March Newsletter: Satya-Truthfulness
“As fire burns impurities and refines gold, so the fire of truth cleanses the yogi and burns up the dross (waste, refuse) in him.” – Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar
This month we look at Satya or Truthfulness of our practice. How can we stay true to ourselves all the while remaining compassionate and non-harming? Can we “to speak the truth”, but stay in the ability to speak the truth when necessary as well as without harming others? Or self? Can thinking before you speak move you in the positive direction of the truth? Do you have the ability to remind yourself before you speak the following: Is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind? Having a reverence for the truth encompasses all modes of communication-words, gestures and writings.
In the Light on Yoga, Iyengar writes that – there are four sins of speech: abuse and obscenity, dealing in falsehoods, calumny or telling tales and lastly ridiculing what others hold to be sacred. The tale bearer is more poisonous than a snake. The control of speech leads to the rooting out of malice. When the mind bears malice towards none, it is filled with charity towards all. He who has learnt to control his tongue has attained self control in a great measure. When such a person speaks he will be heard with respect and attention. His words will be remembered, for they will be good and true.
This month we will be looking at Satya through our physical practice. I am still processing many things from my recent Asana Intensive, but a big take away are the direct comments made to me from my teacher. Facing the truth square in my face, my day of reckoning had arrived. “…take time in the pose, do the pose and then be exuberant….”, that one made me laugh because it’s true. Referring back to the above paragraph – “He who has learnt to control his tongue has attained self control in a great measure.” Learning to control my excitement in speech and concentrate on the job at hand would help me a great deal. And the truth is I get excited and allow the excitement to carry me in the pose, I should let the pose carry me into excitement. Do the pose, do it right and with thoughtful concentration, and then once I have the pose and am finished allow myself to fill up with gratitude, happiness, excitement, exuberant exclamations. I understand that the excitement can take away from the thoughtfulness and concentration of the work we do in that physical plane. Truth.
The other reality that I faced during my asana intensive was my lack of strength. I have stamina, and I have learned how to pace myself in order to try to keep up. I purposely chose to be at this Asana Intensive, because I wanted to be challenged. I knew that I would be putting myself in the middle of greatness. The people that surrounded me are at the top of their game. Both physically and intellectually. I felt in-over-my-head, and I wanted it that way. But I was in no way prepared for the truth of how this would make me feel emotionally and spiritually.
The Asana Intensive was called Break Through –Don’t’ Breakdown, and I had my Breakthrough within the first two days. I just wasn’t prepared for my little private breakdown, truth. The reality of not preparing myself for the physical in the way I should have prepared was a little more than I could bare. I couldn’t do the physically challenging stuff, truth. I could have prepared better, truth. I could have done better, truth. No one to blame, no more excuses, I’m right in front of my teacher and everyone can see where I am in my practice, truth. It was intermediate to most, and this was advanced for me, truth.
I could tell stories about my bad back, my car accident, my busy schedule, the reason why I’m over weight-hormone/thyroid, blah, blah, blah………., truth. I don’t want to tell those stories anymore, true or not, and I don’t want to feed those excuses anymore, truth. The truth is that my Day of Reckoning is here – https://www.livethelightofyoga.com/on-living-the-light-of-yoga/day-of-reckoning
I am being called upon to be accountable and responsible for the state I have allowed myself be in. Will I step up to the plate and fulfill my obligation as a student, teacher, human? Can I speak my truth without being detrimental to my psyche, spirit or emotional self? Will I continue to make excuses in hopes that everyone around will make allowances for me…..is this fair to me and to others?
I’ve admitted the truth and I am o.k.
I could feel ashamed about it, but the Breakthrough would be to admit and be truthful in a way that does not shame or blame. I can make the corrections to my course to move me in the direction that I really want to be in. I am making peace with where I am now. I will exercise all of my power in looking for that which I am wanting to see in myself. Truth.
A reading by my Teacher-Christina Sell by Pema Chodron: “Moving into a place of no hand holds, no foot holds, and no mind holds is daring.” Truth. There is no one to hold my hand through my own personal journey. Truth. There is no one to blame or accuse for my personal lack in anything. I am once again ready to be daring and release myself from the thoughts and attitudes that keep me from my desired abundance. No safety nets, no guarantees, no one thing constant but endings and beginnings, truth.
I didn’t want to leave out the best parts of my experience. There was singing and chanting every day. I actually walked out of the studio singing in the style of Julie Andrews….”My heart will be filled with the sound of music……” My heart has truly been blessed by the sound of music. I am so grateful for this experience. This was my absolute favorite part. The vibrations that I felt bubbled up inside of me. It was an effervescent joy that brought tears streaming down my face. I really can’t wait to share some of these mantras with you all.
My major breakthrough was Drop Back/Urdhva Dhanurasana. I don’t think that I fear this pose as much as I now am just tired of it. Truth. I often remind students in their Anuvitasana that this is the beginnings to a drop back. I, being ambitious and thinking of this, carelessly threw this out when asked, “What pose would you like to work on?” And instead of being conservative and maybe requesting a forward fold, I mentioned my fears surrounding Urdhva Dhanurasana and my thinking about moving into that pose from a drop back as opposed to coming up into it from the floor. I also quickly followed up this announcement with – but this is not something that I wanted to work on this week.
I think I spent 25% of my asana practice upside down in a backbend. And I feel very very confident about dropping back into a chair that is braced against a wall. Breakthrough!
The Asana Intensive was intense. I love my teacher. I think she is a genius. I want to be better for myself first and foremost, but I also want to be better for her because I think she deserves better than what I am currently offering. (I think on some level we all want to be loved and adored by our teachers. I know that I want to be.) In fact the people around me deserve better too. They deserve it, I deserve it and I owe it to myself to walk in next time feeling more confident about my practice and what I am bringing to the table.