Self Study - Svadhaya
Have you every been a stressed out student? Maybe you are doing your finals right now and feel like your brain is about to explode with all the information you need to remember.
We study our whole lives and in the modern world there is a lot of credit and importance on studying. We go to school as little children, then high school, maybe college, universtity. Then we have to do extra trainings at work, studying the Ikea instructions on how to put your furniture together, learn to drive, learn another language or whatever. As we keep learning we keep growing and this keeps our minds active and alert!
We can also become masters on certain topics and subjects. But what about mastering ourselves?
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” - Aristotle
In Yoga we have Niyamas, which are kind of ethical codes towards ourselves. Svadhaya is one of these Niyamas and means Self Study. We could call this principle 'the journey within' or exploring 'inner space' instead of outer space! How can we apply this to our own physical Yoga practice?
When we practice asanas (the Yoga poses) we are becoming more mindful and aware of ourselves. Instead of checking a heart rate monitor to see how many calories we are burning, we can feel our heart rate as we bring our hands to the centre of our chest in Anjali Mudra (prayer position). Notice how the quality of breath changes as we move through a backbend or bound positions. Notice your thoughts and the feeling of the letting the body relax in Savasana. By simply watching ourselves on the Yoga mat we are studying ourselves, our bodies and our minds. We can look within and realise a great many things that about ourselves. Maybe this will lead to some new ways of feeling and seeing.
We may live in London, New York, Paris or Rome, but we all firstly live in our bodies. There is so much to be learnt and so many wonderful things we can learn about ourselves from on the wonderful internal journey of a Yoga practice!
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