Pose of the Month: Svadhyaya by Mary Pat FitzPatrick
Svadhyaya is a Sanskrit term meaning self-study. Sva means the self, or the human soul, and Adhyaya means one’s own reading, or lesson. In the simplest terms, svadhyaya means observing the layers of the self and gradually becoming aware of who is doing the watching. One begins by studying the outer layer, or the physical body and its actions. The next observation is the mind: thoughts, memories, and visualizations. The last observation is the heart and its doings and feelings.
Through these observations, one may become aware of the Real Being without judging it or imposing any meaning on it. The realization of the Real Being is a gradual awareness of Consciousness, or the Self. This process of self-discovery is the essence of svadhyaya.
There is a traditional yoga teaching about svadhyaya that uses the image of the ocean and its waves. Each wave is like an individual being. It is distinguished by many qualities, such as shape and color. But the substance of every wave is the sea itself. Waves and the substances are one and the same. Individual waves are part of the sea. Like the waves of the sea, individual awareness is never separate from the infinite consciousness of which it is made. Just as we might theorize that one day a wave could discover its watery nature, so a human being may discover the deep consciousness that is the substance of individual awareness (Source: Yoga International).
Moreover, each member of the MBS “tribe” is a wave, and Mind Body Solutions is the ocean. We are all part of the collective, as Matthew says. All of us are ingredients in the “cosmic soup.” Our unity is especially evident this month as a wave of yoga studios, yogis, and yoginis from around the world look inward and decide how we may commit to do and share yoga to help others. The Kiss My Asana Yogathon has been an opportunity for observation and self-discovery. Together, we move deeper into the world.