Atma Vichara

Definition - What does Atma Vichara mean?

Atma vichara is a yogic practice that involves analysis or inquiry into the self. The term comes from the Sanskrit, atma, which means the “self” or “soul,” and vichara, meaning “thought,” “deliberation” or “analysis.”

It is a meditative practice that can be thought of as an internal dialogue and involves discovering one's true nature, thereby answering the question, “Who am I?” Atma vichara is one of the main practices of Jnana yoga, or the yoga of knowledge.

Yogapedia explains Atma Vichara

While atma vichara meditation dates back to ancient Hindu texts and was practiced almost exclusively by swamis, 20th century sage, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, revived the practice and popularized it in the West, making it accessible to anyone who was interested in self-exploration.

Through atma vichara, the yogi can achieve self-realization, which can mean knowledge of the true nature of the Self or the realization that the Self and the universe are one. Atma vichara isn't limited to one's earthly identity, but examines the entirety of the individual's existence.

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