Integrity & Truth
The postures that comprise the steady flow of yoga are intended to guide you closer to a greater awareness of yourself. Each movement is deliberate; each posture and each sequence contain an embedded meaning based on the ancient traditions, practices, and philosophy of yoga.
One tradition which we've discussed previously, is the the Eight Limbs of Yoga. These are guidelines established by Patanjali, an ancient Indian sage most famous for the Yoga Sutras. which elucidate the lessons for a practicing yogi to live a healthy, spiritual life, and eventually move towards liberation.
The second Yama is called Satya which translates as "truthfulness." Perhaps at an early age, we were taught to be truthful, to not tell lies. Satya takes this idea further. The first part of the word, "sat" means "true essence." It reminds us to look deeper at ourselves, others, and the world around us and see the true nature of its existence.
By definition, this is also integrity: moral rightness and honesty that allow us to see the wholeness of all things. Because the world is so complicated and residing in it can feel overwhelming, we often form criticisms and judgments about ourselves and life's circumstances. These form walls and blinders that deter us from seeing the actual truth. It is crucial, therefore, to find the true essence of yourself and all that is around you. Yoga allows us to see things as they really are: the truth. Yoga, through the assistance of the Yamas like Satya, help us remove the veils and obstacles that hinder our true vision of ourselves and the world.
Living a life of truth and integrity begins with being honest with yourself. Dismiss untruths like "I'm not good enough," or "I will never live up to my potential." These are thoughts and inner beliefs that fluctuate through our changing minds often influenced by this complicated world. It can be a challenge sometimes to see the actual truth about ourselves.
Through the practice of yoga, we gain insight into that inner, unchangeable truth that is not bound by story-telling, and simply exist in truth as awareness, as "I am, I exist", as a part of the entire creation. The thoughts of "I AM good enough," "I AM beautiful, "I CAN reach my highest potential” are positive affirmations that can counter negative storytelling, but they are not the whole picture—but they are useful stepping stones, and also are true. We are all of those things.
Another way to practice Satya as a way of countering negative storytelling is to find moments of stillness and silence. In these quiet moments of meditation, remind yourself of your talents, traits, and gifts. Remember to treat yourself with kindness and love. When you are honest with yourself, it becomes an outward expression; you will be more truthful with others. Further, you will practice less judgment and show more care, empathy, and love.