satya: living your truth
Updated: May 29, 2019
There is no truth except the truth that exists within you.
Everything else is what someone is telling you.”
~ Neale Donald Walsch
What does it mean to "live your truth?"
What if you haven't made the connection to identify and express what your truth is?
How can you then "live into it"?
The very first offering of Patañjali’s eight-fold path of yoga introduces us to the Yamas. These five concepts are reflections of our true nature, guidelines which involve the way we interact with each other and the world at large. They serve to assist us in living meaningful and purposeful lives physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Satya is the second of these five yogic guideposts, an invitation to allow everything we think, say, and do be an expression and outflow of our deepest inner truth. The word “satya” comes from “sat” in Sanskrit, meaning “that which is.” However, Satya holds a much deeper meaning than just telling the truth or not lying. It is so much more than something simply being true or false. It is the unchanged pure essence of who we are. Patañjali states that the actions of one who is perfect in satya will always be productive.
The tummy test
But how do we connect to our inner truth? How can we know that the outpouring of our efforts are rooted in this unseen center of truthfulness? Neale Donald Walsch, author of "Conversations with God," says you give it the "tummy test." When our words, choices, and actions are not in alignment with our truth, it creates an unsettling in the body, an energetic contraction which takes us out of the natural flow of life. It can feel like a knot or uneasiness in the center of the body; thus the "tummy test" is one way to check and see if our field of awareness is including or excluding our inner wisdom. Am I coming from a place of love or fear? Truth or illusion? Spirit or ego?
How can I practice satya on my mat?
Perhaps without even realizing it, anyone who has been exploring their yoga practice for a period of time has experienced the energetic tug-of-war between the ego/mind and the spirit/body wisdom on the mat. There are times when the body may be weakened by an injury or illness, requiring a higher level of self-care, but the ego wants to do more than what is supportive and beneficial. The ego reminisces and opines for the way the asana practice "used to be" or "should be" instead of observing and appreciating where the asana practice is in this present moment. These mental detours cause us to drift away from the rich underpinnings of the practice. Acquiescing to the imaginations and ruminations of the ego cultivates attachment, expectations, and ultimately suffering; whereas honoring the body wisdom and staying focused on a breath-centered practice cultivates freedom, balance, and ultimately a deeper body/mind/spirit connection.
How can I practice satya off my mat?
Being honest and real with both ourselves and others can be challenging. A misplaced desire to help someone else or avoidance of an uncomfortable encounter overrides what best serves our Self. Can you remember the last time you heard your outer voice saying "yes" when your inner voice was saying "no"? Living in alignment with our highest truth is not always the easiest path, especially when you find that your truth differs from the truth of another person; but because truth is not dependent upon nor seeks the approval or affection of anyone else, it has no desire to disprove, to challenge, or to be "right."
And this is the sacred practice of yoga: recognizing that the truest, wisest, and only teacher you will ever need exists within...and then letting everything you think, say, and do be an expression that flows from this highest truth, an outpouring that flows from your deepest love, and a demonstration of who you really are.
Black Cat Yoga is Jacksonville Florida's preeminent yoga studio located in the heart of the Historic Riverside, Avondale, and Five Points Districts. We offer a variety of yoga classes designed to benefit both beginners and long-time practitioners and support all of our students while they are on the path to becoming stronger, healthier, and more balanced. Black Cat Yoga Studio is honored to serve the beautiful City of Jacksonville, Florida, and surrounding areas with group and private yoga classes taught by experienced yoga instructors who offer individualized attention so that you can explore and experience your practice at your pace and in a way that feels good and right to you each and every time you step on your mat.
Lisa and Kevin McCormack
Owners of Black Cat Yoga
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