The Yamas: Satya
By Sydney Humphrey
There are 5 yamas, or yogic restraints that help morally guide our life, and the second of those yamas is satya. Satya could be translated from Sanskrit as “truth” or “truthfulness” and promotes living your truth with integrity and authenticity.
That sentiment is lovely, but perhaps also ambiguous. We love the idea of living our truth, but what does that actually mean? What if we are unsure what that truth is? How on earth can we put this into practice?
That’s what we will be diving into with this piece. Here is the good news: it’s all part of the practice.
Just like the first yama, ahimsa* or “non-violence”, satya is a continuous practice that does not require perfection. Just by being curious, delving into this post, and doing your best to put this principle into practice, you are doing the work.
How you may see this on your mat:
Your physical yoga practice (asana) is a lovely first step to practicing truthfulness, or satya. Your mat can be a special and sacred space that allows you to explore your inner truth in a place that feels safe and familiar.
You practice satya by being honest about your needs throughout a yoga class. Listening to little nudges and cues from your body is a way to practice being honest with yourself about what you need, rather than just going through the motions.
You practice satya by creating space between your inner self and your ego. Being honest about your intentions and needs for your yoga practice and letting that truth, rather than your ego guide your practice (is one more chaturanga vinyasa the truth of what you need, or what your ego wants you to do?).
You practice satya by avoiding comparison throughout your yoga practice. Your truth has absolutely nothing to do with what anyone else is doing on their mat. Allowing yourself to release comparison leaves more room to listen to your inner truth or inner knowing. If it feels safe, it can help to soften or close your eyes frequently throughout practice as a way to practice keeping an inward gaze.
You practice satya by focusing on your breath. Shifting your focus to your breath can be a tangible and more concrete way to quiet the extra chatter of the mind. In this quieter mind, it can be easier for little nuggets of inner truth to rise to the surface of your awareness.
How you may see this off your mat:
Practicing satya off the mat is a beautiful, brave, and vulnerable thing. Depending on where you are in this journey it may feel a little uncomfortable at the beginning. That’s okay. Just like anything else, with practice and time it will begin to get easier– and even when it doesn’t necessarily feel easy, you will feel more confident in following your truth. Start with smaller steps in an area where you feel safe.
Your truest you is beautiful and the world is better off when your true self shows up.
You practice satya by letting go of what others think about you. Releasing your need to impress others or act a certain way that doesn’t feel aligned for you is living in your truth. Of course, this is a gradual process and can feel much easier said than done for some (many) people. Start by noticing when you worry about what others are thinking of you and explore where that worry is coming from (therapy is a great place to process things like this!).
You practice satya by being clear about your needs– with yourself and with others. Be honest with yourself about what you need to do to meet your needs. And be honest with those you are in relationships with (friendly, romantic, business, familial– any important relationship) about what your needs are.
Remember: “Clear is kind.” – Brene Brown
You practice satya by avoiding comparison throughout your daily life. Just like when you are on your mat, your truth has absolutely nothing to do with what anyone else is doing. Allowing yourself to release comparison in all areas leaves more room to listen to your inner truth or inner knowing.
You practice satya by creating time and space to check in with yourself. Journal, meditate, chat out loud with yourself, whatever you need to do. Get to know yourself. Get to know your core values. Get to know what your truth is. Knowing yourself allows you to express yourself truthfully.
You practice satya by speaking up or taking grounded action when something does not align with your truth.
Affirmations connected to Ahimsa:
Affirmations are a beautiful tool to help us speak kindly to ourselves, change thought patterns that we may struggle with, or cultivate a more positive mindset.
Here are a few satya-focused affirmations you can repeat to yourself throughout your practice on your mat:
- I speak my truth with kindness and compassion.
- My inner truth is clear.
- I trust my inner knowing.
- I live in alignment with my core values and beliefs.
- My words and actions reflect my inner truth.
Incorporating affirmations into your life will look different for each person. You can write these down, say them out loud to yourself in the shower, turn them into a hip rap song that you sing to yourself as you make dinner– whatever works for you!
Of course, feel free to reword or modify these affirmations so they feel more aligned and true for you!
Remember: affirmations are reflective of what we are aspiring to be, or our most aligned and radiant version of ourselves– reflecting that inner truth you are striving for. Add these affirmations into your life and really feel into the words,
even especially if they aren’t quite true… yet. Try imagining how you will feel when these affirmations are true. Living as if these affirmations are true. Continuing this work until they are true.
Food for thought:
Use the following journal prompts to help you reflect on Satya and your life.
- Are there aspects of yourself or your life that you may be hiding from or not fully acknowledging? How can you become more truthful with yourself?
- What are some of your core values? Why are these values important to you?
- How do ahimsa, or “non-violence,” and satya, or “truthfulness,” work together? How can you avoid causing harm while being truthful? Have there been times when you were brutally honest and it may have hurt someone?
- What actions can you take to live your inner truth? How can embracing truthfulness help you build the life you dream of?
Resources to look into further:
- Book – The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele
- Meditation – The Chakra Way Podcast- Satya Meditation
AND we would love to see you in class on Saturday, November 11th at 9 am! Sydney will be leading a Mindful Vinyasa flow focused on Satya.