Who Are You?- Svadhyaya
How well do you think you know yourself? Svadhyaya is about self-study and taking on the yoga mindset of "witnessing", noticing all your tendencies and of course old beliefs that were fed to you as a child. It's those beliefs and labels that we sometimes identify ourselves with. Maybe you were labeled the smart child or the lazy one. How about your tendencies, what do they say about you? Those stories and beliefs create your reality.
Svadhyaya teaches us that we are not the ego, but that we are ALL divine beings. See, through yoga you are taught to become still, being on a mission to fall in love with all the parts of you and realizing that beneath it all is this brilliant light that only shines forth when you separate yourself from the ego.
That divine light is your true self. It's not that yoga is about making you something that you aren't, it's about stripping away all those things that made you forget how special you really are, and have always been. We sometimes get lost along the way. So, make the time to learn to let go of all those negative things that dull your light. Making friends with your old beliefs, your tendencies, and whatever else you were fed. You are divine.
Through meditation, reading sacred scripture and practicing "taking on a witness mind" we can begin to make our way back to the true self. This quote from a book I'm reading really helps to explain how to practice svadhyaya.
"Yogiraj Achala tells the story about taking his young son to the Mississippi River. The son, looking into the river, asked his dad if the river was polluted. Yogirag responded that no, the river is only carrying the pollution, the river itself is pure. Our minds are like the river carrying things in it. If we identify with what the mind is carrying-thoughts, stories, beliefs-then we will think we are those things. However, if we identify with the Divine within us (the pure river) and merely watch the thoughts float by, we will know we are simply carrying the thoughts, stories and beliefs; they are not who we are." ~Deborah Adele The Yamas & Niyamas