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Svadyaya

By Paige Bradley-Pecoul

WED JAN 20, 2021

“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the Self” ~ Bhagavad Gita

Jai Ma!

My friends,

I want to welcome you into an ongoing conversation we are having in Yoga for LIFE about the yogic art of self study, a practice known as svadyaya. I love the quote above because it describes the process of remembering the Self, which is the aim of svadyaya. It also illuminates that this is a journey, one you can begin at any time by simply becoming curious about your body and mind, your habits and proclivities. As you begin to observe yourself, you will learn many things. Some will be seemingly surface level things, but they lead to deeper discovery.

For example, you may get curious about how much sleep you need, and discover that when you sleep only 6 hours, you are less tolerant and more grumpy with the ones you love (and the ones you don’t), but that when you get 9 hours you feel heavy and lethargic. After some experimenting, you may discover that with 8 hours of sleep you wake up rejuvenated. In that state you feel more easeful in the morning, and you can sit in meditation. As you meditate more consistently, your awareness expands. You start to understand that you are not your thoughts, your moods, or the circumstances of your life. There is a deep reservoir of stillness residing in you that you didn’t have access to before, but now that you do, you lose your temper less often, and your relationships improve as you feel more connected to other people.

In this way, you have gone on a journey, using yourself as the wilderness and the guide, and along the way you discovered your true nature.

To practice svadyaya, get curious! Here are some questions you could explore:

  • How do I feel in the morning when I eat late at night? How do I feel when I eat early?
  • How much sleep/food/exercise/social media is enough/too much for me?
  • In what ways do I sabotage my own health?
  • In what ways do I distract myself rather than being present?
  • Where does my mind go when I get uncomfortable in a conversation? What would happen if I stayed in the discomfort?
  • Who inspires me? Who brings me down?
  • What am I resisting?
  • What is life asking me to learn right now?

You get the idea. Maybe you have another area of inquiry pulling at your attention? What are you curious about?

Happy exploring!

XOXO~P