Thursday, 23 January 2020

SATYA (Truthfulness) - A Practice of Self-Love

When we hear the word "Love," many times we think about others.  We have been conditioned to search outside of ourselves for love and that we aren't 'complete' unless we have an 'other.'  Love is taught to be more of a feeling than a state of being.  In America, most of us have been brought up on Disney fairy tales that, historically, have the message of living 'happily ever after' once you find that special 'other,' be it a prince or princess. 

From a yoga perspective, love is a state of mind or being and we all possess the ability to connect to at anytime. Our limiting beliefs, which are more fear-based, keep us either in delusion that we can only find it outside of ourselves or that we aren't worthy or don't deserve to connect to the love that is already us.  The practices of yoga are to unlearn these limiting beliefs and learn practices to help connect more and more to the beings of love we truly are.

One of those practices comes from the Yamas, five of the ten ethical practices of yoga, which is about restraints for 'right living.' Right living is about living a life both externally and internally that connects us more and more to Truth, God, Divine, the Universe, permanence.  For me, a big part of this is coming from a loving, heart-based state of mind when interacting with the world.

SATYA is one of the Yamas, which means Truthfulness, and is an important practice to connect to love, and even more importantly self-love.  If you want to be a more loving being, you must learn to love yourself first. All the negative mind states we find ourselves in with the 'drama' of life come directly from our relationship with ourselves. (That's something to reflect on!)

Satya directs us to consciously be aware of when we are speaking our truth and being authentic, versus not.  In America and many other cultures, we are conditioned that many of our emotions are not okay to express or that we should be able to 'buck up' and get through rough times, which ends up silencing parts of ourselves.  This makes coming from a place of truth a difficult thing.

I know an area in my life where practicing satya has been (and is) important for me is when people ask me to do things. I tend to say 'yes' too quickly and too often, which leads me feeling overwhelmed, spread to thin and anxiety builds to eventually burn out.  My body and mind on a roller coaster.  Others may get their needs met but it's at the cost of my own well being.  Whether this comes from trying to control others viewing me as a 'kind and wonderful person,' proving my worth, or a number of other fear-based beliefs, I've come to realize I can not continue on this way.

If you find yourself relating to this, the practice of saying, 'no,' is important.  Trust me, I know how challenging this can be.  How guilt and self-doubt love to come up when saying 'no', but over time, saying 'no' and dealing with the guilt as it arises has helped me use my time more wisely, have more time to take care of myself and relax, and people actually respect me MORE!  Being truthful (in a respectful manner) has strengthened all my relationships and those relationships that were 'energy suckers' have faded away.  It's a practice of Satya I use every week.

Other practices of Satya:

1.  Taking a pause.  That age old saying of 'just breathe' helps to connect to our truth.  Whether simply taking 3-5 deep breaths before responding or getting into the habit of saying, "let me think about that and get back to you," pausing slows down the impulsive "yes" response.  Also, waiting until initial emotions subside to connect more to facts of reality is another good policy of decision making. It's amazing how much to emotions of excitement and a swing of happiness can sweep us off our feet, causing us to make choices that might not be in our best interest.

2.  A daily meditation practice.  This can be finding a guided meditation you like (Insight Timer is an amazing free app with tens of thousands of guided meditations), a moving meditation practice, a breathing meditation practice, a sitting meditation practice, or just sitting in silence and observing what comes up.  Anyone can access a meditation practice...anyone! 

A regular meditation practice conditions the mind and body to pause, reflect, and let go of our bodies pre-programmed reaction behaviors.  It will change your life, guaranteed.  There's even research out there that shows positive effects up to six months later just from practicing one time. What?! I offer regular meditation workshops or private sessions at

3. Speak up!  So many times it's the things we don't say that we regret later.  Practice saying what you really want, even if it's not what others want.  I can't tell you how many times over my 16 year relationship that I just went with what my partner says, instead of my own gut instinct, and I end up feel resentful and angry. Even just speaking up allows for a conversation.  And yes, this can lead to conflict...and conflict is a part of relationship.  Working through conflict effectively is also a practice of Satya by finding out what you REALLY are reacting to.  Empower yourself to trust yourself by speaking and sharing what you want and need.

I encourage you to choose just one of these practices to focus on for a month and then see where things are at for you in regards to your relationship with yourself.💓


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