Definition: Svādhyāya is a compound Sanskrit word composed of ‘svā’ and ‘dhyāya’. Dhyāya means meditating on. The term Svādhyāya also connotes contemplation, meditation, reflection of one’s self, or simply to study one’s own self.
The woman is gazing at her cosmic reflection in the scroll; spiritual scriptures are a mirror of the timeless truth realized by the enlightened sages. The universe within can be seen through our inner eye…to open our third-eye means to perceive through our spiritual nature. To do this, learn to sit like a mountain and observe yourself and nature with a quiet mind.
“As above, so below. As within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.”
— Hermes Trismegistus
2.44 svadhyayat ishta devata samprayogah
From self-study and reflection on sacred words (svadhyaya), one attains contact, communion, or concert with that underlying natural reality or force. — Patanjali
The journey within is the invitation yoga extends to all who arrive at its doors. What you discover is a world vaster and more subtle than you’ve ever imagined: one that interpenetrates, influences, and ultimately reflects your external world.
Svadhyaya is your personal practice of introspection, the practice of looking within to discover who you are and how you’ve created yourself to be. In yoga, this includes studying the teachings of those who’ve realized the deepest truths of life and sonic meditation on the sacred sounds and mantras that encase these mystical realizations.
On this journey, you’ll reconcile the identity you’ve assumed – including its limitations of name, social roles, memories, and even form – with the pure consciousness at the center of your being. As you shed layers of conditioning and develop the capacity to quiet your mind, you will perceive with clarity.
By understanding how the mind works, you can refine your personality and polish the mirror of your heart to reflect the Divine light you discover within. Yielding attachment to limiting beliefs you become expanded with freedom and possibility as you move through life.