JJ-reading on beach, my fav place to be

My journey within actually began before I started my yoga practice. I was stressed and self medicated, and I was looking for a way to move through life more peacefully.

Without substances of course…

The fourth niyama of Patanjali’s 2nd limb of ashtanga yoga, svdhyaya, self study, is a practice, a deeper look within, that takes time. The movement within can take on a variety of patterns and no one way is wrong.

When I found Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 Day Exercise Plan, I started to have glimpses of peace inside my body. It would be many years before I found some peace of mind.

Many people today and over all of our human existence have wondered why we are here on this planet, at this time, under these circumstances? What it my purpose? Is there life after death? Why does it matter? Self study gives us an opportunity to answer these questions for ourselves. 

“The mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body.” George A. Sheehan

I have had many amazing teachers throughout my life. Some I’ve paid for, some where young, some had four legs…Teachers guide us, yet we still need to do our work.

“People need to know that they have all the tools within themselves. Self-awareness which means awareness of their body, awareness of their mental space, awareness of their relationships-not only with each other, but life and the ecosystem.” Deepak Chopra

Many of us begin on our yoga path with asana. The body is tangible. It follows our commands more readily than our mind does. Some whom begin on the path desire to move deeper. Some move on. Grow or go.

What are some ways to begin a practice in svdhyaya?

  • reading inspirational material-religious, inspired, spiritual
  • mantra, repeating a mantra (my favorite)
  • meditation-focus
  • journaling
  • studying
  • any type of mindfulness practice–staying in the present moment
Some other things to consider as we venture into the self:

We must observe our behavior and our thoughts.
Reflect on what we see. 
Seek counsel when needed–when we cannot see what we need to see.
Change what does not work for us.
Evaluate the change; does it make a difference?
Synthesize all that we learn.
Be the person we were called to be.

One of the tools I’ve used most recently for self discovery is Desire Mapping. If you are interested in learning more or joining me for a retreat, read on.
I’m interested in hearing about your stories of self-study. Yes, they are personal and those are the ones we learn so much from.
#niyamas #svdhyaya #desiremapping