What does “satya” mean?

What does "Satya" mean?

“When one is firmly established in speaking truth, the fruits of action become subservient to him.” – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali*

The most common translation for Satya is “truth.” In the Eight Limbs of Yoga, Satya is one of the five yamas, or restraints, to incorporate into life. It’s truthfulness in thought, words, and deeds.

Authenticity is one of my core values. When we get stuck, it’s usually because our behavior doesn’t line up with our values. Authenticity, letting your genuine self shine through, is key to a joyful life.

When we’re stuck, we can often see ourselves, others, and situations in a distorted or cloudy way. I see that “truthfulness in thought” as letting go of these unhelpful narratives and gaining the insight to see ourselves and others in a clearer and more constructive light.

The word “sat” in Sanskrit means “that which is, that which exists.” Living in non-acceptance of what we cannot change can be very painful – and what do we do when things feel unacceptable? Gaining clarity on how to accept, when not to accept, and how to let go of what no longer serves you is another key of truthfulness in deeds.

“Sat” can mean “true nature,” “unchangeable,” “that which is undistorted.” If you come to me for help, I don’t see you as a bundle of symptoms. The thoughts, moods, or behaviors you’re struggling with will not change what I value about you. It’s an honor and a privilege to help others connect with the part of themselves that is constant, steady, undistorted, safe, and very real.

*Yes, I’m a yoga teacher and avid yogi. No, I won’t make you do yoga poses in session.