Picture the scene…your friend rocks up to Starbucks sporting possibly THE most hideous outfit you have ever seen. Not only does it cling for dear life to all the wrong places, it looks suspiciously like something the cat might bring home.
When asked what you think of said ensemble, do you say…
a. “This is possibly the ugliest thing I have ever seen you in and it does nothing for your muffin tops.”
b. “It’s GORGEOUS!”
c. “To be honest, I am not sure the style really suits you. Do you still have the receipt?”
While answer A may be the whole truth and answer B a total lie, answer C may be the closest thing to yoga’s notion of the truth. In my last blog we embarked on Pantajali’s list of yamas. The second one of those little moral codes is satya – truthfulness.
Pantajali’s concept of satya asks us to choose our words carefully so that they do the least harm and the most good. While this might seem like twisting the truth a little, it aims to make us think about what we say and the impact our words might have, before we say it. Kind of like engaging brain before putting our mouths in action!
So what about satya on our mats? How can we bring this quality of truth into our yoga practice? It starts with being truthful with ourselves. Begin by setting the intention to let go of any notion of having to perform or compare ourselves to others. Accept our limitations as well as embracing our strengths. In a nutshell, simply be with whatever we are today, whether it is tired, stiff, energetic or angry!
We can also practice satya by changing the way we talk to ourselves on our mats. Instead of saying, “For $%£* sake! I can’t do this pose!!”….why not flip it around. Try saying, “I am having a bit of difficulty with this pose today.” It does not mean we will never get there! That way we are still being truthful without breaking ourselves down in the process!
satya pratisthayam kriya phala ashrayatvam
For one who increasingly practices honesty or truthfulness in actions, speech, and thoughts, his or her will is naturally fulfilled.
2.36: Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras