Self-knowledge

Definition - What does Self-knowledge mean?

Self-knowledge is usually defined as knowing one's own character, motivations, feelings, etc. In the context of yoga, the term suggests both this self-insight and a deeper knowledge. In yogic philosophy, the Self is the individual soul or inner person while the higher Self is eternal and inseparable from the universe. One of the goals of yoga is union with this higher Self, or paramatman.

In Sanskrit, Self knowledge is referred to as atmabodha, literally meaning “self-awareness” or “knowledge of self.” Atma-Bodha is also the name of an 8th-century text that describes how to attain knowledge of the Self.

Yogapedia explains Self-knowledge

In daily yoga asana practice, or sadhana, self-knowledge is a vital concept. On one level, knowing one's physical, mental and emotional limitations and strengths helps the yogi make his or her practice more effective. On a deeper level, self-knowledge spurs spiritual growth. By observing his body and mind without judgment, the yogi becomes less concerned with the external and more in tune with his internal Self.

At the deepest level, then, self-knowledge is the understanding or awareness that the individual Self is inseparable from the higher Self. This self-knowledge is the means to spiritual liberation and enlightenment. In addition to asanas, yogic practices that aid this journey to self-knowledge and enlightenment include meditation, mantras, mudras and pranayama.

Share this: