Honesty and Identity (Satya)

Honesty to oneself is essential to self-identity. Satya is the practice of honesty to others and oneself. Sometimes we force ourselves to do things we otherwise would not, but endure due to a sense of pride or other perceived need. Asking difficult personal questions and providing honest answers can be painful. However, doing so is crucial to breaking our misconceptions about others and ourselves to live a more authentic life.

Hopefully some yogis can relate to a personal yoga example of my own. Upon first seeing someone perform crow pose, I deemed it was impossible for me. I thought there was no way I was going to be able to support my body with my hands without breaking my wrists. Over time, I learned that everything will be impossible, if I never put forth the effort to achieve that goal. Crow pose was “impossible” because I was afraid of the amount of effort, discipline, and time that would be required hold the pose. Daunted by such a challenge, it was easier to say, “I'll never be able to do that.” By telling myself that I could not hold the pose, I absolved myself of any responsibility to even attempt. There was no need to try because I wouldn't be able to do it anyway. With my mindset, I made the possible, impossible.

Thankfully, I learned to be honest with myself and realized that I was afraid of the work I needed to put into improving my physical yoga practice. The journey, the promise of self-growth, became my motivation. I was able to shed that particular burden of self deceit. I share this anecdote because I believe it to be widely applicable to many areas of life. In times of stress, we may feel the need to construct a strong facade and suppress feelings of shame, guilt, anger or grief. Allowing those emotions to fester can turn transform them to fear, anxiety, bitterness or depression which allows them to spread to other aspects of life. It's okay to admit to yourself that life can feel overwhelming. Though it may not seem that way at onset, acknowledging those difficult feelings, not suppressing them is a act of inner resolve, not weakness.

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