Svadhyaya: Study of the Self, The Entryway to the Cosmos

By Swami Shraddhananda

Continuing with our series on the eight limbs of yoga, we come to the fourth observance, or niyama, which is svadhyaya, or the study of the self. At first glance, self-study may appear to be self-absorption or selfishness. But with some exploration, we learn how our culture, belief systems and superficial education on how the world works all contribute to a distorted view of the real Self.

To study oneself is to uncover one’s blind spots, ignorance, attachments and aversions. We soon discover that svadhyaya has nothing to do with selfishness and everything to do with the depth of human spiritual reality.