Rita guides you through a most loving and sacred yoga practice. Her gentle nature and lightness allow for the most wonderful unfolding to take place in her class. As a fellow student and teacher I am always appreciative of her gifts and radiant smile she shares with others. ... Aarti Ganesh           Read more...

Swadhyaya ( The study of one’s own self)

Studying one’s own personality through introspection is Swadhyaya. This is the fourth of the five Niyamas in the Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Swa means ‘Self’ and Adhyaya means ‘Study’. Self-study means inquiring into your own nature, the nature of your beliefs & the nature of the world’s spiritual journey. 

It is the journey of self-discovery, self-understanding, self-transcendence, self-awareness & self- change. When we practice Swadhyaya, we begin to dissolve the illusory separation we often feel from our deeper self, from those around us and from our world.


Swadhyaya is about taking time to know ourselves better. It begins with the careful observation of one’s thoughts, feelings & motives. You accomplish this by studying sacred texts & keep teaching to the self through yoga, pranayama & meditation. Through self- study, you can see which thoughts, actions, words & experiences bring you closer to the core your realself. However, I am mentioning three very simple techniques below.


Yoga is a philosophy of life, which is not restricted to just Asanas and Pranayama. It is a path of all-round development of an individual’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. As the Vishnu-Purana states that self- study and yoga are not ultimately two separate things but both arise together from each other. Through Yoga and study, we have a chance to observe how our bodies, breath, mind and emotions have responded. 

For example, when you do a Yoga pose, you follow instructions. You learn as to how to get into the pose and how to align all body parts in tune with gravity. This is just the knowledge and the foundation of the yoga posture. But the power of the practice comes when we add observation or consciousness to the knowledge i.e Swadhyaya. Though consciousness already exists in the body, it needs to be tapped through Swadahaya. Then in each pose, we align the body mindfully in tune with gravity for maximum balance, space and freedom to the spine, inner organs and to the breath. This observation leads to a deeper understanding and a communion with each asana. Same way you can add the quality of curiosity, observation and exploration in each step of your life. 

Whatever you do, do it mindfully & consciously instead of doing it mechanically. Its true that mechanical repetition only dulls but where there is profound attention one never stops seeing deeper and deeper. The next time you step into your Yoga pose or in your daily routine, add Swadahaya into it.


Our breathing not only connects us with the outer world, but it also connects our body, mind, emotions and spirit. Sit quietly with eyes closed and spine erect but supple. Begin to relax more and more into this very simple posture. Simply follow the breath going in and out of one's nose. 

Then follow the actual movement of the air into and out of one's lungs. Observe the body & sense where the breath is taking place in the body. Does it take place in the shoulders, the chest, or the lower abdomen? Do my shoulders go up when I inhale? Does my belly go out or in? Do I feel my breathing in my ribs, my back, my pelvis? As I sense my breathing, do my inhalations and exhalations take place evenly and harmoniously, or do they seem to pull in one direction or another? What tensions do I feel? What does my breathing "sound" like? As I sense the location of my breathing, do I feel peaceful, agitated, angry, joyful, sad, bored or willful? Am I being stubborn or rigid in my thinking? What am I feeling and thinking? In addition, at the more advanced levels of this work with breathing, one can even sense a certain quality of energy that seems to enter with each breath, and one can follow the movement of this energy in one's body. 

The purpose here is simply to observe--not to analyze, judge, or manipulate. Do self study at least 20 minutes at the beginning of each day.


Following are a few questions, you can ask from yourself before going to sleep & write down all the answers honestly in your private diary. Every day make corrections wherever you feel it is required to manage yourself, which will in turn lead you to the path of success.

1. What time do I get up?
2. How much time I spend in the bathroom?
3. How much time I spend on Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation or some other exercise?
4. How much time I devote towards reading of religious scriptures?
5. How many times I lose my temper and for how long?
6. How many time I lied and why? and did I repent on it?
7. What are the qualities and values of life am I looking for and in what way should I cultivate?
8. What all bad habits I have in me and what corrective measures I have been taking?
9. Do I have cordial relations with my colleagues in the office and also with my family members?
10. Did I do any selfless service in the day?
11. Have I given someone any monetary help in the day?
12. Did I have my meal in the evening with my family?
13. Did I pray along with my family members before going to sleep?
14. Did I feel sorry before going to sleep for anything wrong I did during the day?
15. What time did I go to sleep?


Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna'

Aum Shanti

1 comment:

  1. i really like what you have written here in this blog.. ! :)

    i am so glad to ask myself those questions, eventhough i lied and i do bad things.. and when i think of the whole set-questions, i stop. i can now refrain myself better from being "not so good".

    thank you.