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In yoga there is a term called Svadhyaya (self study). It comes from the text of "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali". It outlines the 8 limbs of yoga. These 8 limbs describe the different aspects of a yoga practice; Yama (moral discipline), Niyama (observances), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (breathing techniques), Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (absorption or meditation), Samadhi (enlightenment or bliss). I know! Did you know there was more to yoga than the physical practice of postures? I could geek out on this forever but I am going to try my best to stay on topic!
Svadhyaya is the fourth of five Niyama (observances). It is the study of the self and the yogic texts. Let's break down the meaning of this Sanskrit word. And one of the Yoga Sutras.
"The word itself is made up of Sva, meaning own, self, or the human soul, and Adhyaya, meaning lesson, lecture, or reading, and can imply the practice of studying scriptures, as well as a practice of studying the Self." -Emma Newlyn, EkhartYoga.com
“Study thy self, discover the divine” -Sutra II.44, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
We study ourselves on our yoga mats. We connect with our bodies, listen to what it has to say to us. Maybe what aches, what feels good, the areas that need more love and attention, and so much more about our physical being. We also study our minds, our emotions, our ego. We discover what lights us up, what challenges us, what we fear. We find peace, we find calm.
When we study of the yogic texts, for example, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali or The Bhagavad Gita and reflect on our own lives and situations we strengthen our connect and faith in that which is bigger than us; call it God, Spirit, Universal Consciousness, (insert your religious figure). Note: There are thousands of these texts but these are some of the most popular here in the west.
Then we can put it all together. The time we spend studying ourselves and noticing how it relates to these ancient text we start to notice our patterns, explore our emotions, examine our ego. We discover that our ego is not our true Self. We get in touch with the actions we take to provide us with positive benefits and support our true Self. And we also can see where our actions cause us harm. When we are aware we can make choices to align ourselves with our true Self, or "yoke", "unite" us with our true Self. This is the Yoga (yoga means to yoke together).
Another way to apply Svadhyaya into your life is by reading other books that help you to self reflect or learn more about the other limbs of yoga. You could also read articles about yoga, or even listen to podcasts that help you to connect with yourself and raise your vibration (my personal favorite). In the spirit of self exploration and study I have been reading and listing to podcasts about Vision Boards and Manifestation.
THE VISION BOARD
For a few years I kept hearing about Vision Boards and had always wanted to make one but excuse after excuse kept me from executing. Whether it was the lack magazines to thumb through or telling myself I didn't know how, it just never happened. Now, I feel like it was Divinely planned that it never got made. I wasn't ready for the deep work that was necessary. I thought I would just find pictures and words of things I wanted and glue them to a poster. I also didn't understand what to do after hanging it up and wishing them into fulfillment. Through the work of Svadhyaya, I discovered what I actually need to do for this Vision Board to be a powerful tool of goal actualization and manifestation.
The deep work was self study and reflection. What was this past year like? What was I proud of? How did I fail? What is it that I really want to feel? How can I make changes to move in the direction I want to go? I read blog posts and articles, listened to podcasts, and came up with a list of questions. I realized with a quick Amazon search I could purchase "magazines" specific to creating a vision board. It was seriously that simple. I learned the steps to make this work, work. And then I announced to the family that I had a New Years activity for all of us!
Yesterday we all did the work. I made a worksheet and helped the kids examine their past year. We celebrated our wins and shared our failures and what we could have done to make them successes. We dreamed big, we set manageable goals and shared why each goal was important to us. Then we all sat down and combed through the "magazines" to find photos to symbolize the goals we set, those that stirred up the most emotion related to those goals. We ended up suggesting photos to each other and a few of us ended up with the same photos on our boards. I shared that we should hang them in places where we would see them each day and be inspired to keep working towards our dreams. It made me so happy that we all got into it, had fun while also taking it seriously.
I am excited to see what transpires over the next year. What goals come to fruition and how others may be reshaped or changed. My hope is that this becomes a New Years tradition in our family. It makes our resolutions more meaningful and our goals within reach. Have you ever made a vision board? Are you inspired to create your own? What to share your New Years goals? Let's support one another and cheer each other on to reaching our goals!
Here is a list of resources I used to write this blog post and make our Vision Boards
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda
This is the translation of this text that I have read personally.
Bhagavad Gita, translated by Stephen Mitchell
I really loved reading this book. Mitchell does a fantastic job of painting the vision of the battlefield. I highly recommend this book and refer to it often.
How to Make a Vision Board for Manifestation in 5 Simple Steps by Mia Fox.
Mia Fox is a bestselling Manifestation Book author and founder of the SelfMadeLadies Community
5 Things to do Before You Make a Vision Board by Cyrene at Thrive Lounge.
Cyrene is human resources professional, vision board profession and learning & development guru. She offers an online Vision Board Starter Kit to host your own party! I used many of her questions in creating my worksheet.
How to Create a Lovely Vision Board & Manifest Your Dreams by Victoria of The Gorgeous Life Blog.
I really loved how this blog post broke down the steps to creating a vision board. And includes how to use your vision board after you've created it.
I recently discovered this podcast through the recommendation of another yoga teacher and energy worker. I have been on a podcast binge ever since. Mystic Michaela and her husband Scott explore the world of aura colors, spirituality and knowing ourselves better. I love seeing the world through her eyes as a fourth generation physic and having the balance of logic and history from her husbands perspective. Their witty banter makes it feel like you're hanging out with friends over a cup of Wawa coffee! I highly recommend this podcast to anyone who is curious about exploring the world of spirituality, physic mediumship, aura colors or generally interested in getting to know your true self through a soul connection.
Link to the Vision Board Worksheet I made. Feel free to use this to make your own vision board.