Are you familiar with the yoga sutras? They're considered the fundamental text on the system of yoga, though in it, you won’t find the description of a single posture or
. Instead, you find a guide for living with expanded awareness. The author of the sutras, Patanjali, who has been called “the father of yoga,” and was a physician and philosopher. Although no one is exactly certain when he lived, it’s estimated that it was somewhere between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D.
The first line in the first chapter of the yoga sutras is
"Yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ" w
hich translates as: yoga is the settling down of the fluctuations of the mind.
Patanjali compiled 195 more sutras (a word which means aphorism, with the same root as suture!) which are considered to be the essential components of a path called
, the royal path to union. In Raja yoga, there are 8 limbs, and one of the limbs is called the Yamas. Yamas are the attitudes we have when interacting with others. There are five of them. The one I want to share today is
is the practice of being committed to truthfulness. It's an idea that suggests that honest communication is the bedrock of any healthy relationship, workplace, community, or government.
When applying Satya to your own life, be gentle with yourself and others and be careful not to be too literal. It
means speaking the truth, not misleading anyone, and considering how what we say, or don't say, may affect others.
Truthfulness and integrity arise naturally. When you practice satya, you are saying what you mean and meaning what you say. You speak without exaggeration, and also distinguish your observations from your interpretations. You choose to align your thoughts, words, and actions. And this brings you a life of peace, purity, and freedom.
On has to consider whether what they say is kind, true or necessary. Speaking the truth for truth’s sake, for example, is not more important than maintaining a kind, nonviolent attitude and demeanor. If your truth is simply to reveal something painful but will have no social benefit, it may in fact not be the true practice of Satya to express it.
Lying, at the core, is motivated by fear. Practicing satya can help you to realize that the short-term benefits of distorting the truth are outweighed by the discomfort that arises from betraying your integrity.
Most of us know our truth deep within. And though many of us might not listen to our inner knowing, or want to override it because we are being polite (or delusional), I aim not to. So, let's commit to practicing satya in each and every moment.