Backbends and heart, neck and chest openers can help us find our voice – our truth – or Satya as we call it in yoga.
Consider this: when you have a rounded back and your chest collapses, it’s a posture of meekness and submission, you are shy, nervous and don’t want to be noticed.
Opening your heart, standing tall and open, ready to receive does the opposite, telegraphing confidence and authority, aiding self expression and communication.
Being true to ourselves on the mat can help us stay true to what we know off the mat.
Are you going too far into the posture? Does it hurt? Are you being honest with yourself when you say you can do it? Or are you putting yourself at risk? Are you practicing Satya (truth) with Ahimsa (non-violence)?
And in life… are you taking too much on? Are you putting yourself under pressure? Are you being honest with yourself and those around you?
Satya is the second yama (moral code) that we learn about in yoga, ‘sat’ translates as ‘true essence’ or ‘true nature’. It’s about honestly listening to your voice – the voice that tells us who we are and what we believe in.
To find our voice, we have to be true to ourselves, but always consider non-violence (Ahimsa) to ourselves and others. For example if your friend had a new dress that you thought was hideous, you wouldn’t say that outright because it might hurt her feelings, in stead you could be truthful and say it’s not something you would choose for yourself but if she likes it – great!
And on the mat we can be truthful in our practice, ensuring that we are not harming ourselves by pretending or convincing ourselves we can go deeper into a posture than we know we can (remember comparison is the thief of joy!) We must listen to our bodies so that we can get the very best our of our practice, to get the very best for our body and mind.
Being honest with ourselves is difficult so in order to build a trusting relationship with our practice, ourselves and others, we need to act with compassion… therefore if you’ve really got nothing nice to say, then it might be better not to say anything at all!