As previously mentioned, there are ways to go about the fourth niyama branch, svadhyaya. A great way to think of svadhyaya is as if you’re looking into a mirror of non-distortion. By looking at the self through this non-distorting mirror, we can observe our reality, our moods, and our behaviors. We can take in our environment and consider our circumstances. An assessment of our lives and in which direction we are going in reflects back to us. With this information, we may decide that we’re on the right path. Or, we may conclude that we need to make course corrections to better fulfill our truest self.
During this process, it’s important to cultivate an element of curiosity, courage, non-judgment, and greater awareness. With these traits operating healthily, we can get more intimate with the truth. We’re able to see beneath the surface of our perceptions and how we relate to ourselves and the world.
We can decide if we are serving our highest self through our words and actions. Conversely, we can admit in what ways we could take a better approach. Self-study is an ongoing process. There is no “end-point,” no destination to reach.
“May I never reach the point where I think I am done.” — Meggan Waterson
Self-study can also occur at any time during the day. Whether you’re meditating or holding a yoga asana. Or when you’re doing the dishes, walking your dog, or driving to work. Self-study can be interwoven throughout your day, becoming a ritual that carves out your internal state.
There are also ways to strengthen your self-study practice. This involves the implementation of tried-and-true regimens that have been around for thousands of years. Look no further than the ancient yogic texts for the best, most effective svadhyaya practices.