In last month’s post, I talked about the first of the yamas, Ahimsa, which is practicing kindness (non-violence, non-harming). As I mentioned in that post, the yamas (there are five of them) are all about the things we should avoid doing in order to live our happiest lives. This month, I have been focusing in my classes on the second yama, Satya.
Satya is all about honesty and truth – with our words, thoughts and actions. It stems from the Sanskrit word Sat, which means “that which is”. And of course, just like with Ahimsa, we first need to practice Satya with ourselves so that we can better practice it with others.
As I researched this topic over the last month, a few things stood out that I think are important for you to know:
- Working on the Throat Chakra (Vishuddha) can help when working on being more authentic and honest. The Throat Chakra is responsible for truth, clarity and expression…and its energetic job is to guide us towards authentic self-expression. When the Throat Chakra is in balance, our words are in harmony with our values and actions. When it is out of balance, we may find we are unable to express or communicate our desires and will to others, and we may withdraw from the world or become highly critical of ourselves and others.
Personally, the Throat Chakra is the one that always seems to be out of balance for me. I have so much trouble communicating my desires and needs, many times because I struggle to know exactly what they are. And for me, I respond by becoming highly critical of myself…berating myself for being “wishy-washy” or feeling like I am a fake. Has anyone else ever experienced these symptoms of being out of balance in this way?
In classes this month, we did several things to work on the Throat Chakra. My favorite is the Bee Breath (Bhramari Pranayama). It activates the voice box and engages both speech and hearing (the active and cognitive senses associated with this chakra). It also draws our senses inward, which allows you to better hear your truth. To learn how to do this breath, check out this post. Also, a long time ago, I wrote a post all about the Throat Chakra, so if you’d like more detail on it, check out that post.
- At the beginning of every yoga practice, always take the time to ask yourself what you’re bringing to the mat with you today. How are you feeling in your body and your mind? What emotions are you dealing with? Then set an intention of Satya so your practice can be therapeutic for you. Be honest about your limitations or obstacles, and what your strengths are, so you can find the balance you need at that time and so you don’t injure yourself in some way.
- Throughout your yoga practice, pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you’re feeling fatigued or caring for an injury, for example, don’t allow yourself to go further than you are able to. Give yourself rest when you need it. If you push past your limitations in an unhealthy way, you risk injury down the line.
- Shift from judgment to observation. Instead of filling your head with thoughts like “I’m not good enough” or “I’ll never be able to do _______ “, see the reality for what it is and know that you just need to practice. Don’t let negative thinking cloud your mind and prevent you from living your journey. Whether it’s your yoga practice or your life off the mat, remember that we all started somewhere!
- Remember that what you believe in and what is right for you changes ALL the time, so you need to continually ask yourself “What is true at this moment?” When you look at your life, you might realize that some of the truths you once held dearly about yourself and others is not true at this moment.
- Ask yourself if you’re living your most authentic life. What is your true purpose? What is preventing you from being your most genuine self? As the answers to these questions start to come to the surface, rechart your course and create a plan of action to set yourself on the path to living your best and most authentic life.
- Speak your truth. Don’t bury your thoughts or feelings when they arise. Say to yourself “I have the right to be heard”. If you’re like me, I am always trying to avoid conflict and make everyone else happy, to the extent that I hold back my own thoughts and feelings. I notice that this expresses itself in me physically, like a lump in my throat or feeling like I can’t breathe/swallow. Again, working on the Throat Chakra is what I do when this happens to me. This has been a long journey for me because I’ve been suppressing my true thoughts and feelings for most of my life…it’s a hard thing to work through, but I am continually trying to improve in this area.
There is so much more I could say about Satya, but I’ll leave you with this quote:
“When one is established in truthfulness, actions begin to bear fruit.”Yoga Sutra 2.36
Namaste and Have a Sparkling Day!