What Ashtanga Yoga teaches – Satya, Truthfulness

Truthfulness in Speech

Unbelievable how time flies! I know I promised to get back to you sooner on this series about Ashtanga Yoga, but I have to be honest, there are days where I really can't stand computers... the thought of having to sit down and write makes me very tired, so I try to minimize the time spend behind a screen as much as I can. (As a quick reminder; this is the second of a series on the Yamas( Moral disciplines) and Niyamas (Self observances).) 

Satya, truthfulness. Staying true to myself means going for the option that makes me and my close ones the most happy and healthy. Too much computer work seems not to do the trick for me...being not very convenient, when you want to blog about the things you love and that inspire you.

I sometimes get the feeling people think being a yoga teacher is like the most easy job on the planet, with our heads in the clouds, eating vegan food and listening to mantra music, doing 'nothing really' all day. Well, it is actually a lot of administrative computerwork. Answering emails, planning events, making lay-outs, paying bills, sharing, studying, preparing classes, and ofcourse yogapractice.

Finding balance between real life and virtual life is a new challenge for many people, all together. 

sirsasana -satya

Yet, I do feel a bit guilty about not posting anything the last two weeks, because I promised. And YES, there I already went against this principle of Satya. It's not easy to speak the truth all the time. Especially when you know you might hurt someone's feelings. We'd better keep Ahimsa(non-violence) in mind all the time, but unfortunately we are conditioned into certain behavior, opinions, ways of speech often from childhood on. Thus resulting in emotional outbursts, saying things we afterwards regret and so on. Our patterns don't seem to be all that helpful anymore, once we grow up to be self-conscious adults. So why is it so hard to change them? Or are we really that self-conscious? Yoga is in this respect a way to become more aware of certain unconscious patterns, which actually mainly aren't really your own, but instead were ideas, feelings, behavioral patterns of your parents, grandparents and other authorities during childhood. As yoga is a way to find your true self, it liberates you from dysfunctional patterns that belong in the past.

How does it do that? By growing awareness of the present.


Living in the Truth of the Present moment

'It is only in the present that real truth can be found'. This is one of the most important things I've learned in the teachings of the Buddha. A method, actually, that has helped me a lot with overcoming issues from the past. Ofcourse, you will still be you. The past has molded you, informed you in the present, but by being more absorbed in the present moment, you become less bound to the past or the future. And it is only in the present moment that happiness can be found and experienced.

All this resulting in Satya as LIVING truthfully. Reflecting on what that means to you, individually. Personally,  I believe that Satya is about living according to your souls path and in harmony with your environment. Living what you stand for, deep down in your heart. Not what society or your parents tell you, how and what you should be, want, dream. It's about finding your talents and expressing them.

When I see my kids with all these possible talents to be developed, there's this hugh responsibility for us parents to stay openminded, so they can stay on their own path. Not the one we wish or want for them..

About 5 years ago, I made the decision to start living the life of which I dreamed. No more 'feeling stuck in a life that doesn't feel like mine', no more 'feeling depressed cause I can't express my qualities and grow as a person'. No more 'feeling like I am wasting my life only on making money'.

So I jumped, and I am still bouncing, haha! ( check the About page to know more) The career switch I made is hard work, but it feels very true. When I look at my 'inner child', it says: 'Right on!'

It feels like there is no other way; it is an extension of myself instead of a role I have to play in society. This is true, but...there's also another truth to this story.

Every new opportunity that comes along feels like jumping in the deep. It can become scary sometimes, bringing doubts into the picture. There are times where I think I should better take the next best job in a supermarket to simply make a living, do my practice and done. Nothing more needed.

That's where Ashtanga yoga practice comes in! Doing the practice can be a reminder, every time again, to listen to that inner voice. Listen if you are acting, living, even doing business truthfully, to who you are. And then trusting that everything will be ok, in the end, as long as you stay truthful. So I guess, Satya is about making the RIGHT CHOICES, guided by heart ànd mind.


Philosophycal Truth

I am aware of the fact that many people, as we speak, are not in the possibility of making any choices when it comes to work, because they live in circumstances where there simply is no or little work , no money or food. And to them this is all just a pseudo-philosophical chitchat that exists far away from every day reality.

I guess, in every life these moral concepts are thrown in to be tested in a different way. Truthfulness in speech, thoughts or actions is a work in progress for all of us.


Some months ago, while in Mysore, I asked an other dear teacher and friend what Ashtanga means to her. 

Sophie Mahy teaches since many years Ashtanga Yoga in Gent, where she runs a Mysore style program together with Caroline Labeur.


Take a look at the interview to hear what yoga practice means to Sophie Mahy!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *