Satya, one of the yamas of Yoga, is a self-restraint of truth and honesty. This Axis YTT student simplified an over-booked schedule in order to have the time to look within. By being introspective this student was able to be honest with the Self. By creating stillness, questions that had been avoided through ceaseless action could be addressed.
Tag Archive for: satya
With the yama/niyama experiment creeping up on me, I was doing my best to figure out what was “wrong” with me so I could come up with a life changing experiment. I wanted to experience something that would unlock the key to my existence and allow me to make major life changes. The only drawback was that I had no clue what I wanted to address. It felt really overwhelming until former students came in to talk about their experiences. Two students spoke about their experiments and their experiences really resonated with me and led me to the satya group. I determined that my satya experiment would be about my willingness to be truthful to myself.
I realized that for the past few years I have been constantly on the go, always doing something, running from one activity to the next with very little time allotted for myself. I continually overloaded myself with obligations to friends, acquaintances, my job, my ceramic studio (something that I love), even obligations to a bucket list I recently started. I was bogged down with so many activities that I agreed to or “needed” to do, I found myself getting stressed and lashing out at others for activities that I volunteered for. I was less effective in these activities and my daily life because I overloaded myself. This was making me extremely unhappy.
My initial observations were that I 1) attempted to please others at my own physical and mental expense, 2) overloaded myself with activities with no time to just be (alone, with myself, with no obligations), and 3) was not comfortable unless I was on the go. My hypothesis in this experiment was that in order to be more honest with myself I needed to:
- Clean up my social media account, cell phone address book, and email account and remove people who I didn’t maintain an honest communicate with. This would have the result of narrowing down the number of people who would be able to ask me to do things.
- Practice 30 minutes of meditation each night before bed, track my meditation with matches, and make notes in journal about any relevant thoughts around the meditation. This would allow me alone, guiltless time where I could just focus on myself.
- Keep a journal on me at all times during the experiment to make any notes during the day that might arise outside of my mediation window. This would allow me to get any “junk” out of my head.
It felt great to give myself permission to follow up with #1 because these were tangible things. The matches gave me some control over #2 except I had hit or miss days with the meditation. I knew that 30 minutes seemed ambitious for my first project but I am still fighting my urge to please in this project. I set up a meditation area in my room. This was another tangible activity so it felt like my time for meditation was “official” which made me feel more devoted to the idea of practice. I could visually control this area with candles, fabric, and a favorite pillow but would get frustrated when my brain wouldn’t calm down.
#3 was difficult because I found that the more I meditated, the more questions I had. My journal is filled with questions that would pop up at the strangest times. This seemed counterintuitive to the idea of meditation quieting the mind. It felt like I had turned a blender on high and this journal was the catchall for thought puree. Some of the questions were related to the study of yoga like “How do I balance satya and ahimsa?” and “Who determines this balance?” Other questions were more personally identified like “Why am I forcing myself to go 1,000 miles a minute?”, “What is something I can do to have some awareness when I am going too fast?”, and “Will these things matter in the future?” Writing these questions down was a way to acknowledge what I had been avoiding by keeping myself busy. While I don’t have the answers for even half of these questions, I have started the process of trying to answer them. Seeing these questions and thoughts in my journal was scary but allowed me to validate these feelings that I’ve suppressed by keeping so busy. It also allowed me to identify that there’s no rush other than my own self-imposed rush and that much of my frustration at the world was really a frustration towards myself directed outward.
After conducting this experiment, I feel like I have started the process of being truthful with myself but that I have only barely scratched the surface. I find that I like giving myself permission to say no or to establish boundaries when it comes to activities. It has made the activities that I have participated in more fulfilling. I am also not agitated during activities that I have consciously and thoughtfully chosen to take part in. I have started keeping track of the activities I am currently engaged in on a calendar so that I can ensure that I have scheduled time for myself and I don’t overbook myself. I have been less irritated at work and more productive because I am focusing on each project fully instead of trying to work on four different things at once. This is not to say that this experiment has been a complete success as I regressed to previous behaviors where I allowed myself to become overloaded at work and at home, resulting in the usual lash out. However, by redirecting myself, continuing my experiment, and following the guidelines I set up, I was able to come back to the path that I was trying to follow on this experiment. I found a great interpretation of satya on the internet as “the Truth which equals love”. I think that this is one of the most important things I’ve discovered in this experiment. Through being truthful with myself, I am loving myself.
This Axis YTT student gives an insightful interpretation of the yama satya (truthfulness) during the yama/niyama experiment. Students apply a chosen yama (restraint) or niyama (observance) to their lives to better understand their role in Yoga.
When the time came to choose a yama or niyama, I decided I would allow my choice to choose me. I ended up in the satya or truthfulness group. Initially, I thought this experiment would give me the opportunity to give my supervisor a piece of my mind. However, the more I studied, the more I began to understand the nature of satya and its careful placement amongst the yamas or restraints. Satya refers to considering my thoughts, words, and actions so that they do the least harm and the most good. I realized that I would have to practice restraint from action or, at best, practice filtering such that my thoughts, words, and actions are in alignment with ahimsa, or non-harming. My experiment would have to involve a great deal more observation and reflection than I originally thought. Therefore, rather than practicing truthfulness, I would have to practice restraint from indulging in my supposed “truth.”
I feel irritated and frustrated at work and desire to feel more at ease during the workday.
If I memorize the Gayatri Mantra and chant it for 15 minutes at the beginning of my day and at the end of my work day, then I will feel more at ease and less frustrated at the end of my work day.
For one work week (5 days), I will chant the Gayatri Mantra for 15 minutes at the beginning of the work day and at the end of the work day for 15 minutes. At the end of each day, I will reflect upon the day and provide one line to summarize my experience.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER16, 2012
- I spent 30 minutes memorizing the Sanskrit translation of the mantra.
- I spent 15 minutes chanting the mantra.
- I spent 15 minutes meditating on the words and significance of the mantra as it applies to satya.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2012
- I feel like I have to lie to myself to keep from speaking my feelings.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2012
- If the Supreme Self who holds the Supreme Truth and resides in me has already mastered satya, why is it so difficult for me?
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2012
- I avoided discussions that involve input of my opinions and preferences.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012
- Difficult to reflect on my judgments and send them out into the world as such.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2012
- It is a burden to try to know and speak Truth.
After conducting this experiment, I realize the amount of time, I waste at work talking about things that do not need discussion and the positive difference meditating on the Gayatri Mantra has made in my overall work day. At times, when I became frustrated or irritated, I found myself repeating the words of the mantra in my head. Before long, I would start to think about the significance of each word and how the words applied to my feelings. Overall, I believe I caught a glimpse of how insight into satya reaches far beyond satya into my overall well-being and way of life. Yoga is as much practice as it is non-practice as so profoundly explained through the principle of satya.
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