Satya, which translates into truthfulness, is the second Yama of the Eight Limbed Path. The Eight Limbed Path, also referred to as the Eight Limbs of Yoga, come from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and provide guidance for practicing yogis on how to live a meaningful, purposeful, and impactful life. The Yamas are the first branch of the Eight Path Limbs, and they focus on how we interact with the world.
What Is Satya, the Second Yama?
The second Yama, Satya, represents the overall meaning truth, and more literally translates into true nature or true essence. You may have noticed that many Sanskrit words use the prefix ‘sat’. ‘Satsang’ meaning ‘true company’, and ‘sattva’ meaning ‘pure’ and ‘peaceful’, can lead us to understand how ‘sat’ goes deeper in meaning than just ‘truth’- it is eternal, real, full of wisdom, and rich with awareness.
While many may think that Satya refers to simply always telling the truth, it is a virtuous way of living in connection to reality in our thought, speech, and action.
How To Practice
In the best online Yoga Teacher Training, yoga is seen as an integrative practice that moves throughout four energetic bodies: physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual (PIES). Let’s take a look at the practice of Satya through PIES.
Satya | Physically
When we are physically practicing satya, the second yama, that means our actions are led with integrity – towards ourselves, towards others, and towards our environment. For example, our yoga asana practice is meant to support and honor our body, not impose harm by pushing ourselves past our physical limits and boundaries because we refuse to see ourselves as we are. It also means that we are honest about the way we show up in our relationships, and to be aware of our actions so that we are not dishonoring asteya, (non-stealing), by stealing people’s time, property, or energy.
Satya | Intellectually & Emotionally
Our experiences and moods can change quite quickly and shape our reality – this is how we can see things as we want to rather than how they actually are.
When we aren’t honest or when we don’t embody satya, the second yama, whether to ourselves or someone else, it is a form of disconnection. Our mind and intuition become confused and over time we learn that we cannot trust ourselves. And if we are not honest, how can we ever really get to know ourselves?
When you find out someone has been dishonest with you, it’s pretty common to react and place the blame on the other person. They have ruptured the trust between you and you feel that you can never trust them (or anyone for that matter!) ever again. We start to ask ourselves things like: how did I let this happen? How was I so blind? Can I bounce back from this? How am I going to rebuild trust in myself and re-learn to trust others? How can I rediscover satya, the second yama?
Take time to pause and observe what is happening within you before jumping to judgment or reacting. Ask yourself how you feel in the moment and how you want to show up in a given situation. Instead of spewing blame and judgements, take time to get down to the root of what you’re actually feeling. Is it fear? Anxiety? Disappointment? Grief? When we reconnect with the second yama satya, with the truth of what we’re feeling, we can respond in a way that feels aligned and in integrity with our authentic self.
Satya | Spiritually
Cultivating a consistent asana and meditation practice can be a meaningful way of deepening your relationship with yourself. When we embody the second Yama Satya, we feel free in being who we are, rather than hiding behind a persona or façade of what we think others want us to be. We can set aside all of the messages that we need to be more, be better, or do more, deeply know the truth of who we are and the unique gifts we bring to the world around us. We also know where we can best be supported, and welcome others’ unique gifts and accept the truth and reality of who they are.
If you are interested in learning more about the second Yama Satya and the Yoga Sutras,you may check out a 200-hour online yoga teacher training, or even a 300-hour YTT if you already are a certified yoga teacher. Stay tuned for a new, free Community Offering that My Vinyasa Practice will be announcing soon: Community Chanting, a call & response of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.