The Yama 'Satya' - Truthfulness
In my yoga practice, I make sure I am practicing “all” the aspects of yoga, not just the physical asanas. Asanas are the third limb in the classical eight limbs of yoga. Although my physical practice has excelled tremendously since yoga found me, I still try to focus on the first two limbs, Yamas & Niyamas. These are the social and personal conduct we hold in our lives.
The second Yama is Satya (sut-ya) or truthfulness. This is far beyond not telling lies. Satya settles in the very core, the very essence of who we are as human beings. Before we can be truthful with anyone else, we must be honest and truthful with ourselves. This is definitely under the “hard to do” list.
To be truthful with yourself you must set aside the ego mind that works so diligently to control your thoughts and actions. How many times have you believed yourself when you said, “I HAVE to do headstand or I’m not really doing yoga”, only to fall out of it time and again (Be truthful!). It’s not wrong to want to try and expand your practice and visit your edge time and again. You have to in order to grow. However, how you talk to yourself about the reason why is what Satya is all about.
If you’re not feeling well, don’t tell yourself you still need to do a regular, aggressive practice. If you know you have too many things on your plate to do today, don’t tell yourself you can do one more. If you didn’t get the answers you were looking for, don’t trick yourself into believing it doesn’t matter. All of these examples are forms of not practicing Satya.
The most wonderful gift you can give yourself is the truth. As your yoga practice continues, the growth and change will happen because you have the awareness to be honest with the decisions you make whether it’s more challenging postures, changing your eating habits, doing community work or just how you interact with those around you. Self test: As yourself, “When I practice, am I open to what my body/mind/spirit needs or do I just go through my typical hard/relaxing/meditative practice because it’s quick/easy/comfortable”. Let your practice be adaptive and expressive to what you need. Practice Satya throughout your practice on and off the mat.
I have learned through constant focus of Satya that I am a happier person, a more balanced person, a doer of good deeds person, a helpful, considerate and compassionate person. I have also learned that I am a moody person, a sometimes controlling person, a strict person and sometimes a sad person. It’s all good, it’s all honest, and it’s all Satya.