What an interesting world we’re living in right now, where truthfulness, accountability, and right action are commonly questioned and looked at with a discerning eye. Luckily, we aspiring yogis who f
ollow the path of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are required to always be truthful through one of the social disciplines, or yamas. That social discipline is that of satya, which literally means “to speak the truth,” and while in theory it seems easy enough, there are many levels of the truthfulness that could create obstacles when working toward on honest existence. Below are some things to consider about our daily lives and following the discipline of truthfulness as we journey on our yogic path.
When one thinks of speaking the truth, we naturally associate that with our communication with others. In a paper published in 2010 in Human Communication Research, psychologist found that the average number of lies people tell per day is 1.65 lies. Doing pretty good, people! We might think that it would be higher considering that in our present society, the modes of communication seem endless. We have face to face, phone, snail mail (what’s that?), email, text, social media, and we’d think that each allow for a little more bending of the truth than the next. However, according to research done at Cornell University, the use of technology keeps us more honest, realizing that there’s a “digital trail” (formerly known as a paper trail, remember that?). We actually end up lying more face to face or over the phone because there is no record of what was said. Hmmm, sounds like we might need to work on the correlation between our audial communication and our “little white lies.”
Next, in regards to satya, how honest are we with ourselves? This is a different level of honesty where there is only personal accountability. Another way of thinking about lying to ourselves is the big ‘D’ word: Denial. You may have heard this acronym before, “Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying.” According to an article in Psychology Today there are 8 most common lies we tell ourselves, which include ignorance is bliss, how we like to be seen, and cherry picking data. (If you want to read the full article, click here.) While denial and self-deception may be an evolutionary survival skill, having awareness of our common self-lies might be a good method for us to stop and reflect on some of your own motivations and what you consider to be your “personal truths.”
The last aspect of truthfulness that we’ll mention is that of the honesty behind our actions. In yoga philosophy, we are asked over and over again to look at the intention behind the deeds that we do. The Buddha delineates the distinction between right and wrong intention. Right intention includes the intention of renunciation, the intention of good will, and the intention of harmlessness. The opposite intentions include the intention governed by desire, the intention governed by ill will, and the intention governed by harmfulness. Right intention is the basis for right thinking and truthful and non-deceitful actions.
This post is only to offer some moments of self-reflection and self-study, which is naturally part of our ongoing yoga practice. We’ll finish with the words from Swami Satchidananda about satya, “With establishment in honesty, the state of fearlessness comes. One need not be afraid of anybody and can always lead an open life. When there are no lies, the entire life becomes an open book. But this comes only with an absolutely honest mind. When the mind becomes clear and serene, the true Self reflects without disfigurement, and we realize the Truth in its own original nature.” Sounds to us like to bliss and real freedom.
Held at the Midtown location, 474 Broadway Ave., Kingston
Come explore the depths of Yin Yoga and the philosophy behind teaching this practice with Bobbie Marchand of Prema Yoga in Brooklyn, NY. This course will meet the guidelines for a 30-hour Yin Certification for Continuing Education with the Yoga Alliance. The Yin training is open to both teachers who want to add this to their set of teaching skills and to those students who want to deepen their knowledge of the Yin practice.
In this training student will explore:
a deeper place of connection and understanding of your own practice (that’s where your teaching voice comes from)
Yin Yoga history & philosophy
Connective Tissue: the star of the show in this method and how is relates to the physical, mental/emotional and subtle bodies
how to set the ‘mood’ of the practice; evoking and maintaining the space of quiet, thoughtful attention
Support: the appropriate use of props, touch and language
For those interested in teaching, a separate, final teaching examination will be scheduled.
Outside practice and study time is strongly encouraged.
Tuition is $300 or $275 for graduates of The Yoga House’s 200-hour Yoga teacher Training programs. A non-refundable $75 deposit is due by May 5th, 2017, to secure a place in the intensive. The remaining balance is due the first night of the weekend (May 19, 2017). Payment plans available for additional fee. Tuition does not include the required text.
Bobbie Marchand, in pursuing her love of dance, moved from her native Toronto to NY in 2005. Though the transition of dancer to yoga teacher is a common one, it was an illness that tuned her in to the power of a daily, dedicated practice. Bobbie’s Vinyasa classes are creative, challenging and fun. Drawing on her dance background, the sequencing is expressive and fluid while encouraging alignment (and a healthy use of props!). Her yin/stretch/restorative classes are an invitation to pause, yield to the sense of support, turn inward and take the practice to a quiet, nourishing place away from the external stress of our busy lives. Endless gratitude to teachers Diana Lockett, Amanda Harding and Raghunath for their encouragement, support and loving guidance on this incredible journey.
As we arrive into autumn, a season of transition, with its vibrant colors, chilly evenings, and bountiful harvests, we are focusing this month on Vinyasa. While the literal translation of the word vinyasa means “to place in a special way,” we often designate the term for the set of postures that separate sequences, appear in our sun salutations, and clear out one side of postures to repeat the same postures on the other side. Whether you’re thinking of the literal or more common translation, the word connotes the transitional quality of yoga as we systematically take our minds and bodies from one point and safely land at the next with our controlled breathing and specific movements. We say that Vinyasa is a flow, an unobstructed path to a final destination. As Pattabhi Jois has declared, “When vinyasa is perfect, the mind is under control,” and we can attain a state of meditation and liberation through this “special placement” within our practice.
It is through the body that we realize we are a spark of divinity. –B.K.S. Iyengar
With the recent passing of B.K.S. Iyengar, whose contribution to yoga brought us a new understanding of the human body and its possibilities, we would like to focus, this September, on alignment. For many yogis, the word alignment calls to mind specific anatomical cues: “This limb externally rotates while that appendage abducts; this joint opens while that muscle contracts or extends.” All of this is incredibly useful for entering asanas correctly, for preventing injury, and for sustaining longevity in the practice. But for Iyengar, a pristinely correct, anatomically driven asana practice was only one small part of the bigger yoga picture. It is he who said, “Health is the state of complete harmony of the body, mind, and spirit.” It is only when we achieve the alignment of these three elements, he would have reminded us, that “the gates of the soul open.”