Definition - What does Svadhyaya mean?

Svadhyaya is a Sanskrit word that is used in Hinduism to signify the study of one's self. The term comes from the Sanskrit roots sva, meaning "self" or "own," and adhyaya, meaning "lesson," "reading" or "lecture." It can also be interpreted as coming from the root dyhai, which means "meditate" or "contemplate." Both interpretations connote a close study of the self.

Practicing yoga is one means of engaging in svadhyaya, as described in "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali."

Yogapedia explains Svadhyaya

Practicing svadhyaya is regarded as a niyama (positive or righteous duty). When studying one's self, it is ultimately possible to discover the greater Consciousness that is present in the whole universe and understand how the individual self fits into that Consciousness.

Meditating while practicing yoga is one way of carrying out svadhyaya. This is often done by repeating a mantra in order to silence thoughts in the mind and turn attention inward rather than outward (pratyahara). Self-study in yoga also means studying the body and understanding its needs and limitations.

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