Today Jacqui Lewis of The Broad Place – the wise soul I recently had the pleasure of learning Vedic Meditation from two weeks ago – shares her daily practice with us. Sadhana is something very close to my heart, for an air sign would simply float away into the sky without a daily ritual to ground me. I’m nothing without it, and my days turn rather poor when I skip the spiritual and nourishing ones. If you are lucky enough to be in LA, I highly suggest you catch one of Jac's trainings.
J | Sadhana is the sanskrit term for daily practice or ritual. Defined by one of my favourite authors Maya Triwari as 'Sadhana practices encompass all our daily activities, from the simple to the sublime - from cooking a meal to exploring your inner self through meditation. The goal of sadhana is to enable you to recover your natural rhythms and realign your inner life and daily habits with the cycles of the universe. When you begin to live and move with the rhythms of nature, your mind becomes more lucid and more peaceful and your health improves. Your entire life becomes easier'
Why is Sadhana important? To quote Annie Dillard, 'How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern'.
Much study has been achieved, and much thought given to Daily Routine and Practice. Celebrities are always interviewed, and entrepreneurs quizzed as we attempt to unlock the ideal daily practice that will set us up for success. Steve Jobs was said to employ an almost religious approach to routine and productivity and was an avid meditator 'He would pick four or five things that were really important for him to focus on and then just filter out — almost brutally — filter out the rest' says Walter Isaacson. Author Haruki Murakami wakes at 4am each day to work for a solid 6 hours, then exercises diligently, and is in bed by 9pm every night. Such diligence he says is the only way he can maintain physical strength and artistic sensitivity.
To further quote Annie Dillard, she writes of a Danish aristocrat as 'He got up at four and set out on foot to hunt black grouse, wood grouse, woodcock, and snipe. At eleven he met his friends, who had also been out hunting alone all morning. They converged “at one of these babbling brooks,” he wrote. He outlined the rest of his schedule. “Take a quick dip, relax with a schnapps and a sandwich, stretch out, have a smoke, take a nap or just rest, and then sit around and chat until three. Then I hunt some more until sundown, bathe again, put on white tie and tails to keep up appearances, eat a huge dinner, smoke a cigar and sleep like a log until the sun comes up again to redden the eastern sky. This is living…. Could it be more perfect?”
Sounds wonderful. But hardly realistic for us modern householders who for a start don't hold an aristocratic position!
I start my day at 5am and I won't lie to you, it takes determination and passion to get up. I believe it incredibly nourishing to be awake when the sun rises, and so I rise before it, I scrape my tongue, I do some gentle yoga, a few minutes of pranayama (alternate nostril breathing), then I meditate. Then I wander in our beautiful garden to ground myself or I read. Then I check Instagram and emails and make a cup of coffee. These are the things that are non negotiable for my day. I always ensure I eat without reading or checking social media (I find this really hard!), I meditate every afternoon, and nearly every night that I am not teaching we eat together as a family. I consider myself highly productive due to only checking emails twice a day, and I try limit my time on social media. With these things, I feel calm, balanced, inspired and energised. This is an evolving list, depending on where I am in the world, and what’s happening, but the foundations of meditating, and being present and aware are always there.
What do you do that nourishes you each day? What brings out the best in you? What do you wish you did every day but somehow don't find the time to do? Now is the time to introduce just one. Maybe it's waking up 30 minutes earlier in the morning, in order to not rush and take a pushed and panicky feeling into the day. Whatever it is, tackle one thing at a time. In order to bring about new routine, approachability and compassion must be employed, or else we set ourselves up for failure.