Be your own witness
Yoga Sutras, aphorisme II.44
Svadhyaya is the study of your thoughts, your emotions and your eactions - which come from the ego - to realize that this is not what you really are and to come closer to your soul.
Remove the layers that hide the reality
The human being can be compared to an onion. It is formed of several layers that arise from his experiences and his environment.
These layers forge our beliefs and these beliefs taint reality with one color or another.
They thus form a veil between reality and what we perceive as the reality, between what we think we are and what we really are. They can then become the cause of our doubts, even our malaise.
By applying the principle of svadhyaya, the study of the Self, without judgment or prejudices, we can gradually remove those layers that hide us who we really are.
Become your own witness
The purpose of the study of the Self is therefore to come closer to what is truly without mingling our own affect, as when we are studying a book.
We thus become our own witness with the necessary hindsight not to be disturbed by our own emotions or thoughts that are the fruit of our past experiences, but do not really represent us.
To begin this work of introspection, I suggest to you, when you are in a situation or with a person who creates a discomfort in you, to observe with the most possible distance the emotions or the thoughts that it awakes, rather than to criticize what causes this discomfort.
Do it with sincerity and kindness, without judging these emotions or thoughts. Just observe them.
This work is not always easy, as we often avoid looking at what we consider to be our flaws or weaknesses.
However, remember that your emotions or thoughts are not your Self and that, unfortunately, by trying to hide these facets you are more and more vulnerable to them when they manifest.
In fact, it is more by observing and taking care of those facets that seem a little darker, that you can understand your patterns and detach yourself from them.
Of course, the process can bring out painful emotions that are linked to memories that have shaped your way of seeing reality. However, doing this work will help to reset these old memories and clean them, which will allow you to get closer to your true nature.
By being your own witness, you will discover how you have transformed what surrounds you into your reality. This exercise will undo the influence your belief systems have on you: you will no longer identify with your thoughts and emotions. You will be able to let them come without you clinging and you will gradually lose the mental conditioning that your experiences have created.
You will finally realize that your Self is part of the universe and that you form a whole with it.
How to apply svadhyaya on the mat?
You can observe your breath. Your breath reflects your state of mind. If it is fast and fits in your chest, it is often a sign that you are stressed or pushing too far. It is interesting to ask yourself why.
Another good method of introspection is of course meditation. You can meditate by repeating the "who am I" question as a mantra and let the answers rise up without judging them.
How to apply svadhyaya in your daily life?
Get informed to develop your knowledge of things that you are passionate about.
Observe what you do and ask yourself why you do it and why you do it in such way: recognize your patterns in everyday life.
This practice of Self-study is not obvious. It requires honesty (satya), consistency (tapas), but above all caring (ahisma)!