We continue our exploration of the 8 Limbs, specifically the Yamas. To refresh your memory on the 8 Limbs, here is the link to the article I referenced last week from chopra about the 8 limbs and a link to last week’s blog when we started this journey with the first yama, ahimsa.
Meditation – Satya – Truthfulness
The second of the yamas is truthfulness. We find this concept discussed in a religious context as well as most schools of thought on moral conduct. It is certainly one of the first things that most parents teach children! Not only is it about being truthful with your word, but I think about it in terms of being truthful to yourself, your principles and perhaps following a greater “truth”-whatever that might mean to you.
How do we practice Satya? It can be as small as telling the truth when we are late for an appointment (not I got behind a school bus, but I overslept) or being honest with a partner about something that is bothering you or upsets you. Practicing Satya does not give us license to be “brutally honest”; being hurtful (your haircut looks awful or your spouse is a jerk) is not Satya. Tempering “the truth” with some ahimsa (nonviolence) or compassion is practicing Satya as it is intended.
In researching this topic, I came across an article that quoted Krishnamacharya (my man Deskicachar’s father-considered the father of modern yoga) as saying that to practice Satya one should “talk only about what’s true” meaning it is only worth talking about absolute truth. For him, this was God. We all might gain something by speaking less, probably a way to practice this would be not to ever say anything that would hurt someone. Remember our moms saying, “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing”? The Buddhist version of this suggests you consider the following before you say anything: is it necessary, is it true, is it good?
“Try to remain truthful. The power of truth never declines. Force and violence may be effective in the short term, but in the long run it’s truth that prevails.” – Dalai Lama
For more on this topic here is some perspective:
Our Practice – Crescent Warrior with Kali Mudra
In looking for inspiration for this discussion on Satya, I found an article and short practice video by Coral Brown. Coral is a distinguished, internationally known yogi and was my YTT teacher. I am fortunate to be able to call her a trusted friend. In the article, she discusses Satya, related yoga poses and a short practice to embody it. One of the poses she mentions is Crescent Warrior incorporating Kali Mudra. This mudra (hand posture) is named after my favorite goddess, Durga. The mudra represents her sword which slays illusions, lies or other untruths. She is 8 limbed and has a different weapon in each hand, each to wage war on bad stuff. I have a small statue of her in my studio and am constantly channeling her – more on that another time. (Side Note: you have not experienced yoga fully until you have attended a class with Coral as she tells the tale of Durga while you practice). The link to her article and practice video is below.
We are going to focus on a crescent warrior pose version in class this week as we discuss Satya.
Crescent Warrior with Kali Mudra
In class we talk about the difference between crescent warrior and warrior 1. In warrior 1, we can feel awkward (or experience pain) as we press our back foot down while simultaneously trying to push that same hip forward (hips as head lights pointing forward analogy). This can be uncomfortable, and injurious, to our lower back especially if we do not appropriately modify.
Come to crescent warrior and interlace your fingers except the index fingers which point upward representing the sword of Durga. While in crescent warrior, inhale raising arms overhead visualizing your sword cutting through dishonesty toward yourself or others.
Right foot top of mat
Bend right knee, stacking it over right ankle
Step left foot back on mat, hip width apart (remember the train track analogy for steadiness), heel stacked over toes (heel is raised you are on ball of foot)
Hips are facing forward, lift your arms overhead relaxing your shoulders, pulling your belly up and in.
Here is the link to Coral’s article and video.
Nurturing with Food – Pasta with Roasted Vegetables
So, this week I am inviting a guest chef, my husband Peter, to share another recipe with you. He can whip up a pasta dish in what seems like moments, although I am sure it is a little more work than that. He made this roasted vegetable version of Pasta Primavera last week and it was very good. Roasting the vegetables instead of sautéing them gave them a smoky flavor that really added to the dish.
See you on the mat!