Good Morning, Dear Reader! I hope you’re well.
Last week, I gave you a brief overview of what yoga is, as well as telling you about yamas and the first of the yamas, Ahimsa. This week, we’re going to move onto the second of the yamas, Satya.
Satya is one of my personal favorites. Translated from Sanskrit, Satya means “truthfulness.”
In today’s day and age, it seems that we’re conditioned, at the very least, in the polite white lie. Go into most retail establishments, or even bump into a casual acquaintance, and you’ll often hear the question, “How are you?” The expected and socially acceptable answer is “Fine”, or “Okay.” Answer in any other way, you’ll generally get an eyebrow raise from the person who asked you.
How often do we have plans with a friend, or they ask us to get together, and rather than saying that we’re tired and need time to ourselves, we say “Sure”?
I myself have often put other people’s needs ahead of my own. If someone asks for help or needs support, my knee jerk reaction is to offer my help, whether it’s listening, running errands, airport pick ups, etc., before checking in with myself. If I don’t have it in me to take care of others, my life lesson in Satya is to look at myself closely: Am I tired from work? Am I dealing with my own personal demons? Am I not feeling well? Far too often I’ve found myself emotionally and physically exhausted from taking care of others when I didn’t have it in me to do so. Had I of been honest, had I looked closely at where I was at emotionally and physically, I wouldn’t have drained myself. Just as you can’t pour from an empty cup, you can’t take care of those you love who are depending on you if you’ve drained yourself dry.
In our lives on the mat, how often do we take practice and go harder than we have the energy for? How often are we dishonest in our practice and in our attempts to take the full expression of the posture, do we sacrifice proper form, and lose out on the benefits of the posture itself? How often do we struggle through a sequence when we should be taking child’s pose in an effort to rest?
Ahimsa teaches us non-violence in word, thought and deed; Satya should follow the same guidelines. Life with truth in word, thought and deed. Be honest in how you are, what you have to give to yourself and to others, and practice with integrity.