Yoga 101: Satya – Truthfulness


This entry was posted on Jun 13, 2023 by Charlotte Bell.

Satya is the second of yoga’s yamas (ethical precepts) in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. Satya challenges us to apply impeccable honesty in our ideas, phrases and deeds. The Buddha positioned truthfulness on the basis of his 5 precepts (non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, sensible use of sexuality, and refraining from intoxicants that cloud the thoughts). Truthfulness can also be a step alongside the Eightfold Path.

I’ll begin this put up with a disclosure. I’ve been laying aside writing about satya (truthfulness) for a number of years. It’s not as a result of I don’t suppose it’s an essential topic. It’s often because I really feel that it’s critically essential and I need to ensure I characterize it with the gravity and respect it deserves, inside the bounds of a shortish weblog put up. Practising satya appears to be extra essential than ever in as of late of widespread disinformation—and the best way it has harmed our nationwide dialog. On this put up, I’ll talk about satya as each an intention and as a apply.

Satya is the second of yoga’s yamas (ethical precepts) in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. Satya challenges us to apply impeccable honesty in our ideas, phrases and deeds. The Buddha positioned truthfulness on the basis of his 5 precepts (non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, sensible use of sexuality, and refraining from intoxicants that cloud the thoughts). Truthfulness can also be a step alongside the Eightfold Path.

Truthfulness as a Basis

Once I was a youngster, there have been three industrial TV stations, and one public station. Everybody obtained their information and data from these stations and from our each day newspapers. Journalistic requirements required the usage of a number of sources and a number of layers of truth checking. Within the age of the web free-for-all, whereas journalistic requirements nonetheless apply to most main media retailers, the dividing line between journalism and opinion has turn into fairly hazy.

Many individuals are usually not educated to know learn how to discern between fact and opinion, or between fact and fiction. This has resulted in media customers retreating into their corners, complicated opinion with truth, and selling unfounded conspiracy theories that demonize the “different.” We not share a typical basis of agreed-upon fact.

Like several construction, a relationship’s power depends on the integrity of its basis. I concern that as a tradition, we’ve misplaced this basis. The end result has been a chaos of divisiveness and demonization.

This will occur in interpersonal relationships as properly. Our private relationships generally is a laboratory for practising impeccable truthfulness. Most significantly, this contains our relationship with ourselves.

Shades of Satya

Practising satya in our lives isn’t as simple as it’d sound. The apply, in fact, contains refraining from apparent untruthfulness, comparable to making up tales out of complete fabric. Satya additionally contains not committing lies of omission, fact shading or exaggeration. There are occasions after we might shade the reality or omit pertinent particulars as a way to elevate our picture or to guard us from judgment. Everybody I do know, together with myself, has experimented with shading the reality in a technique or one other. We want not decide ourselves for these lapses. In some methods, they’re a part of studying learn how to be extra truthful.

Practising truthfulness simplifies our lives and results in higher equanimity. Mark Twain mentioned, “For those who inform the reality, you don’t have to recollect something.” Have you ever ever advised a lie after which needed to make up a bunch of different tales to assist it? After which, it’s important to keep in mind what you advised which particular person? Telling lies or shading the reality complicates our lives. It typically results in our being caught for telling tales, which, in flip erodes others’ belief in us. It’s a lot, a lot easier to only inform the reality.

Lapses in satya might be delicate, and even unintentional. It’s because we don’t all the time acknowledge the filters of notion that we layer over the reality. We might stand by a selected opinion piece just because it bolsters our views. Or within the case of an early romance, we might ignore an unflattering fact just because we don’t need to see it. We might imagine we’re seeing a state of affairs clearly, however actually, the perceptions we use to outline ourselves and our world could also be performing as filters.

Satya and Mindfulness Observe

That is the place mindfulness is available in. Mindfulness apply offers us the abilities to see by way of our filters—our deeply held beliefs and perceptions. Observing the habits of our personal minds helps us determine our psychological patterns and preferences. After we perceive what filters are preserving us from seeing a state of affairs clearly, we will start to see by way of them. This helps us make wiser decisions.

This work might be humbling. It might shatter our concepts of who we’re. Generally the patterns we’ve chosen to nourish are usually not flattering. However it’s all the time worthwhile to uncover them. First, seeing the place we’re vulnerable to falter helps us generate empathy for the failings of others. Second, if we need to reside a lifetime of integrity, we’ve to grasp the mechanisms that hold us from clear seeing. Residing a lifetime of integrity and truthfulness results in higher ease.

Observe Satya on the Yoga Mat

We will use our yoga apply and educating as a laboratory for exploring satya. Listed here are just a few ideas:

  • Do you end up pushing past your physique’s limits once you’re in a category out of concern that your regular poses are usually not “good” sufficient? Do you keep away from utilizing yoga props comparable to Yoga Blocks or Yoga Straps at school once you is likely to be inclined to make use of them at house? If that’s the case, discover your motivation, and tune into no matter psychological state is likely to be accompanying it. For instance, is nervousness, competitiveness or envy current? These psychological states can operate as filters. How wouldn’t it be to apply the yoga that’s truest in your physique on this second, moderately than making an attempt to satisfy some expectation of what a “excellent” pose seems like?
  • As a instructor, honesty with our college students is essential. This implies admitting you don’t know the reply to a query if you happen to really don’t comprehend it. In fact, you’ll be able to analysis the scholar’s query and report again later if you happen to’ve provide you with a solution. You may also discover the query alongside together with your scholar by asking them pertinent questions on why they’re asking, what they’re feeling, and so forth. Even after 40-plus years of apply, I’m properly conscious that I do know solely a fraction of what there may be to learn about yoga. Admitting that you simply don’t know is a chance to be taught extra.

Satya Is a Lifelong Observe

As with all apply, we might falter in our dedication to satya occasionally. Discover once you really feel tempted to shade the reality. And provides your self a pat on the again once you chorus from doing it. As you apply and turn into extra expert at realizing and talking the reality, you’ll uncover extra delicate manifestations of it. Generally, you might have to chorus from talking till for certain what your fact is—with out filters. That is all a part of the method, one that can enrich your relationships and result in a lifetime of simplicity and ease.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and started educating in 1986. Charlotte is the writer of Conscious Yoga, Conscious Life: A Information for On a regular basis Observe and Yoga for Meditators, each revealed by Rodmell Press. Her third ebook is titled Hip-Wholesome Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Information to Defending the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Ache (Shambhala Publications). She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Journal and serves as editor for Yoga U On-line. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and folks sextet Pink Rock Rondo, whose DVD received two Emmy awards in 2010.