to pursue pleasure and avoid pain and suffering. Its job is to sustain creation. The practice of sadhana challenges the ego. Sadhana is the path of change and growth that will eventually lead to the transcendance of life. Is it no wonder the ego fights so strongly against positive change? In order to sabotage your efforts to grow as a human being the ego does everything in its power to distract you. It takes over the mind and feeds you thoughts that are not productive. It will reason with you and explain why you do not need to stay with your practices. It might try to convince you that you do not have the time right now to focus on such things. It might engage you in dramas that make you forget you higher purpose. The ego has all kinds of ways to seduce the mind and throw a veil over your growing awareness.

To be sucessful, it is important to be proactive. Knowing the traps the ego will set, a person seeking greater health and spirituality surrounds themselves with reminders of the path and of higher truth. First and foremost is to have a community of individuals in your life committed to the path of harmony and transformation. Gather in groups, explore truth and lift each other up. This is called satsang. A community (sangha) exploring truth (sat). This satsang might be your church or temple group or it might be a collective of individuals who have found each other and are walking the path together. Your sangha reminds you of where you are going when you have forgotten. You can surround yourself with other reminders as well such as spiritual stories, songs and the writings of great teachers. One of the greatest reminders of what is possible is around you all the time – the natural world. Take a moment every day to look out on nature, its wonder, mystery and beauty: Watch a sunset, gaze at the sky or look up into the leaves of a tree.

This column will introduce you to a single practice in each issue that will help you care for your body, mind and spirit through walking the path of sadhana with Dr Marc Halpern. Marc Halpern is the founder and director of the California College of Ayurveda and co-founder of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. He is also a yogi in the lineage of Swami Sivananda and his book, Healing Your Life, is due this fall from Lotus Press. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Look for this column in the July issue of LA YOGA, where Dr Halpern will discuss the sadhana of eating.

 
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