This month in my practice I am focusing on the second yama – Satya – honesty and integrity. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras verse 2:36 can be translated as “When truth (satya) becomes one of our firm roots then there is perfect harmony between how we act and the results of our actions”. An alternative translation from The
Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi is “Dedicated to truth and integrity our thoughts, words and actions gain the power to manifest”.
Satya can be defined in three ways – honesty, integrity and truth. Honesty refers to telling the truth, not telling lies. Authenticity is about being true to your own personality, spirit or character, of having the courage to know who we are and to express ourselves freely. Truth is about having the ability to see past the body and personality and experience what lies beneath.
A person living in satya is honest and authentic and knows their truth. They can communicate their truth with kindness, they know they have no reason to lie or to say or do things that go against their nature. In saying that we must also consider the effects of our words on others – Patanjali discussed ahimsa before satya which suggests that truth cannot be practiced without ahimsa. There is a Sufi saying that we can refer to before speaking – “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If you cannot answer yes to all three of these then you need to consider how best to proceed.
I like this description of Satya from “Do Your Om Thing” by Rebecca Pacheco “Satya is about learning our own essential truths, the inarguable, the beautiful and not beautiful pieces of self that exist whether we like it or not.”
Ways to incorporate Satya into your life this month:
On the mat – Heart opening poses like camel and bow work well as do poses like thread the needle which represents honesty by releasing tightness across the shoulders and forearms while opening one side of the chest at a time. Lion’s breath can underline the idea of letting your voice flow. During your practice move with integrity – practice the pose that feels right for your body in this moment, using whatever props necessary to support you. Be honest with yourself about what feels right – whether that be coming out of a pose, trying a different variation (whether it be more or less challenging) or taking a different pose entirely. Remember that to be true to yourself and your practice is to be present and to listen to your body.
Off the mat – Before speaking ask “is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”
Mantra – Sat Nam – I Am Truth