As a scientist studies a cell, we are asked, in yoga to study the Self. Where to start? What are the tools for assessing our true nature and how can we possibly accurately know ourselves? I ask myself, "Who am I?" Am I this personality? Social? Loyal? My sun sign tells a whole story of who I could be and yet I step outside it . I've stepped outside it. Time and time again I've acted "As If" to play a role to make a goal, to grow my own image of myself. Successfully new elements of my personality emerged. Successfully I became a new me. But if can can change my personality, is my personality me? Who is the real me that can't be altered?
And so I sit. As I sit I let all the layers of personality come out and try to assert themselves and then finding themselves unattended vanish, disappear. I become myself. I study a purer version, less changeable. Still. And I study the bubbles too. I notice and bow to the callings, chatter, the stabs of emotion because they are teachers too. Only now instead of allowing them to take me with them I turn to them in observation and curiosity. Why something moves me from my stillness is information and a starting point for growth.
This self-study seems to have no end and I'm okay with that. Sometimes the thing I come to know, the nugget of truth that comes out of mediation seems so bright I write it down and affirm I'll never forget it and yet it goes. "What was that," I find myself asking myself, "that thing I was always to hold on to?" A new affirming statement arrises just the same. They come and go and come and go.
Ashtanga is also self study. There is no asana practice I have ever come across that will show you yourself like this one, and that is why I know so many people who tell me they are avoiding it till they can avoid it no longer. You can not hide from your stuff in this practice. Same sequence, same teacher, same mat everyday. The only variable is you. All your misalignments will arise. (And I don't mean the physical ones.) Every story you've told yourself about yourself will be tested. In the end the only the truth of who you are will remain. When you are ready, we are here for that. We are here for you.
-- Share your Svadhyaya (Self-Study) thoughts with us on Instagram this month. Tag @landyoganyc and as always, hashtag #alleightlimbs