Svadhyaya, the fourth Niyama, meaning ‘self-study’. When reading yogic text you will find there is a difference between ‘self’ and ‘Self’. The self is the false self, whereas the Self is the higher self. In Svadhyaya we practice studying the false self, meaning our physical form, our ego, attachments and identity.
By studying the self we become more aware of our behaviour as it creates a separation between the body- and mind and the Self as the awareness, breaking the illusion that we are the body and mind.
Svadhyaya can be practiced by simply observing your thoughts without engaging in them, or it could be to observe your body as you move from asana to asana, or by questioning your intention behind your behaviour. It could be to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and be curious about how it affect you. You may take a look at your habits and patterns and challenge them.
It is easier to see what we are not, than to see what we are. You may look at Svadhyaya as a practice of eliminating illusions.