By: Virginia Iversen M.Ed
As many of us begin to settle back into our regular routine after a busy holiday season, we may be confronted with the reality of implementing the New Year's resolutions that we made a few weeks ago into the fabric of our lives. It is not uncommon for many Yogis and Yoginis to make New Year's resolutions that are quite far-reaching and beautiful, but difficult to obtain. For example, you may have made a resolution for the year to come to practice Yoga everyday for one hour and to meditate each morning before work for an hour. However, you may be encountering difficulty as you try to implement these resolutions into your own life on a daily basis.
Many Yoga students and teachers are very committed to incorporating the diverse practices of Yoga into their daily lives. However, many Yoga practitioners also have other obligations, such as professional and family responsibilities. At times, these other obligations may make it difficult to spend enough time "on the mat." If this is the case for you, one way to prioritize your time is to clarify the truth of what you really need in your own life. For some Yoga practitioners, having the time to spend a full hour or more each day on their Yoga mat is critical to their well-being. For others, spending 15 minutes a day in quiet contemplation and doing 30 minutes or less of moderate Yoga poses provide enough rejuvenation for them on most days.
Ultimately you must be the one to decide what nourishes you the most deeply in your own life. According to a number of ancient Yogic texts, integrating the awareness and practice of Satya into your daily life is one of the keys to cultivating happiness and peace in your own being. The Sanskrit term "Satya” is translated to mean absolute truth or the reality of ultimate truth. In practice, by implementing both an awareness and honoring of your own internal sense of truth, you will align your thoughts, words, and actions in a seamless and coherent way into your own life.
The Vedic concept of Dharma is closely related to that of Satya in the Yogic scriptures. In the Taittiriya Upanishad, a spiritual seeker is advised to conduct him or herself according to the Dharma and to only speak the truth. In this context, Dharma refers to an underlying sense of morality and ethical behavior, according to the laws of one's land. In the Mundaka Upanishad, it is said that truth alone is triumphant, not unreality. In other words, by aligning one's thoughts, speech and action in an honest way, according to one's own internal sense of truth and duty in the world, much confusion, frustration and anxiety will be alleviated in your life.
If you are a Yoga student and you were just becoming acquainted with the concepts of Satya and Dharma, remember to be gentle with yourself, as you contemplate your progress in implementing these concepts into your own life. If you find that you not speaking your own truth in a variety of situations, this is a good place to start to become aware of that discordance; for example, if you feel uncomfortable speaking your truth to friends, family or work associates, you may wish to begin to uncover your own true feeling by writing your thoughts in a private journal. Once you begin to identify what your own internal truth really is, it will be much easier to align your thoughts, speech and actions.
If you are a Yoga teacher, you are probably already familiar with the concepts of Satya and Dharma in your own Yoga practice. However, there are layers and layers of incorrect and unreal thought patterns and perceptions that must be peeled away before you can truly embody the light of the self. These incorrect or unreal thought patterns and perceptions are called "samskaras” in the Yogic scriptures. Samskaras are deeply rooted ways of perceiving ourselves and the world around us. By taking the support of a regular practice of Yoga poses, pranayama exercises, meditation techniques, and the study and recitation of sacred texts, you will deeply enter into the process of excavating your own inner gold, which resides in the core of your own being.
Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a writer and an academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing assignments and may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.