Satya is the second yama of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga.
Satya means truth.
When I began practicing yoga 14 years ago, I was magnetically drawn to yogic philosophy. In my twenties and lost to what a spiritual practice might look like, finding yoga felt like home. But more than asana and the physical poses, I immersed myself in studying yoga texts so I could begin to understand the depth and breadth of these ancient practices and teachings. I soon discovered there was far more than I could ever grasp in a lifetime – which of course kept me coming back for more.
Since that time, my practice has waxed and waned. It’s been steady and strong at times and nearly non-existant at other times. For whatever reason, the Eight Limbs have never left me, even as my spiritual practice has grown and changed shape over the years. My belief system has also changed, and integrated it seems. I’m thankful for the relationships I have with others who have fostered, mentored and directed me.
So simple and yet so complex. On the surface, it certainly makes sense. We should tell the truth – to ourselves and to others. And yet, how much gray area is there in life – even when we are truly trying to do the right thing? If your mom looks fat in a particular outfit, do you tell her? If a friend has gone off the deep end, how do you approach him or her when they clearly don’t want to hear what you have to say? How often do you soften for the sake of nicety? And speaking philosophically, isn’t it possible that your truth may be completely different from the person sitting next to you?
What of the truths about ourselves? Sometimes we are so close to situations that we just can’t see what others can. Fifth chakra work is about “speaking our truths” yet for various reasons certain people and situations often stop us from doing so. How often do you even allow yourself to look at what’s deep within? What principles or lens do you apply when doing so? Yogic philosophy? A spiritual text? Another person’s words or shared beliefs?
How much of our ego gets in the way of telling the truth? With whom do we share the deepest secrets about ourselves, and how comfortable are we in doing so? If you’ve taken that leap with something you never thought you’d share, how did you feel once it was out?
All of these are questions we can ask ourselves related to the practice of satya.
The only true currency in this bankrupt world is the truth that we share with one another when we are being uncool.
~Line from Almost Famous
Satya is about living our truth; it is that simple.
What will*did*does it take for you to practice satya?