In part 2 of this series, we will explore the yama of truthfulness or satya. Not sure what the heck a “yama” is? Check out part 1 of this series for more information on the yamas and the niyamas.
Truthfulness, or satya in Sanskrit, does not only entail not telling a lie to someone (which is still important!), but also how you express yourself to the word. As humans, we are here on this earth to express ourselves in a way that no one else ever has or ever will– your truest expression is totally unique to you!
Do you ever feel that you have to put on a “face” with different people or situations? Would it scare you if everyone you knew was in the same room and you weren’t sure which version of yourself to be? Is this physically how you appear, how you behave, or perhaps both? If you’ve ever felt this way, you may be suppressing your truest self-expression.
Often, not honoring our truth can show up in our lives as shoulds or should nots, which can cause lots of stress and anxiety. I once had a therapist who gently reminded me to “not should on myself so often.” While this statement made me chuckle, it was also a profound idea I had not considered – Who was I doing xyz for? Myself? Or others? I realized a lot of my stress and anxiety came from trying to meet other people’s and society’s expectations. When we take time to reflect on our intention behind our actions, we can start to uncover if it’s in alignment with our truth or if we are “should-ing” on ourselves. Are you dressing, eating or behaving in a certain way for others? Or yourself? What is driving you to distort yourself, silence yourself or say yes when you mean no? Ask yourself these questions and be honest with your answers. If it feels out of alignment, try on different ways of expressing yourself and see what feels best!
When all of our energy is spent trying to meet these self- or society-imposed standards, it takes away from our own true self-expression. Imagine living in alignment with your truth and all the energy that would have been spent “should-ing” on yourself could now be used towards bigger dreams and ambitions as well as improving your quality of life! “Living the life that cries to be lived from the depth of our being frees up a lot of energy and vitality. The juices flow. Everyone around us benefits from the aliveness that we feel.” - Deborah Adele.
So how does this show up in nutrition?
Our truth lies within our intuition. Our bodies possess the knowledge, or the truth, on how to properly nourish and take care of ourselves. If you’ve ever tried to follow a specific diet and felt weak, tired, angry, or perhaps you are quick to lash out on those you care about - that’s your body’s way of telling you that particular eating pattern is not in alignment with your truth. No one benefits from that. The flip side to this idea is intuitive eating – forget the diet mentality (society’s “should”) and tune into YOUR truth for how to nourish your body. When you eat foods that make you feel good and let go of labeling food as good or bad, it shows up as improved mood, higher energy levels, and more productivity. Keep in mind that each one of us is beautifully unique and the way your friends or family eats may not be the way your body wants to be nourished for optimal health. We can all agree that we are less likely to snap at a loved one when we are feeling more positive, energized, and nourished.
One last thought: It’s so important to note that Satya must be built on a strong foundation of ahimsa or nonviolence (see part 1 of this series!) to face or share your truth with compassion and grace. If you know the truth will hurt someone, perhaps it’s best to soften in some way or not share at all.
For more information, check out the book: The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele.