The Truth, Why We Lie, and Our Yoga Practice


Angela Kukhahn adjusting Aiden in Paschimottanasana We lie to ourselves for the same reasons we lie to others.

Fear.

We are fearful that we are not good enough just the way we are.

We lie because we are uncomfortable with what “is”.

The person next to us in class is doing a huge backbend so we push ourselves into it ignoring the truth that our body is not ready.

We let fear feed us lies that tell us we are not “enough,” “good,” or “worthy,” we must try harder, and push more.

Last year I experienced a setback/blessing in my practice, depending upon the way you look at it.

Having a couple of ribs dislocate certainly gave me time to think about how truthful I was being in my practice. I was forced to acknowledge that there had been warning signs along the way that I had chose to ignore.

Fearing separation from my beloved practice I ignored that nagging pain in my shoulder, and denied that I needed to back it off and rest. The truth usually does find a way to be told, and in my case it was in the form of my first and second rib popping out of place.

We must continue exploring our practice from moment to moment. Of course it’s healthy to expand your practice and work at your edge, but Satya (truthfulness) is the conversation that you have with yourself along the way.

Each movement is an exploration into the truth “Is this healing and creating more space in my body? Am I best serving my needs in this posture?”

For those of us injured the question is what habits need to be addressed that caused this in the first place? What patterns of misuse could I be enforcing if I am not practicing with proper awareness and the right intention?

We must seek in our yoga practice ahimsa (non harming) and Satya (truthfulness).

We should regularly ask ourselves where are we creating compression?

or were can we make more space, and create more freedom?

On days we are exhausted not forcing ourselves to complete every vinyasa is an example of living in truth. (this is tough for some of us..)

On the other side of that coin, when you find yourself making excuses of why you can’t/won’t/don’t do certain poses, you may need to be more truthful with yourself as well.

Alot of things can come up during a yoga practice, fear, not wanting to be challenged, inability to accept change, fear of embarrassment, being self- conscious of how we may look in a pose, judging in advance how good we will be at a given asana, believing that others are judging us for how we practice, and sometimes accepting defeat before we even try.

These too need examining and stand as roadblocks to living in the fullness of Satya.

What is coming up for you on the mat?

Fear?

Complacency?

Anger?

Mr. Iyengar refers to yoga as an “involution” in his book “Light on Life”. On truth he states “The presence of truth can make us feel naked, but compassion takes all our shame away. It is this inner quest for growth and evolution, or “involution” that is the profound and transformational yogic journey that awaits the seeker of truth.” Oftentimes the attitudes, beliefs, and challenges we experience on our mats are a reflection of things we need to work through in everyday life. The practice provides a mirror in which we can often see things more clearly.

Our bodies need different things from day to day, and our practice should be an expression of that truth. Real yoga is what happens in the absence of illusion. If you think that forcing your body into a pose that is unhealthy for you is somehow going to “advance” your practice for instance, you are living in an illusion and it will ultimately bring you suffering. If however you are avoiding a pose because it challenges you, and think that is helpful to your growth that also is an illusion. Real yoga is experienced when you banish feelings of inadequacy, and fear and do what is right for your body. This is yoga, this is Satya, breaking old patterns of fear, destroying illusion, and living in freedom. The truth shall set you free!

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