March: Satya

satya- (1).jpgI’ve had this post sitting in my drafts for what feels like forever. March was a chaotic month for me and it lasted 5 weeks instead of the usual 4! This month’s focus was Satya- the second of the Yamas in Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. Looking at this one has been really difficult this month as it translates to TRUTH or HONESTY.

What is true in your life? Which thoughts are true and which thoughts are fear based or ego driven? How much do we spin stories about what ‘could’ be or what ‘should’ be instead of what is?

For myself, I’ve been looking at satya as more of a mental health practice than a ‘have I told this person the truth’. It’s a really good tool for checking in with your thoughts and seeing where you are telling yourself ‘stories’, and then returning back to the now.

We all have this compass engrained within us to know what our true self would need, it’s about sifting through the bullsh*#@ to find it.

In the end, satya looked like me ‘changing my mind’ a lot. And thats okay. I wrote a post on Instagram about how frustrated I was with the question ‘are you being kind to yourself?’. Sometimes, honesty isn’t exactly kind or nice. Sometimes Its about facing the truth in order to grow and honor your soul.

ON THE MAT SATYA PRACTICE

In order to practice satya when I step on my yoga mat, I’ve been committing myself to completing a full body scan (10-15 minutes) before practice and then after practice. A body scan is where you either sit of lay (but if you are laying don’t fall asleep!) and mentally move through each part of the body, relaxing muscle by muscle and noticing what is going on in that particular part. There is no judgement. Only observation. I start with my toes and slowly work my way up.

Are the toes tense or relaxed? How do the ankles feel? Are the calves resting or active? and so on until you get the crown of your head.

Why complete this? It helps you slow down and connect with the body before asana. It helps you decipher what is true in the body/mind and what is false. Having scoliosis- I tend to feel like my alignment is incredibly uncentered, when truly it isn’t. My mind views my body different than what it is in reality. My right hip is too high. The left side of my ribs are sinking- These are all things I start to think at the beginning of my practice. I notice. Then, when I body scan before Savasana, it is changed into mind awareness. My body is here and it is doing all the work I need it to.

The TRUTH of the body, is that it tries it’s hardest for you every moment. You are here now in this life- feeling and creating feeling. Whether you are chronically ill, suffer from structural or functional disorders or simply have monkey mind- you are here, and that is truth.

OFF THE MAT SATYA PRACTICE

This is the trickier part. Life has a way of providing several paths or ways of seeing things. Sometimes, our mind persuades us to believe things that aren’t true. You can’t do that. You aren’t beautiful. You aren’t worthy. We tell ourselves these stories at different junctions in our lives and they become misleading-so very misleading. Satya is about looking at what is true. Not berating yourself with it- but understanding that in truth there is a bit of peace.

Off the mat, I ask myself ‘Is that true’ and if it is I go on with my day. For all the chatter we have in our minds on the daily, I think its important when a seed of doubt gets planted to ask ‘is that true’? Doubt isn’t very factual- when faced with honesty it either dissipates or you move in an entirely different direction. Whenever a feeling of doubt or insecurity arises trigger yourself to ask ‘is that thought true’, and then move on.

or try to. Sometimes it’s not that simple, we are human after all.

Most of all, enjoy the peace that comes with this practice. I’ve found satya hard but rewarding to focus on. I feel much more grounded in self or whatever concept of self I have.

xx

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Svadhyaya!

Not only is this my favourite niyama to say ( think ya-ya sisterhood), but it’s also one I hold closest to my soul (I think….maybe I need more self study). I can be moving through my day, teaching students or sitting in class learning or running from here to there picking up groceries or cleaning or getting supplies for projects due (probably due in a few hours- thats just how I roll), and I hit a point where I say to myself “damn, you need some svadhyaya right now”. Self study, self awareness, self love through understanding my place within the greater picture is something I NEED. I need quiet. I need space. I am not someone who can do it all, all the time and stay balanced. I am not someone who can be verbal all the time. That is my line. I need to take a walk, a nap, a silent moment with incense burning.

I need to know where I fit and why I am.

I remember one time as a teenager, probably 16, after moving to a new town 5 hours away. It was maybe a week after the move, family all around all the time, everyone trying to settle in their own way. I don’t even remember the point of tension or what caused the snap. I only remember saying to my mom ” I. Just. Need. To. Be. Alone.” ( I hope you read that in your meanest, most teen angsty inward voice ever.) Everyone left the house and it was just me and I took a shower and I wrote and there was silence and empty house. I needed to re-calibrate myself, study where I was and who I could be in that sphere. Its hard to figure out and there SOOOO much self study that happens as a teenager anyways (Its why I love teaching them, so lost but so much journey).

My svadhyaya, my self study, my way of knowing myself and the world and how the two bridge together, has always either been through writing or art or small moments in nature or books or yoga. The writing is constant and has been since I was 13. The art comes and goes as needed- there are times it aggravates the pitta part of me and I need to just not. The nature is good from really bridging the gap between self and universe- water moments are the best for me, I’m not sure why. The books are life changing ones, read over and over.


I could see how some would see it as a selfish favourite. However, it all starts with self and without that, I won’t be a very functional human. History has proven that fact. I need to know where I fit, I need to self love, before all the rest. And I suppose all that comes with ahimsa and all the yamas as well… but that could go on forever.

So to everyone- how do you get your svadhyaya on? I feel like most people choose either shaucha or santosha as their favourite niyama…and those are BIG ones in my life too- but that svadhyaya, gets me level every time.