Truth. It’s a powerful thing right?
Satya, is the second of our five Yamas – the first limb of yoga. Following Ahimsa (non-violence) it can often be used in conjunction with it, the two go hand in hand.
Once again, I’ll take you back to the start on this… ‘Sat’ means true essence or true nature, and if we aren’t honest or true with ourselves, we can’t be honest or true in any other part of life.
Being honest with yourself sounds simple enough, but in reality it’s not very easy, because often emotions take over.
I’ll take you back to grungy teenage Emily for this example: 14 years of age, bit of a goth, huge Limp Bizkit fan, black eyeliner and even blacker lipstick (yep that was me) – I was never allowed out on a school night, those were the rules. I used to fight and fight and fight with my mom (we say mom in Birmingham, not mum FYI), “you’re so unfair, I hate you” – like Kevin from Kevin and Perry style (if you remember that Harry Enfield skit) – I was emotional. Emotionally I felt I was being hard done by.
But if I truly paused, and took a second to look at the facts, I would see that actually it was perfectly reasonable for my mother who had clothed me, fed me, instilled good nature in me, loved me even when I was utterly awful to her, and had gone through tremendous things with her body to birth me, that she was perfectly within her right to set rules like that if she thought that was best for me.
“Truth exists; only lies are invented” – Georges Braque.
Complete honesty with ourselves requires us to create a bit of space from our emotion so we can see things how they really are.
But does this mean we can go around telling everyone what we *really* think of them? Or when your mate says ‘does my bum look big in this?’ you answer ‘yes’? No, we need to remember Ahimsa – non-violence, and find balance between the two (so when next time your mate asks that maybe word it ‘I think the blue one was more flattering…’).
It’s about offering the truth in a non-harmful way – there’s no lies, we’re not covering anything up, we are being honest with the best intention.
And within our practice? Think of Ahimsa, non-violence, when you practice that in a pose are you really being honest with yourself when you ask yourself ‘am I doing too much?’
‘The truth hurts for a little while, but a lie hurts forever’ is the quote I used in class… think of it literally:
This pose is too much, I am pulling out of it, I will temporarily hurt my ego or maybe my pride a bit in class because I want to be better than that, but it hurts and I am being truthful so I will pull away for now… OR this pose is too much but I will stay, and stay and tell myself that’s ok, lie to myself about the pain and now I have an injury because I went too far, an injury that could potentially be a recurring issue for life.
Food for thought.