Among the very most important texts in Yoga is the Yoga Sutras, written by the sage Patanjali in the 2nd Century, BC. In it, he articulates eight limbs which comprise the “Royal Path” of Yoga. The second limb, or Niyamas, focuses on personal observances.
My last post focused on the second Niyama of Tapas, or self-discipline. Today I invite you to practice the fourth Niyama of Svadhyaya, or self-inquiry.
The opposite of perpetually seeking to escape ourselves through external stimuli and indulging our senses is the journey of finding ourselves, of looking deeply within to discover who we truly are and what our dharma, or true purpose in life, might be. This is a central question for all spiritual practice, and has been a never-ending quest throughout the ages.
Through modern technology, we have become more intimate with distant galaxies and the inner working of the smallest of living cells, yet we have made little headway in exploring the vast frontier of consciousness within us. Through the self-inquiry of Svadhyaya, which includes the study and contemplation of sacred scriptures, we cultivate greater awareness of the soul, see the bigger picture that exists beyond our ego, and move more fully into true awareness and perception.
We invite you to practice the Yoga of Svadhyaya throughout the week in these ways:
- Contemplate who you are beyond body, mind and breath.
- Move past defining yourself through gender, race, occupation, nationality or religious preference.
- Connect with the sacred Spirit that dwells within you and within all that is.
- Read some sacred and inspiring texts, from the Bhagavad-Gita to the Upanishads, the Kabbalah to the Bible, or perhaps the poetry of Rumi or Kabir… whatever resonates with your unique and beautiful heart.