Yoga, as described in the yoga sutra, is made up of an eight fold path , each limb is meant to guide us to living a happier, more purposeful life in the now. The first limb of the eight fold path, yama, deals with one’s disciplined integrity in behavior, the ethics of cleaning up one’s act. Yama is social behavior, how you treat others and the world around you. These are moral principles. Sometimes they are called the don’ts or the thou-shalt-nots.
Whether you are practicing yoga or not, being true to ourselves and others is something that most of us aim for. But where do we start and how can yoga help us.
The second yama (restraint) from the yoga sutras is Satya (truth, or not lying). The reason
that Satya is a restraint (not lying) rather than an action (being true), is that we first need to figure out what is true facts and not our own judgment.
For example, telling someone their T-Shirt is ugly is not the way to follow the yamas. First because it goes against the first yama, ahimsa
(nonviolence), and second because as much as it might be true that you think the T-Shirt is ugly it is just your opinion based on what you judge as pretty and ugly.
When being true, the first thing to consider is, is it true or is my vision filtered through judgment. For example, when practicing yoga, we all feel that there are certain poses we should be able to do, and if we fall out of it, we judge ourselves.
Because we have been able to do this pose in the past, we have put it i
n a box of mastered poses. But being true to ourselves and acknowledging that our bodies and the circumstances around it is ever changeable. To say that we did bad for falling out of a pose that we normally can hold is our own judgement and not a fact.
When we can look past our ego telling us what we should be able to do and what is right and wrong, we can start exploring what our bodies are capable of in this moment, and there find the truth.
The second thing to consider is why, will me saying/doing truly benefit the other person or am I doing this to prove or gain something. Sometimes it is more important to be kind than to be right.
To practice truthfulness does not necessarily mean to always say the truth. Usually our emotions react quicker than our thoughts, and as important as intuition is, it is important to know that to learn and understand the whole truth we sometimes need to slow down. Give ourselves some time and space to see the situation clearly and not from a place of stress, fear or greed.
When practicing yoga we usually try to slow down and be more mindful of the breath, because the breath can tell us a lot about the truth. If we find our breath being quick and shallow in a pose we might have pushed too far, so taking a step back, noticing how out bodies feel in this moment would be the next step. This is also easily applied in our everyday life, if we ever find our breath speed up due to stress or fear, take a step back notice why this is happening, is it because you are judging yourself and/or others and were expecting things to go/be different, or is there an actual threat here.
Giving yourself the space to reflect over the situation and your own emotions and thoughts will help guide towards a more peaceful and true lifestyle.
This week we are going to find the strength within us to allow ourselves to explore and to step back. Finding our center and the balance between grounding down, accepting what is, and reaching high, exploring our bodies.