Not only is this my favourite niyama to say ( think ya-ya sisterhood), but it’s also one I hold closest to my soul (I think….maybe I need more self study). I can be moving through my day, teaching students or sitting in class learning or running from here to there picking up groceries or cleaning or getting supplies for projects due (probably due in a few hours- thats just how I roll), and I hit a point where I say to myself “damn, you need some svadhyaya right now”. Self study, self awareness, self love through understanding my place within the greater picture is something I NEED. I need quiet. I need space. I am not someone who can do it all, all the time and stay balanced. I am not someone who can be verbal all the time. That is my line. I need to take a walk, a nap, a silent moment with incense burning.
I need to know where I fit and why I am.
I remember one time as a teenager, probably 16, after moving to a new town 5 hours away. It was maybe a week after the move, family all around all the time, everyone trying to settle in their own way. I don’t even remember the point of tension or what caused the snap. I only remember saying to my mom ” I. Just. Need. To. Be. Alone.” ( I hope you read that in your meanest, most teen angsty inward voice ever.) Everyone left the house and it was just me and I took a shower and I wrote and there was silence and empty house. I needed to re-calibrate myself, study where I was and who I could be in that sphere. Its hard to figure out and there SOOOO much self study that happens as a teenager anyways (Its why I love teaching them, so lost but so much journey).
My svadhyaya, my self study, my way of knowing myself and the world and how the two bridge together, has always either been through writing or art or small moments in nature or books or yoga. The writing is constant and has been since I was 13. The art comes and goes as needed- there are times it aggravates the pitta part of me and I need to just not. The nature is good from really bridging the gap between self and universe- water moments are the best for me, I’m not sure why. The books are life changing ones, read over and over.
I could see how some would see it as a selfish favourite. However, it all starts with self and without that, I won’t be a very functional human. History has proven that fact. I need to know where I fit, I need to self love, before all the rest. And I suppose all that comes with ahimsa and all the yamas as well… but that could go on forever.
So to everyone- how do you get your svadhyaya on? I feel like most people choose either shaucha or santosha as their favourite niyama…and those are BIG ones in my life too- but that svadhyaya, gets me level every time.