What is amazing about our body is that our body communicates with us, by sending us specific signals. Unfortunately, most of the time we tend to ignore them or pay minimal attention to them. Gradually we take these disharmonies as normal rather than as signals to slow down and correct our ways. The result is lack of flexibility, stiffness and pain. I was curious to know that how does one get to know that we are receiving these messages from our body? I continued my reading to find out the answer for my question. And then this is what I found which I would like to share with you:

When we talk about YOGA, the first thing that comes in our mind is Postures, which is the third limb of Ashtanga YOGA (Traditional/Classical YOGA, as they call). Whereas Yama (Restraints) and Niyama (Observances) which are the first two limbs (steps) of Ashtanga YOGA, are the Don’ts & Do’s, respectively of YOGA. Unlike Asanas(postures), if someone says, ‘presently, I am practicing Yama & Niyama; one may not be able to understand what the person is actually practicing. Then how does one understand these fundamental steps of YOGA?

To begin with, lets understand the fourth Niyama: “Swadhyaya” (Sanskrit term, which means (Swa=self and Adhyaya=study) – ‘Self Study’ or study one’s own self! Our lack of knowledge about our self is a major block in our growth. There is a lot more to oneself, than what one sees or feels at the surface level. In the West, the study of one’s self is psycho analysis, analysis of our thoughts, feelings and associations. On the other hand, ‘Swadhyaya’ is being aware about one’s own body and mind at physical as well as mental level without analyzing it.

We can say that ‘Swadhyaya’ is nothing but the REFLECTION on our own behavior, through which we understand our body and mind. This can be an excellent tool to improve communication between them, and then of course we can always remain alert to read these specific signals. And eventually can help to avoid pain, stiffness. One thing we must keep in mind though while practicing, that this Niyama is not finding faults with one self, but understanding why do we have these faults.

To see our external selves, all we have to do is to look in the mirror. But how do we see our inner selves? Yes, through ‘REFLECTION’ technique. They say that YOGA is an experiential science, and one can experience the benefits of YOGA by practicing them. So enjoy practicing, and get connected to yourself!

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