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Svadhyaya: Self-Study

I’m currently teaching an 8 week course on the 8 limbs of yoga and last week saw us learning about the Niyamas. One of these is Svadhyaya or ‘Self-study’.

Yoga is not just a physical practice. We are able to practice yoga wherever we are and whatever we’re doing. Self-study is a brilliant example of this and one that I think is so essential to truly embodying one’s Self. I believe that you can overcome so much if you just understand what is going on inside and how you can handle it.

For example, when I used to suffer pretty badly from anxiety I would just get into bed and watch films or knit. (People who received a hat for Christmas 2013 know how true this is!). But now, after two and a half years of practising yoga, and going to numerous courses and training which involved turning inwards and understanding all your demons etc I now find it so much easier to understand what I need to do when the anxiety appears again. Because it always will, no matter how much yoga I practice or meditating I do, mental illnesses come and go and that is completely normal.

It is so essential to understand yourself. The ins and out, the good and bad, the happy and the sad. We’re always so hard on ourselves when actually we just need to learn to take care of ourselves.

Do you know what makes you happy?

Do you know what calms you when you’re feeling anxious/sad/angry etc? Look inside and learn about yourself.

I now know that when my anxiety hits me, I need to get into water. Whether that be immersing myself in the sea (that’s the ideal) but if i’m not by the beach (or it’s winter!) then in the bath or shower. Just to feel that water calms me instantly.

What do you do to relax or calm yourself?