Getting to the pointy end of the Niyama’s, the second limb of 8 limbs of Yoga, we find ourselves at Svadhyaya – self study.
Yoga Sutra 2.44 svadhyayat ishta devata samprayogah
From self-study and reflection on sacred words (svadhyaya), one attains contact, communion, or concert with that underlying natural reality or force.
The study of the self, whether it be through scared texts, contemplating beautiful quotes, or simply sitting with the self and having a look at what is there, is something we must all do at some point if we hope to further ourselves as human beings. If we never look within, if we get all too caught up in passing our lives with the fun distractions around us, there will likely come a moment when it all creeps up on us and we realise we never slayed those inner demons.
All too often we are distracted with the looking out. Always reaching outward for more experiences that will bring reward, whether it be in the form of money, or stuff, or food or even ticking things off our bucket list, this constant urge to go outside of ourselves for happiness will always end in a feeling that something is lacking. This part of Yoga is not so fun. It’s a long way away from mastering funky arm balances that we can take photos of and post on Instagram. It can be quite confronting when you stop and take a look within, often we don’t really like everything we see. But I promise that the further inward you go, the more you search, the more you will see there is light. It is bright and beautiful and will fulfil your every need for comfort on dark days. The greatest comfort comes from what is already within you as it is always there, unchanging, and you can rely on it always.
Svadhyaya can be a difficult part of the Yoga to begin with, but once you have stepped within through whatever means you get there, you will never look back.