Satya is one of the yamas of the 8-limbs of ashtanga yoga. Lately, this has been put to the test for me. Quoting the sutras of Patanjali, satya is truthfulness, not lying. Follow the truth and the truth will follow you. A vow of absolute honesty means we can no longer tell white lies either. If by being honest we will cause trouble, difficulty or harm to anyone, we should keep quiet, which ties in with the first yama, Ahimsa. Satya dictates that you speak only truth. Anytime you speak a falsehood, no matter how trivial, it takes you away from the Truth of your own Beingness.

It’s easy to read the sutras and agree with it, but in practice, in the real world, when faced with a challenge of whether you should tell the truth, or how to phrase it in a way that doesnt cause Himsa, I find it really perplexing. Alas, after much contemplation, I chose to be upfront about the truth, albeit not very timely, which still caused friction and emotional upheavals. It led me to thinking if I should have lied about it, which would defintely go against my conscience, or was my execution done poorly? The former was ruled out. So, it has to be the latter. I should have kept quiet about it totally knowing that it would have avoided hurting anyone.

But, the milk has been spilt, and there’s no point lamenting about the what-ifs and the past. Paradigms might have shifted, but I still treasure our friendship very much, and I’m really sorry for not exercising enough sensitivity with my words, or lack of. I am quite disturbed by the whole chain of events, but I don’t think that will get me anywhere. I’ve only to learn from my mistake, move on and not beat myself up over it. A breath at a time, and let it all go.

Yoga will never let you go..

Its been 3 weeks since I stepped into the Shala, and 3 weeks since I’ve cut down my practice to twice a week. The pulling pain from my arm is better. Downward dogs are less painful, but still I’m listening intently to my body and not pushing it. The pain has travelled and evolved to being an ache on the neck and shoulder.

Today, I decided to visit a new studio where Denise, an Ashtanga teacher that has been on a hiatus for a year or so, has come back to teaching at Back on the Mat. I learnt that she herself was also nursing a shoulder injury, and the timing seems to be perfect that I’m nursing one too and she would be the best teacher to help me through my practice. Boy, do I miss the energy of being in a shala. It’s just so different from doing it at home. Your breathing is better, your concentration is better, you generate more internal heat. I think in all, I just miss my practice so much!

What touched me most was the email I received from Denise later on the day, that was so encouraging. She quoted what Sharath said during this year’s conference, which hit right on the nail in so many ways. And here is to share..

“Thank you very much. This is the end of the season. Hope to see you again. I don’t know when. When time comes, we’ll all see… And…keep practicing. You know, as I told you, life is like Lombard Street, not only Lombart Street. It’s got different terrains–in life. Sometimes you go off road. Sometimes you’re on a nice track…The terrain keeps changing, it’s not smooth all the time. So, don’t get disturbed by these things. You keep your practice. Keep your steadiness in whatever terrain comes into your life. Keep on practicing yoga. Never leave practicing yoga. That is how we balance ourselves in whatever difficult times or happy times. So I want you to enjoy that, keep that steadiness until I see you again. May God bless you all with lots of happiness–and sorrow, sometimes…” Sharath trails off in light but tender laughter.

“To know happiness you should go through sorrow.” Never one to sugar-coat, Sharath shares, “In India, in New Year’s, what we do is Bewu Bella. Bewu is the neem leaf. Bella is the sweet, jaggery. So, on that day we mix both and we eat it. Why? Because in the whole year, the whole year won’t be smooth, there will be rough times also in life, in that year. In both the times, you should accept it with happiness. With happiness you should accept both the terrains, both the happiness as well as sorrow. For the that your mind should be steady and still…”

“If you believe in yoga, if you practice yoga, it will never let you go.”

Yoga will never let you go….I like that..

Thank you Denise, for reminding me again. I will learn to embrace all aspects of it, the good and the bad. I know nothing is forever, and this too, like all other things, will pass.