Kimi Marin Yoga

Honor limitations. Transcend Boundaries.

Archive for the tag “ego”

Satya: The Second Yama

This week I touch upon the second yama, Satya or truth. The word Satya comes from Sat which means “being.”  Satya is not only about speaking the truth but on a deeper meaning Satya is the practice of being the truth. Every thought, every word, every action you take is to come from your most authentic, real self. For many of us, our true self is a mystery. We live our life trying to please our ego, please others, and wishing our lives were different. I know that I don’t move always from a place of truth. Honestly, I mainly move from ego and desire. I do this out of habit, fear, and simply being unaware of my thoughts and patterns.

Recently,  I went to a talk at an ashram and the swami speaking reminded each of us that our life is this Now. Every thought, every feeling, everything your senses take in is your life and your reality. Now many of us sit around rushing through life, trying to get things done, trying to please others, trying to get our ego satisfied and the validation that we are a good enough person. Satya says to let all that go, look within and see the truth of your situation. What is the truth of your thoughts? When you strip away all your layers, what is the truth of your motivation? On the most subtle level, what your intention for doing what you are doing?

Gandhi wrote an essay on Truth and said that Truth is God. He said where truth lies so does true knowledge and where there is true knowledge there is bliss. Think about how much better you feel when you make that hard decision that you know is right. To move with Satya is not easy. That is why many of us get in the habit of white lies, not speaking out truths, and not believing in ourselves. As Judith Lasater points out in her article, To Tell the Truth, “the practice of satya is about restraint: about slowing down, filtering, carefully considering our words so that when we choose them, they are in harmony with the first yama, ahimsa.” In my search to understand Satya, I am repeatedly told three questions to ask before speaking: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

As you go through your day and through your week, stop and ask yourself these three vital questions before you speak and before you act: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?. As you pause to do this, the layers that cover your true intention will be visible. When you peel away the layers of ego, trying to please others, and habitual behaviors, the base of your intention, the truth of your motivation and what you want to convey will be exposed. From this place move forward.

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Surpassing the lion’s pride, we acknowedge the mouse’s strength

When I was a teenager, I once told my mom “I wish I had perfect legs,” without hesitating, she replied “You do — you can walk.” The simple truth of this statement stunned me and, temporarily, made me realize how strong my body was.  But, being a teenager, I found a way to shrug it off and continue to covet the aesthetic qualities of “perfect” legs. A few months ago I received a ticket for texting while driving and was given the option of attending a high risk driving course to help offset the fine.  Of course, I took the class. Like my mother’s statement, this class opened my eyes to the magnitude of my strength and power…and my tendencies to take this power for granted.

I feel as if so many of us go through our days on auto pilot–the same routines, the same thought patterns. And then we get into our yoga practice and try to push ourselves past our abilities of that moment. We push ourselves by often criticizing or harshly judging ourselves. How often do you wish you were like someone else? Or get jealous because someone else can do something better than you? Or look down at yourself because you can’t hold a pose or get into an arm balance?

During the high risk drivers course, trauma survivors spoke about their life since their car accident. The speakers varied in their mental and physical capabilities: some could no longer walk, some could barely speak due to brain injuries and/or physical limitations, one had lost his short term-memory. What was consistent in all of these stories was their human capacity to survive. All of the speakers spoke of learning to speak again, to read again, to learn to feed and dress themselves again, and for those who could walk — learning to walk again. I listened to the stories, taking note how some speakers struggled just to move and to speak,  I was reminded how strong and powerful we all are. I became to appreciate my own self-appointed “flaws.” I put aside my inadequacies, and ego, light of my new found awareness of my very capable body.

In the following days as I taught my yoga classes, I could see my students struggling with their own bodies, frustrated at poses they felt they could not do, even frustrated when they needed to rest.  With my students, I shared the gift these speakers had given me — the reminder that we are strong, able-bodied human beings. While some people struggle to feed themselves, we are blessed to have the luxury to get frustrated with ourselves because we can’t do the splits while balancing on our hands!

In yoga, many times we see a complicated pose and struggle to get there, upset that we can’t do the pose, we get down on ourselves. I told them the stories I heard hoping they would understand how strong, capable, and powerful they are and, more importantly, honor their bodies by being acknowledging that what they can do is magnificent.  Instead of judging ourselves for what we are unable to do, must be thrilled of what we are fully capable of doing. We must always aspire for something a bit higher, a bit further, in order to keep our mind, body and spirit stimulated, but in order to fully reach those places, we also need to sit back, rest, and honor where we are.

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