Swadhyaya is a strong force which, when practiced continually, can be a profound yogic process which enables inner realisation and purity of “self”. Swadhyaya can broadly be defined as “self-study” and refers to both the study of books (although some would argue this is a minimal, if present, aspect of swadhyaya) and our inner self. The goal of swadhyaya is to reveal one’s own true nature, and truly connect with the universe. If this is achieved, we become truly aligned with the universe and the Source.
Through self study (swadhyaya) knowledge of our true self is disclosed completing the yoga that reveals our true sacred nature (innate divinity or ishta devata which resides in all beings).Patanjali – Yoga Sutras
In modern ashrams, a large proportion of time is dedicated to self study or the study of inspiring teachings of sages and swamis. It is believed that focusing on this particular limb helps to ground modern humans, who are so often disconnected from their authentic selves.
Practice of asanas can also be considered self-study, or at least the first step on this journey, helping us to see how our physical body reacts and feels, and enabling us to then go deeper during meditation and pranayama practices. All of these practices require attention and focus, which is a form of self-discipline and self-awareness. Meditation easily becomes a daily chance to focus on our inner self and look at how our mind is working, and escaping the daily distractions around us.
How to practice:
- Recitation of mantras
- Study of sacred scriptures