Yoga for Happy Living – Satya
One of our favourite things on the Santosha Level 1 Yoga Teacher Trainings is seeing our yogis minds blown by the amazingness of yoga philosophy! The second Yama in our Yamas and Niyamas series is Satya, which means truthfulness.
Truthfulness involves being honest not only with others but also with ourselves – making sure our thoughts, words and actions are always aligned, and that we are always true to our word.
Satya is not just ‘not lying’, it is also the absence of vanity, exaggeration, conceit, pretension and breaking promises.
As with Ahimsa, before we can be truthful with anyone else we must first be truthful with ourselves.
This can be harder than it seems as our mind and/ or ego are so excellent at tricking us it can be hard to tell what the truth is, even when it is *our* truth.
For example, sometimes we can be in a situation that causes us discomfort or distress but we tell other and ourselves it is “okay” and that we are fine with it, even though if we were really looked inside ourselves we would find that we actually feel the opposite.
Much of this is borne of fear – fear we will lose someone if we really tell them how we feel, fear we will have to make changes we are scared of if we admit we are not happy. We must look beyond these feelings and see the real truths that lie at our very core.
In order to practice Satya we must ask ourselves the hard questions:
‘Is this really my true desire or am I acting out of habit, expectation, fear or ego?’
‘Is this my actual truth, or am I just saying what I think others want to hear?’
‘Am I bringing my own judgements and expectations into how I am speaking about or interpreting a situation?’
Practicing yoga is an excellent chance to use our Satya skills – am I going into this pose because it is the best thing for me to do for me in this moment… or am I doing it because the person next to me is, or because I did it last week (when perhaps you had more energy, or were more flexible)?
Or perhaps you could push yourself a little further but you give in to the temptation to slack off a little and be a bit lazy. Which again, fine if that’s what you need… but be honest!
The other good thing about being honest about your habits and actions is that you are now able to bring yourself back into alignment with your true desires and vision for yourself.
Perhaps you think of yourself as a kind person, but then one day feel impatient with someone, leading you to snap at them or say something cruel. Although it may be easier to bury your head in the sand and insist that you are kind and it was the other person’s fault for irritating you, it is by being honest and owning up to your less than ideal behaviour that you will actually be able to change and fix the mistakes you may make along the way.
Looking truthfully at your own behaviour will allow you to fix any gaps between your intentions and the things you do and say.
Relationships are the best place to practice Satya. Not just the obvious things like not lying, but during instances like the one above, where we can examine and be truthful about our own behaviour, responses and feelings – allowing us to be more open and honest with others.
Honest communication, thought and action form the basis for every healthy relationship. It’s tempting to show an ideal or exaggerated side of ourselves to others, but is it really that fun trying to live up to it?
One final point – telling the truth for its own sake without care for the hurt it may cause others is not Satya. We must practice with the first yama Ahimsa (non-harming) in mind.
People who have a determination to “tell it like it is” without regard to the hurt that may cause others are not acting with kindness in mind. Brutal honesty is not truthfulness.
So always ask yourself if a truth that could cause pain or hurt is really necessary. And if it’s not… practice Ahmisa and keep it to yourself!
Aim to keep Satya in your mind as you go about your week – and observe any changes that come about with the intention to practice truthfulness in mind.
If you want a deeper dive into the ocean of yoga wisdom our Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training course might be just the place for you…
Our Yoga Teacher Training students get the benefit of a dedicated yoga philosophy teacher, bringing these concepts to life and exploring how they can be applied to benefit both you, and your yoga students.
Ready to start your extraordinary Yoga adventure in paradise? Visit our Level 1 RYT-200 Yoga Teacher training page and start the first step on your new path today!