“As truthfulness (satya) is acheived, the fruits of actions naturally result according to the will of the yogi.” – Patanjali, yoga sutra 2.36
When I enter practice of a yoga pose that is difficult for me, I try to stay centered in satya, or truthfulness. Instead of judging or praising my progress, I practice honesty with myself about where I am in my journey and what the next right step is. This is not always easy! It requires being very present in the moment, accepting what is rather than how we wish reality to be.
Satya is the second of the five yamas, the moral guidelines, or restraints, that together compose the first of eight “limbs” of yoga – asana, the physical practice, being the third limb. Rather than simply being a code of conduct instructing us practitioners not to lie, (although that’s important, too!), Satya speaks to a deeper honesty with ourselves as well as others. If we need to use a prop to support where we are in our yoga practice, we can practice Satya by utilizing that prop without judgment or comparison of ourselves with other students. In our singing practice, if we are at a point in our relationship with a certain piece of music where we still need to sing only on vowels, or on one neutral vowel, we can practice Satya by restraining our impulse to just sing through the whole piece without that focused attention that is needed in that moment. In other words, when we try to leap ahead of where we truly are, we are choosing to ignore a deeper truth – one that is essential to our growth. We have probably all heard the phrase “start where you are” – by practicing Satya in this way, you are honoring and accepting yourself and your individual journey towards a deeper truth.
This month in your practicing, ask yourself: Am I being truthful with myself? Am I trying to leap ahead to where I wish to be? How can I more fully accept this moment, and where I am in my journey? What is the next right step for me, now?
And as the sutra above implies, there is a natural benefit to the practice of satya: as you become a more adept practitioner of satya and speak (or sing!) your truth to yourself and others, your deeper desires will start to manifest, and your truth with positively inspire those around you!