I love the Sanskrit language…what I know of it anyway (which is a very limited, but nonetheless). The words are beautiful, sensual. And as I’ve learned the pronunciation, I have felt a little surge of that beauty every time the opportunity arises in class or discussion to use them. I even enjoy typing eka pada rajakapotasana (king pigeon…how’s that for beautifying).
The next niyama to discuss is SVADHYAYA. This is self-study, self-examination. Svadhyaya investigates; it inquires. This is one of my personal favorites.
A life-long reading and studying aficionado, this niyama had me at hello. I love nothing better than to pile up somewhere with a good book or 7 and read until I can’t hold my head up. As usual, my ego kicked in with a big “Hell yes, I got this!” And again, the universe laughed uproariously. But, I must admit that I find this one is one that is easier to wrap my head around and to earnestly say I do practice willingly and lovingly every day.
Svadhyaya is probably THE ONE niyama I can say this with uncertainty that I do practice every day consciously. (Insert key phrase work in progress here.) You probably can too if you choose to open your awareness to what you do. This is very good news. Any practice you have daily, ANY PRACTICE, falls into this category. Do you read something that inspires you? Do you meditate? Do you have a daily yoga practice? Do you run/swim/ride a bike? All of these examples, and any others you care to add to the list count. Because in all of these practices, we are learning. We are inquiring about ourselves. We are tuned in.
There is the component of study. Study does involve learning, reading, practicing. And really, this is something that may of us already do without realizing it. And if you don’t now, all I can advise is add it in as you can. It does deepen your experience. You may read something today that means nothing. But you never know when it may come back to serve you. Trust me on this one.
So in my ongoing effort to practice, I’m off to the mat for a bit of asana and then hopefully under a tree with one of those good books I was talking about.