Svadhyaya, the 4th niyama, helping us to live better within ourselves. ‘Sva’ means ‘self - belonging to me’ and ‘adhyaya’ means inquiring; examination of something to get close to it. Svadhyaya encourages us to get to know ourselves, what’s taking place within… being interested and curious about the mind’s workings, the thoughts that come in un-abiding, the emotional responses they trigger and how we respond to these. And being kind to ourselves in the process, not judging, being interested and accepting of who and how we are in the world. This self-study leads to a deeper and clearer understanding of ourselves and our purpose in this world. It supports us in finding our true nature and abiding in it. There are countless ways we do this, including through contemplation, reflection, reading, studying, and observing ourselves and our relationships with others and the world around us.
Each week in class we practice svadhyaya as we spend some time in introspection, reflecting on our focus for the week.
Another way to practice svadhyaya in day to day life is by observing your actions or reactions to what people say or do, or what life throws your way.
Our relationships and interactions with others also provide opportunities for us to gain insight into ourselves – we sometimes find the traits which bother us most in others reflect aspects of our lives we need to address. It may be that the person is mirroring a behaviour in yourself, or they are reminding you of a past belief that no longer holds true, allowing you to reflect on whether what held true in the past is reality now. There are many varying ways we can learn by how we interact and respond in the world.
In our practice this week, as always, being aware of what's going on for you - what your body, your mind, and your breath are telling you. Take time to listen.
Reflecting this week - is there a challenging relationship in my life at the moment that may offer an opportunity for me to learn more about myself?
Wishing you a week ahead filled with self-awareness.