Fitness Magazine

My Satya (Truthfulness) Practice

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Baxter

My Satya (Truthfulness) Practice

Mountain in the Mist by Melina Meza

A year or so ago, I wrote about a personal realization I had around the concept of satya (truthfulness), which appears on our upcoming book Yoga for Healthy Aging: A Guide to Lifelong Well-Being in our chapter on yoga philosophy. Here's the quote from the book:
Lately, Baxter has been focused on cultivating truthfulness in his life. Recently, he was forced to face some hard truths that he’d been hiding even from himself. He finally realized that being overbooked and super busy as a yoga teacher led him to make bad choices that affected him and others close to him in negative ways. He also recognized that despite having told himself that he is not very competitive or motivated by “success,” the truth is that he spends energy striving to be “number one” (or at least in the top one hundred) and that this striving was causing him to think and act in ways that were selfish, unhealthy, and limiting. Now he says: 
"Starting to see the truth in these areas of my life has opened a door for me to make changes to live with greater satya (truthfulness), although the path is often hard and slow. I am now trying to slow my work pace down and set more realistic goals for work where success is defined by deeper personal satisfaction, working with a therapist on improving my emotional openness, and developing new tools for checking in with the truthfulness of my thoughts, statements, and actions and aligning with my higher goals of being of service as a teacher and healer. I am hopeful that these practices will bring me closer and closer to the truth of my life.” 
Time has passed and part of my regular practice has been to continue to stay mindful of this concept in my daily life, especially as it relates to ahimsa (non-violence). You see, it becomes more and more obvious with the passing of time and close observation that the less honest I am with myself and others, the more likely I am to cause suffering to everyone involved. In the past, my dishonesty with others took the form of telling both white and bold-faced lies, which were intended to allow me to avoid conflict and get what I thought I wanted, but this dishonesty resulted in the loss of trust and friendships that I valued a great deal. Conversely, the more I now try to be guided by satya, the clearer I am and the simpler life seems to get. 
The excessive busyness I became acutely aware of last year has gradually given way to a much more manageable level by my continually asking myself honestly about new opportunities that present themselves to me, and by letting go of some old responsibilities to create more space in my life. This has allowed me to be much more dedicated to my yoga practice as a stress management tool, especially when the stress heats up as it inevitably does. And I have found that it really is so important to have actual free time in your schedule on a regular basis to address self-care and to have time to meditate, for example, and get quiet enough to more accurately assess what is happening in life and getting it to align with my higher goals
One of the main ways I got myself into trouble in the past was that I used to say yes to everything. I have gotten better this past year at saying no (in a non-violent way) more often to professional offers, despite what boon some new project might bring to my professional status. I also realized that I was saying yes in attempt to please people without pausing to check in and see if this “yes” is what I really needed or wanted to do. Now, I am more likely to say, “Let me think about it and get back to you shortly” to give myself the time I need to clearly assess the best path. I also have become much vigilant about those times I may be inclined to lie, and if I fail to stop it from happening, I attempt to make amends as quickly as I can. 
There is a Buddhist way of thinking about satya that I am fond of: that through our practice we are “inclining ourselves towards more truthfulness,” acknowledging that it is an ongoing process. So it is for me, and I don’t always get it right, but I figure if Gandhi could dedicate his whole life to just one yama, ahimsa, I might just be on my way to inclining toward dedicating mine to satya.
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