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The 5 Yamas: Satya (Truth)

Seems pretty self explanatory right? The funny (or not so funny) thing about it is, we lie a lot. From white lies to not living our highest truth, we tend to take the path of least resistance, or we let pleasing our senses navigate our way through life. Short-term pleasing of our senses feels satisfying, but long-term it is harmful and causes suffering. It falls into the Raga category of the 5 kleshas (afflictions, or causes of suffering). Let's explore how we can incorporate Satya into our everyday lives.

The benefit to practicing Satya is that it ensures we align our actions with our morals. When we do that, we live in a more harmonious way with ourselves and the world around us. There are many areas of our lives where we can incorporate Satya:

The way you allow others to treat you is a great place to start; think about a time when you’ve felt slighted or treated disrespectfully. Were these moments when your true feelings and boundaries were clearly defined? Maybe they were. Sometimes conflict happens. All we can do is make sure we know what is right for us, say it out loud, and stick to it. Live your truth. Learn to say no if you genuinely don’t want to do something or if you’re spread too thin to take something else on. Saying no when it fits our needs will make us a happier person and be of better quality when we do say yes (I’ll remind you again in NOvember).

Be honest with yourself when you eat. Know exactly where your food came from and make sure all of the steps involved align with your values. Be truthful and recognize any harm that can come to you, another being and the planet, when eating. If the truth goes against your core values, eat something else. This is a part of your life where you have a ton of power. You can make good decisions for yourself and all other beings when we choose the option that aligns with our morals. Most of us do believe it is wrong to abuse and exploit other beings. If you are of that mindset then don’t vote with your money and consume those products. Ask yourself if every step in the process sits right with you. We don’t want to support injustices. And we don’t want to be harmful to ourselves in the process (ahimsa).

Be honest with where you are in your practice. Listen to your body when you are practicing yoga. If something doesn’t feel right or it hurts, be honest about it and back off or find another way. Our body's history is unique. No two people are going to have the same yogic path. Keeping Satya in mind as you practice will allow you to stay current with your truth and adapt your practice accordingly. Being honest about what our truth is and aligning our morals with those truths to every capacity allows us to have a healthier body and will help to greatly improve our asana practice.

Just like when we practice ahimsa, everyone benefits from practicing satya (ourselves, other non-human animals, the planet and in turn everyone on it) from being honest and aligning our actions with our morals. When we speak our truth it's a conductor of positive vibrations. Positive vibrations create a positive spirit (ether). When we are in this positive place we can be a positive person for others to be around. We always want to be truthful when we speak unless it is hurtful (Ahimsa) to someone else.

The great Sufi Poet, Rumi said, “ Before you speak, let your words pass through 3 gates. At the first gate, ask yourself “Is it true?” At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?” At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”

Contemplating satya, just like every other aspect of yoga, is a personal journey where you are the only one who can do the work. The 8 limbs really help us to understand who we are and how we want to spend our time while we are here. Spending time contemplating these concepts is well worth the investment no matter who you are and where you are starting from.

Understand that your truth changes. Change with it to carry the positives forward and live your dharma. Think about how fulfilled you are in your life and make any necessary changes to live in alignment with your morals.

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