Exploring Sadhaka & Badhaka Tattva


In Hatha yoga, the sadhaka and badhaka tattva lay out specific sets of rules to advance your yoga practice. Basically, they tell you how to be successful (sadhaka) or how to fail (badhaka) in your yoga path. In Sanskrit, sadhaka means a person who follows a sadhana, which is basically a way of life. Tattva refers to the principles of living a certain way. Badhaka roughly translates to harm. Together, sadhaka and badhaka tattva lay out 6 facilitating and 6 obstructing factors in Hatha Yoga.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika first came on the scene in the 15th century CE, and is considered to be the oldest surviving text on Hatha Yoga. If you think something this old won’t relate to modern life, think again. The book presents a path to prepare the mind and body for Raja yoga, and sadhaka tattva makes an appearance in the first chapter. Although mentioned specifically to Hatha Yoga, the sadhaka tattva principles totally relate to modern life. Let’s explore ways to succeed and to fail, in order to make our yoga practice stronger!

Let’s get the bad, or badhaka out of the way first! These are habits that hurt your yoga. Basically Badhaka= FAIL.

  1. Over eating

This one just makes sense. Overeating can lead to feeling sluggish mentally and physically. As yoga prepares the mind and body, overeating will literally weigh you down.

  1. Over Exertion

Hustle. Go for it. You’ve heard it before, but over exerting yourself can lead to physical injury and mental exhaustion. Focus on balance and give yourself rest, s you can really go for it when the time matters!

  1. Excessive talking

Do you mindlessly chatter to fill space? If the chatter gets out of control, you never have time for silence and reflection. Remember, balance is key.

  1. Adhering to Rules- too much!

Rules exist to organize, protect and direct. Adhering to rules too much can lead to you not thinking with your own mind. Rules are there fore a reason, but should also be questioned.

  1. Excessive public contact

It is great to be social, but like all tings, you need some balance. Spending time with others is great, but spend time with yourself, too!

  1. Fickle mind

A mind that is always changing is distracting, and often doesn’t lead you very far. Help control the stream of thought and try to cultivate focus.


Okay, and now for the sadhaka, or the habits that promote success in yoga.

  1. Enthusiasm

When is enthusiasm not good? Being passionate and excited about something is great. It makes a task fun, and gives you’re a positive, and often more grateful, perspective.

  1. Courage

Starting anything new takes some guts. The ebb and flow of life can also challenge you- stay strong.

  1. Patience

Results do not often happen quickly. It takes good old time and consistency. Stay patient and enjoy the process.

  1. Determination

Life gets in the way sometimes, but you decide to stop or to keep going. Don’t be deterred- be determined!

  1. Faith

Sometimes, you just need to have faith that it will work out. Believing in something you can’t see can be tough, but it can also give you hope.

  1. Avoid hanging out with jerks

Sometimes, we hang with jerks because we think we have to. But here is the thing- you don’t. Investing time in people that don’t deserve your time, or that aren’t very good people, bring you down. Honor yourself and stay away from them!

The badhaka and sadhaka tattva ultimately help you find balance in your mind, body and ultimately your yoga practice. Even if you don’t consider yourself on the yogic path, you may be surprised by how applying them to your life can be beneficial. Where do you need to find more balance?



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