Svadhyaya & the Path of Self Study

The NIYAMAS, the second limb of Yoga in the Eight Limbs of Yoga are the suggestions prescribed for personal observance. Like the yamas, the five niyamas are not exercises or actions to be simply studied. They represent far more than an attitude. They refer to the attitude yogis must adopt towards themselves as they create a code for living soulfully. This blog looks at the Niyama of Self Study (Svadhyaya)

Sva means “self’ adhyaya means “inquiry” or “examination”. Any activity that cultivates self-reflective consciousness can be considered Svadhyaya. As Yoga teachers and students, it is useful to intentionally find self-awareness in all activities and efforts, even to the point of welcoming and accepting where we are at.  Svadhyaya teaches us to be centred and non-reactive to the dualities, to become aware of unwanted and self-destructive tendencies.

To take the time to sit still, become quiet and notice “What are you feeding”? is a great first step along the path of self-study and self-discovery.  Yoga teaches us that we have a choice.  Our energy will flow where our attention goes. Neuroplasticity is telling us the brain can change.  That change starts with where we place our attention.  What we focus on will grow stronger and last for longer – so, therefore, be mindful of what’s on your mind! Make Neuroplasticity work to your advantage in helping you to live the life you would like to live.  Begin to bridge the gap between how you intend to be and the actions you are taking. This is all part of self-study.  On the yoga mat, it may be seeing how you are in the pose, witnessing the states of mind that come up without getting lost in them.  The same applies off the yoga mat.

Enjoy your practice of Svadhyaya “Know Thyself” the famous quote from the great philosopher Socrates ~ one way to begin to think about self-inquiry (insight) is through the Kosha (sheaths) which we delve into in our Yoga Teacher Training and Mindfulness Training.  Stay tuned as we share more about these sheaths/layers of our being in the upcoming blogs and E’news.



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Dan Miliman

Pictured  Dan Millman (Best Selling Author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior and the Journey of Socrates)  The Undercover Yogi  and Tammy Williams during his visit  to Australia 




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