Satya (Sanskrit: सत्य) means truth, reality. It also refers to a virtue in Indian religions, referring to being truthful in one’s thought, speech and action. In Yoga, satya is one of five yamas, restraint from falsehood and distortion of reality in one’s expressions and actions.
When we speak from satya, we speak from a place of contentment. We understand that our thoughts are matter of opinion; that our emotions and our morals are subject to change. As we begin to practice satya, we notice how warped our perception of truth has become, mostly from the growth of our egos. Truth, by its very nature, is absolute. There is only one truth and it does not change. Everything else is just opinion. All of our judgments, our bitterness, and our insecurities are formed from our own opinions or the opinions of others. Knowing you’re human, knowing you’re in control of your life and your emotions, and knowing anything outside of yourself is not yours to claim or hold attachment to; that is establishing the foundation of truth.
Satya Off the Mat
- Start with Yourself. Hear that inner dialogue? Say hi to your ego! Start paying attention to the words running through your mind. Start to decipher if they are opinion or truth. If you’re hearing opinion- pause. Find the truth of that situation, then work from there. Sorting through and controlling your inner dialogue eventually leads to a quieter mind and concise thoughts.
- Meditation and Mindfulness. Spend time in the quiet morning to set an intention that you will remain mindful of satya. At the end of the day, meditate and reflect on your interactions before you crawl into bed.
- Remember Restraint. Notice satya is a yama (restraint), meaning it isn’t about oversharing for the sake of getting your opinion off of your chest. It’s seeing the raw truth, and being strong enough to project truth even if your inner peace is rocked. Are your words helpful, kind, constructive, necessary?
Satya On the Mat
- Listen to Your Body. Does it hurt? Is your body giving up? It’s not a matter of opinion. Know when it’s time to rest or take a modification. Experienced yogis aren’t the ones who force themselves past their edge, the most experienced yogis take child’s pose at their body’s request.
- Stick to Your Journey. Don’t compare yourself to the people around you. I may be more flexible, but you may be stronger. We are all on our own journeys, coming from different places. Be content with your progress.
- Practice Savasana. It’s called corpse pose for a reason, and it pertains to the mind (ego) too! It may not be any easier for us to find stillness after a hot power class; but the trick is to focus on the breath. Feel it enter the nose, swirl through the body, then leave through the nose. When your mind trails, call it back.
Knowing the difference between truth and opinion is tricky, and it takes a lot of thought and time spent focusing inward. You’ve got to get to know yourself- who are you underneath all those opinions? It’s accepting your strengths and weaknesses, but knowing that those aren’t what make you who you are. A comparison that can be made is satya, the truth, is divine. It is the purity and whole of every situation, every person. Opinion, as I said is ever changing- by the minute, hour, day. When we live from satya, we’re able to see clearly what we need before what we want, what is helpful and what is harmful, and when it is our truth to let go.