My Introspective Yoga series continues! This week I'm here to tell you about the yama known as satya, or truthfulness. Read last week's post on ahimsa here.
Yoga scholar Ravi Ravindra says "The first requirement of self-knowledge is sincerity. And as we begin to see the various ways we lie, we can understand the need for practicing truthfulness."
I think it's obvious to see why telling the truth is important. But more than just not lying, satya is about finding and embodying your true essence.
There's a lot of layers to shed in order for the truth to be revealed.
For me lately, practicing satya is practicing unlearning.
A lot of "norms" were placed on me growing up, and I'm sure you're familiar with some of them too. When you're a girl, there are certain expectations placed upon you by society. I learned that I had to try to be skinny, that I needed to shave all my body hair off, and that I needed to follow the rules because somebody else (usually a male authority) always knew best, etc.
Thankfully, as I've gotten older and wiser, I've begun to unlearn some of these things. Because my true essence isn't about living this way, it's not about living perfectly under societal rules.
One of my favorite ways to teach my students about satya is to turn it into a mindful activity.
I like to ask my students to tune in with themselves and ask the question "What is true for me in this moment?" and simply observe what comes up.
It's amazing what you can find for yourself when you make being honest a practice. It helps you separate the lies you tell yourself and the pretenses you carry from the truth in your heart.
Right now for me, I know that I feel sad. It's not a I-need-to-be-cheered-up kind of sad, but a grieving kind of sad. I'm grieving my adolescence because I'm entering adulthood more fully each month and each year. And I'm sure I appear to be doing alright but I've got admit, it is hard. I'm uncertain. I'm scared. I'm lonely. But knowing this about myself helps me find acceptance and self-compassion. I'm not beating myself up for not having all the answers, for not being happy all the time.
I know it doesn't sound glamorous or particularly hopeful, but that's introspection and mindfulness. Even though this isn't as pretty as a picture of me doing yoga at the beach, this is a yoga practice too.
So this week, I encourage to look within and ask yourself what's true in order to find your true essence. I have a meditation on finding your truth that you can check out here too.
See you next week for the next yama on asteya or non-stealing :) If I am to be honest, it may be slightly controversial.