Svadyaya – The importance of self study in Yoga

Yoga and Meditation Philosophy in Teesside

At AMALAwellness, especially in our Yoga and Meditation classes, we often encourage our students to practice ‘Svadyaya’ which is self study. Studying by independent learning of texts, books, resources and self enquiry through the physical practice of Yoga and Meditation.

down angle photography of red clouds and blue sky

Attending class is a wonderful thing, spending time with well learned and practiced teachers brings a myriad of wealth and knowledge to our physical and mental practices. However, if we wish to delve deeper, engrave it into our lives we need to practice ‘Svadyaya’.

There is self study, through study of available resources, then there is self study- the study of the self through physical and mental practice.

– What is Svadyaya? –

Svadyaya is a Sanskrit word and is the fourth Niyama, stemming from The Yamas and Niyamas (Moral and ethical codes Yoga practitioner’s should live by). The Yamas and Niyamas are one of the 8 limbs of Yoga.

Breaking down the word:

Sva – Self, own, human soul.
Adhyaya – Reading, studying, lesson, lecture / study of the self.

– Putting Svadyaya in to practice –

☮ Study of the self

“Study thyself, discover the divine”

Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 2.44

By studying ‘the self’ we start to recognize our thought processes and habits. Ones which cause suffering and ones which bring us peace, joy and happiness. When we realise these patterns within ourselves, we can make positive changes to help us lead the lives we want to live. When we study the self through Pranayana, Yogic Breathing (gentle breathwork) and meditation, we start to become the witness to the mind. We begin to realise that who we really are is not really related to what we think or do. There is a world beyond thought, we start to tap into this and our mind-set changes. We begin to soothe the nervous system, calm the mind and open up to a higher awareness.

Practicing mindfulness daily and incorporating it in to your life also helps with this. Practice keeping a relaxed environment and life, creating peace in surroundings.

☮ Study of texts

Studying anything relating to your own spiritual practice will be of great benefit. Especially those relating to the self. Many people enjoy reading Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now‘ as a starting point, moving onto ‘A New Earth‘. These books are great for beginners and not dogmatic, but actually take a balanced view and approach across a range of scriptures, from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Zen.

For those more interested in specifically Yoga Philosophy, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translated by Sri Swami Satchitananda and The Bhagavad Gita by Eknath Easwaran are great places to start. However, the Sanskrit can catch people out. However, it is a great tool to start learning some Sanskrit words and their meanings.

There are many great books, by doing your own studies and following your own paths, you will find authors aligning with you.

Find what works for you, create consistency and enjoy your self-study time.

– Reading –

person reading book and holding coffee

There are many benefits to reading, it is scientifically proven to help us retain information, relay facts and figures as well as having a profound effect on our mental health. (reducing stress, anxiety and depression). It can become an enjoyable hobby, deepening your practice of Yoga on and off the mat and helping you to create that Yogic world and environment.

– Meditation and Mindfulness –

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”

Zen Proverb

Make sure to take time to meditate, practice being mindful and have that time to study the self.

A chance to deepen your practice Monthly, on Zoom.

man practicing meditation on sports mat

I offer monthly free meditation and relaxation sessions on Zoom. 7:00-7:40pm, 1st Sunday of every month.

To participate, click here. Please register with us before, by emailing as anyone we do not know of will be taken out of the session for safety reasons.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Did you find this post useful? Let us know in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you.

Aimee ☮ Team AMALA.

4 thoughts on “Svadyaya – The importance of self study in Yoga

  1. I did not realize there was a term for it in Sanskrit, but now that I think of it, it totally makes sense. Svadhyaya is so very essential and I love how you have broken it down to help us go through the process of studying ourselves..

  2. Very interesting! i always fascinated how yoga manages to tie physical and mental in one place, tangling it togeather. I think that is the reason I am so attracted to it.
    Thank you for free zoom meditation as well. I think it is a wonderful option and I definitely should take up on it.

  3. Yoga is such a great thing to practice. I learned self-awareness and meditation while doing it. Relaxation and meditation sessions through zoom nowadays are getting more and more common. Its a good habit to build.

  4. Didn’t know the meaning of the word or hadn’t heard about it. Self-awareness is very important, indeed

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