Last year at the end of my 300-hr yoga teacher training, our teacher, Katie, went around to each person and gave them a word she felt best described them, during our time together. She gave me the word Svādhyāya.
Svādhyāya is one of the Niyamas in the eight-limbs of Yoga. It is a compound Sanskrit word composed of svā + adhyāya. Adhyāya means “a lesson, lecture, chapter; reading”. Svā means “own, one’s own, self, the human soul”. Therefore, Svādhyāya literally means “one’s own reading, lesson”, in short, it is the practice of self-study.
While contemplating this word I realized that I had been engaged in self-study for over twenty years! It’s the process of being aware of your actions and reactions. It’s the work of trying to understand why you respond to life the way you do without judgement and with compassion. It is a way of uncovering the truth of who you really are when all the layers are removed.
It can be a tumultuous journey. There are things you find you don’t really like about yourself, and then there are things you start to understand and eventually even love. What a novel concept; to love yourself.
This year my resolution is to practice radical acceptance and to start with myself (we cannot give, what we do not have for ourselves!). The idea of radical acceptance is to love yourself unabashedly, perhaps even with reckless abandon. Everything inside and out without making excuses. It includes forgiving yourself every time you make a mistake, learning to be your own best friend and being kind with yourself.
Radical acceptance is about letting go of the person you were in your teens, your twenties, thirties etc., and accepting the person you are now, today.
So, this year make all your resolutions for self-improvement, but do them with kindness, love and radical acceptance. You/we deserve that much!
Happy New Year!