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Yoga

Understanding The 5 Yamas For Gaining Self-Awareness And Inner Peace

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The 5 Yamas are the first limb of the ‘Eight Limbs of Yoga’ originating from the ancient philosophical text, ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’. By practicing the 5 Yamas you gain self-awareness, transform negative energy into positive, and cultivate a deep sense of inner peace. In this article, I will introduce you to the 5 Yamas and give you some practical tips on how you can integrate them into your life!

8 Limbs of Yoga

There are 8 limbs of yoga, and Yama is the first limb.

The first limb: YAMA

Yama is a set of ethical norms that teaches us to communicate with others in the right way. To be brief, it means one thing: treat people the way you want them to treat you. By practicing the 5 Yamas you gain self-awareness, transform negative energy into positive, and cultivate a deep sense of inner peace.

The second limb: NIYAMA

The step of forming the self-discipline and uplifting spirituality. This step involves regular visits to temples, meditative practices, a study of nature, thinking and walks.

The third limb: ASANA

Asana means ‘posture’ or ‘pose’. So by saying ‘asanas’ we mean body poses. Yoga practitioners know that our physical bodies are temples for our souls. Body care is one of the most important stages on the path to spiritual growth and enlightenment. Performing certain asanas, a person learns concentration and self-discipline.

The fourth limb: PRANAYAMA

Pranayama for Beginners Image

Pranayama is the ability to control your breath. It is a set and a system of special techniques that make it possible to establish a relationship between breath, mind, and emotions. Literally, pranayama translates as ‘extension of the prana’ or ‘breath control”. Pranayama practice allows you to rejuvenate the entire body and prolong your lifespan. We can practice pranayama as a separate type of yoga technique, or use it as a component of the complex of yoga practice.

The fifth limb: PRATYAHARA

‘Pratyahara’ means ‘gaining mastery over external influences’.

The purpose of this limb is to achieve a state of the distraction of the senses from the surrounding reality and the circulation of the gaze and consciousness inside of you. In other words, pratyahara is the ability to concentrate and not be distracted by various external stimuli. This step gives you the vision of the internal systems, understanding what can stop your personal and inner growth.

The sixth limb: DHARANA

Dharana means ‘concentration’ or ‘single focus’. By concentrating and abstracting, we get distracted from external ‘noise’.  This is how we can calm down our minds, which distracts us from knowing more than we are able to understand. It helps us to see the limitless of our possibilities. At this stage, there is a skill to slow down the thought process by focusing on sound, image, energy or body.

The seventh limb: DHYANA

Dhyana means ‘contemplation, reflection’ and ‘profound, abstract meditation’. This is the stage of the full development of the properties of meditation and concentration. Conscious inhibition of thought processes allows one to calm the mind, to feel serenity, not to give rise to new thoughts. To reach this stage, you need endurance and strength. For achieving this, you have to put in a lot of effort and time.

The eighth limb: SAMADHI

Osho Kundalini meditation 5 yamas image

Samadhi is a state of intense concentration that can be achieved through meditation. This is a state of bliss and understanding. On this stage, you extend the boundaries of your Self. You start feeling the connection between the divine origin and all living things, unity with nature and the world.

Samadhi is the highest stage of meditation, in which a person experiences oneness with the universe. In samadhi, the mind becomes still. You become totally aware of the present moment.

What Is Yama?

As you can see, Yama is the second limb of yoga.

Yamas represent a series of “right living” or ethical rules. It means “reining in” or “control”. These are restraints for Proper Conduct as given in the Holy Veda. The 5 Yamas are a form of moral imperatives, commandments, rules or goals.

The 5 Yamas are:

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
  4. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.
  5. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint.

Mastering these 5 Yamas is necessary in order to practice niyamas, asanas, pranayama and all other stages of the “eight-step path of yoga”.

Now let’s take a deeper look at each of the 5 Yamas!

The 5 Yamas

Yama #1: Ahiṃsā

Meditation Quotes 5 yamas Image

As I already said, Ahimsa focuses on nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.

Ahimsa is similar to the biblical principle “Thou shalt not kill.” In yoga, however, this principle is more extensive. Ahimsa is the renunciation of violence against anyone or anything, including oneself and the natural order of the world.

Why is it so important to renounce violence? If we look at this principle more globally, the main problems on this planet are caused by violence. This applies to the Planet, animals, people and many other living beings, i.e. to nature as a whole. After all, our planet is the same living organism as all the others, only in a slightly different form. That is why it is necessary to have the right attitude to the world.

From the point of view of the law of karma, causing harm or violence to other living beings, we earn negative karma. Accordingly, the more people, for example, kill animals, the more negative karma they accumulate. And each individual karma eventually forms the collective karma of society, as a result of which everyone will suffer in one way or another. If we help others to understand the consequences of their actions, then the overall situation on the Planet will improve.

How to practice Ahimsa?

Practice being more kind, accepting, and forgiving of yourself and others. Stop eating animals, fish, eggs, and other products of murder. Buy only cruelty-free products that were not tested on animals. Recycle your trash so it won’t harm our planet. Stop buying and wearing leather, fur, silk, and other materials that were created as a result of killing. Start being more mindful of what you are investing your money in. Don’t sponsor violence, cruelty, murder, and harm.

Yama #2: Satya

no profanity image

Satya focuses on truthfulness and non-falsehood.

“Truthfulness” means seeing and reporting things as they are rather than the way we would like them to be.

The importance of this prescription is obvious. When we are truthful to ourselves we can see the internal problems that exist, and, therefore, to make efforts to solve them. When we see a problem, it is easier for us to understand and choose the tool that will help solve it. Only when we are truthful with ourselves can we be truthful with others.

Perhaps some of you would ask: “Can we lie for good or saying a half-truth?” To begin with, in many Vedic Scriptures, the Buddha and many other sages of the past sometimes told only half-truths to the disciples. It is important to understand why they could do this. The fact is that their level of development allowed them to see all the karmic consequences of their words for the disciple. Therefore they could do it without hurting anyone. There are not too many people who can do the same nowadays. Most people still struggle to control their egos. And ego can blind anyone! That’s why it’s better not to experiment with karma and stay committed to truthfulness.

There is also the energy aspect of lies. Guided by false thoughts, deeds, and sayings, a person forms a reality that contradicts the objective reality. So with the help of the lies he/she says, he/she creates around him/her such an energy that after a while will make him/her see the world around him/her is not what it really is. Because of this, a person will constantly be making mistakes and experience confusion in life. His life eventually will turn into an illusion.

Moreover, according to karmic law, we always attract what we radiate. If you allow yourself to lie, you also give other people permission to lie to you.

However, by telling the truth you should always remember to follow the first Yama – Ahimsa (non-violence, non-harming). Don’t harm anyone by telling the truth.

For example, if a person is a thief and you know it, you can not hide this fact or lie about it! Otherwise, your lie or silence about it will harm others who will be robbed. Everything is pretty clear with this example.

Now let me give you another example. Many decades ago there was a Brahman who devoted his existence to the study of the Scriptures. Once, during his meditation, a cow ran by. Sometime later, the butcher who wanted to kill the cow came. He asked the Brahman which way the cow had run. Because the Brahman has been speaking only the truth all his life, as the Scriptures say, he showed the direction.

When the butcher overtook and killed the animal, the Brahman went to the hellish planets to be judged by Yamaraj. The Brahman did not understand why he was there. Yamaraj charged him that he was responsible for the death of the cow.

Living without lies is hard enough, especially if the truth hurts others. Lying is a distortion of reality, which entails certain consequences. It is important to learn how to present information so that it does not harm anyone. However, only a few who have reached certain heights in spiritual development can do so.

How to practice Satya?

In order for us to start practicing Satya, we need to learn to recognize the cascade of negative emotions that prompt us to twist reality. Once we have understood and processed those emotions, our thoughts, speech, and actions can be realigned with the truth, even as we look more deeply into our needs and desires. Outwardly, refrain from telling lies and speak with kindness, compassion, and clarity.

Yama #3: Asteya

Emotional Healing From Narcissistic Abuse Clear Boundaries Image

Asteya focuses on non-stealing. In other words, it is the renunciation of the desire to possess what does not belong to us.

Speaking of energy, it should be said that everything that a person has, in one way or another, is impregnated with his/her energy. A good example is clothing that carries the energy of the person who wore it. If a person stole something from someone, he undeservedly appropriated part of the vital energy of its owner. According to the law of conservation of energy, that loss must be replenished. And then the one who stole will suffer to compensate for the energy balance.

It is important to understand that suffering can manifest itself, both in this life and the next. The law of karma is absolute.

Usually, people associate stealing with tangible objects. However, intangibles, such as information and emotional favors, are more likely to be the objects stolen in our world.

How to practice Asteya?

Since the urge to steal arises from a sense of unhappiness, incompleteness, and envy, the solution is to practice giving any chance you get. Get involved in charity, get a volunteering job. Give food; give money; give time. Since abundance is ultimately a state of mind, you will feel increasingly abundant; and through selfless giving and serving, your sense of inner abundance may bring you outer wealth.

Yama #4: Aparigraha

Material Possessions Image

Aparigraha focuses on non-avarice and non-possessiveness.

This yoga principle teaches not to be attached to things. It is similar to the previous Yama, however, when practicing aparigraha you should not get attached to anything. In other words, you should follow the principle: “all the things of the world are yours to use, but not to own”.

For every single thing you own you need to invest a certain amount of energy. Everything you have needs to be fed by energy. And you are the one who unconsciously gives your energy to every single thing you own.

We should be very careful about what we buy, how often and for what purpose. It is necessary to ensure that each purchase was as rational as possible. In addition, the principle of non-violence should always be kept in mind. Before you buy a thing, think about what it is made of.

We need to learn how to make good use of the possessions that come to us and enjoy them without becoming emotionally dependent on them. Then they neither control us nor lead to false identities and expectations.

How to practice Aparigraha?

In order for us to start practicing Aparigraha, we need to examine our own tendencies toward possessiveness. To learn more read my article “Quiz: Are You Attached To Material Possessions?”.

The practice of non-possessiveness helps us to examine our assumptions and guides us back to healthy relationships with others.

To learn more about Aparigraha, read my article “Aparigraha: An Essential Step In Your Spiritual Evolution!“.

Yama #5: Brahmacharya

Tantric meditation image

The literal translation of brahmacharya is “walking in God-consciousness.” Brahmacharya turns the mind inward, balancing and supervising the senses, and leads to freedom from dependencies and cravings. When the mind is freed from domination by the senses, sensual pleasures are replaced by inner joy.

Brahmacharya focuses on chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint.

This requirement has a very broad basis. Starting from excessive sexual pleasures, ending with attachment to taste sensations.

Now let us consider in more detail why the sages of the past tried to avoid sexual relations almost completely. This was done in order to accumulate and raise energy as much as possible, to serve as much as possible for the benefit of society, using the seed only for procreation. It is worth making an important reservation that orgasm and ejaculation are completely different things.

Of course, in modern society, all the media and the so-called mass culture, constantly propagandize and install in the people’s consciousness of the maximum possible satisfaction of sexual desires. Because of this, it is very difficult to change what has been laid in the mind for decades. But nothing is impossible.

The need to control sexual energy is connected with the fact that, satisfying sexual passions, a person loses a huge amount of vital energy in the process of obtaining such a short-term pleasure. And when there is no energy, it becomes impossible to think about self-improvement and engage in spiritual practices on a higher level.

Of course, you may say: “Though I have sex 3-4 times a week, I still have the energy for my spiritual development”. And then I would answer: “You have no idea what you are capable of! You’re using just a very small percent of your potential! If you had more energy you would be able to master so much more in this life! You would discover hidden talents, passion for science, psychic abilities, immediate manifesting abilities, healing gifts, etc.”

The same applies to attachments to taste sensations. It is believed that the more you are attached to taste, the more vital energy you spend on the enjoyment of food. In this way, you need to strive to ensure that the food is simple and healthy and doesn’t stimulate your taste in the way that you get addicted to it. This will save more energy for a more efficient life and development.

Usually, attachments to taste and sexual desires testify to the energy blockage of the Svadhisthana chakra. In this case, an effective method, in addition to the practice of the asanas, is a cleansing technique Shank Prakshalana. It allows you not only to physically cleanse the body of toxins but also it can cleanse your energy.

How to practice Brahmacharya?

Be honest with yourself about what dependencies and cravings you have. Start making wise choices about the books and magazines you read, the food you eat, the movies you see, and the company you keep. It will help you conserve energy and keep your mind focused and dynamic.

Learn to be moderate in all sensual activities so that you don’t dwell on them. Staying committed and faithful to one partner in a relationship. This is a good way to start practicing Brahmacharya.

The Bottom Line

It is through your personal practice that you can learn the basics of yoga, which will help to achieve spiritual enlightenment in the future. Attentively study and find your own ways to practice the 5 Yamas in your everyday life. Then you’ll be able to build your own path to spiritual enlightenment. Even if you are just a beginner in yoga and meditation, practicing the 5 Yamas above will help to make a great start on your spiritual path!


Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

Exploring Saucha: The Purity Of Mind, Speech, and Body

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Saucha is the first Niyama of yoga, mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It can be translated as ‘purity’, ‘cleanliness’, and ‘clearness’. Saucha focuses on the purity of mind, speech, and body.

In this article, I will share with you how you can keep your mind, speech, and body pure, and how you can apply this Niyama to your daily life.

Saucha on Physical Level

When we talk about cleanliness at the body level, we mean not only the physical body but also everything that surrounds us physically: clothing, premises, personal belongings, work desk, etc.

The matter is to a certain extent a reflection of our inner state. For example, people who are not able to get rid of old things tend to live in the past.

If you look closely at the living space of any person, you can quite accurately determine what he is interested in, what his preferences are, what he lives by.

It often happens that a person’s worldview has changed but the external component – the house he lives in – still has the style, interior design objects, etc. that has a strong reflection of his old views. This contradiction of the internal and external can slow down his personal evolution and spiritual development. Therefore, it is important to monitor the correspondence of the external to the internal.

This can also happen in a reverse way. If you start changing the external component in correspondence to your future goal, your internal world will adjust to it. This is one of the main benefits of Feng Shui and Vastu – to help us create harmony and peace through external space.

Therefore, it’s good to start Saucha practice by decluttering, cleaning, and organizing your house. The cleanliness of your home will help you to develop the purity of your body and mind.

Purity of the Physical Body

detox woman image

According to Bhagavad Gita (Book 17), the purity of the body comes from the cleanliness of the body as well as from what one eats and drinks. 

Thus, the purity of the physical body includes not only external purity but also the purity of internal organs and tissues. The yogic texts pay a lot of attention to this aspect. In order to get acquainted with this topic in more detail, we need to refer to the Shatkarmas.

The Shatkarmas are a set of Hatha yoga purification techniques that are used for the preparation of the physical body for the main work of yoga towards moksha. These practices, outlined by Svatmarama in the Haṭha Yoga Pradipiks as kriya, are:

  • Neti – a nasal wash;
  • Dhauti – the cleansing of the whole digestive tract;
  • Nauli –  a self-administered abdominal massage, using only the muscles of the abdominal wall;
  • Basti – colonic irrigation;
  • Kapalabhati – also called the breath of fire – is a steady repetition of forceful exhalations followed by slightly slower inhalations.
  • Trataka – gazing at a fixed point such as a black spot or a candle flame.[.

In addition, asanas and pranayamas are also excellent tools in keeping the body clean. And, of course, the food should be healthy and sattvic.

Saucha on Speech Level

Satya Yama Image

According to Bhagavad Gita, purity of speech comes from being truthful and through the use of words that are not injurious, hurtful, or distressing to others or self. 

The purity of speech also includes the absence of profanity, abstinence from meaningless words, having a pleasant intonation, and the absence of excessive emotionality.

Pure speech is calm, full of meaning, pleasant, and understandable to anyone.

Oddly enough, but the practice of long silence (one day or more) is actually a very good tool for improving your speech. It’s due to the fact that when we are silent for a long time, we see that most situations do not require our comments, much is clear without words. Reading spiritual books and sacred texts aloud also contributes to the purification of speech.

Also, it’s very important to learn to recognize the cascade of negative emotions that prompt you to twist reality. Once you have understood and processed those emotions, your thoughts, speech, and actions can be realigned with the truth and inner wisdom. Outwardly, refrain from telling lies and speak with kindness, compassion, and clarity.

There is a beautiful Sufi saying:

“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is it true?
At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary?
At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?”

Saucha on Mind Level

mindful meditation image

According to Bhagavad Gita (Book 17), purity of thoughts comes from reflection, peace of mind, silence, calmness, gentleness, and purity of being.

Through the practice of mental purity, one attains the ability to be cheerful, to be one-pointed, to control the senses, and to see the self. Hence, it is clear that mental purity means refraining from negative, low-vibrational thoughts associated with toxic emotions such as anger, lust, condemnation, greed, etc. In addition, mental purity includes mindfulness.

You may well be familiar with the phrase ‘where attention goes, energy flows’, and this is one of the keys to unlocking the sometimes seemingly big door that stands between us and realization.

Thus, to practice mental purity, we need to occupy our own mind before it is diverted in an undesirable direction. Mantras are a great tool for this purpose. By focusing on the mantra, you’re directing your mind towards the Divine. No matter what kind of negativity is around, you can repeat the mantra to yourself in any place and at any time. Also, meditation with concentration is an excellent way to become more mindful.

Asana, Mantra, Mudra

Each Niyama has asana, mudra, and mantra that help you to accept and practice a niyama more effectively. Try practicing this asana, mudra, or mantra while thinking about Saucha.

saucha niyama image

Asana

The asana associated with Saucha is Legs Up the Wall or Viparita Karani:

  1. Sit on the floor and wiggle your seat as close as possible to the base of the wall.
  2. From there lie on your back and swing your legs up onto the wall with your feet toward the ceiling. The knees should be soft with zero tension in your hamstrings. 
  3. Your legs will align directly above your hips. Your legs should feel weightless, your back relaxed, and maintaining the natural curves of the spine.

Stay here for 5-8 breaths or as long as necessary to relax, restore and cleanse the mind from distracting thoughts and toxic emotions.

This asana facilitates the drainage of the lymphatic system and helps purify the body while boosting your immune system.

Mantra

The mantra associated with Saucha is Om Aim Hridayam Namaha.

Chant this beautiful mantra 108 times to focus on bringing awareness to, and then building heat to burn through, whatever blocks you from recognizing your true, unchanging, authentic, whole, Self.

Mudra

The mudra associated with Saucha is Tattva mudra

To perform this mudra, spin your palms open toward the ceiling and place your thumbs against your palms resting your thumb pads on the knuckle pad of your ring finger. Let your four fingers rest softly together.

This mudra symbolizes the true nature of our Self and helps us to realize that our authentic essence is unchanging, that we are, in our fundamental selves, pure and whole. 

The Bottom Line

It is through purification that a person is transformed, both on the gross and subtle levels. Saucha practice makes the aura lighter and brighter. When your energy body starts vibrating on a higher level, the world around you starts vibrating in resonance with you.

Following Saucha, makes it easier to follow the rest of the vows, accelerates progress on the yoga path, and generally has a positive effect on the life of not only the practitioner himself but also his environment.


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Yoga

Boost Your Intuition, Mental Power, And Creativity With Hakini Mudra

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Hakini mudra is a sacred hand gesture named after the goddess Hakini and is associated with the third eye chakra. By practicing Hakini mudra you invoke the energy of Goddess Hakini, as a means of stimulating and opening your Ajna chakra. When practiced regularly, it helps to enhance concentration, focus, and thinking abilities. Therefore, sometimes it’s called ‘Brain Power Mudra’ or ‘Mudra for the Mind’.

In this article, I’ll share with you what Hakini mudra is, what its benefits are, and how to properly practice it.

What Is Mudra?

Mudra‘ can be translated as ‘gesture’. Hence mudras are symbolic gestures practiced with the hands and fingers.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, we can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body. Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

Mudras help us to correct the direction of energy in the body, to control prana, and to improve the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, we can eliminate problems in the body and in the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

What Is Hakini Mudra?

Hakini mudra is one of the most beautiful and powerful madras you can use to increase your mental power.

In Sanskrit, Hakini means “power” or “rule”. It is believed that this mudra gives the practitioner power over his mind. Therefore, sometimes it’s also called a ‘power gesture’ since it increases mind power. If you are indulged in a lot of mental work and multitasking, feel stressed, or experience brain fatigue, this mudra will help you overcome such problems.

This beautiful mudra was named after the goddess Hakini.

According to Yoginihrdaya, Hakini is one of the Seven Goddesses named Amrtananda, Dakini, Rakini, Lakini, Kakini, Sakini, and Hakini. These Seven Goddesses are considered fundamentals to support the basic structure of the body i.e. skin, blood, flesh, fat, marrow, bone, and semen.

Goddess Hakini constituents flesh in the body. Therefore, it is believed that Hakini mudra practice helps to lubricate joints, moisturize the skin, and maintain immunity.

Goddess Hakini personifies the energy of the Ajna chakra and represents intuition, clairvoyance, inner knowing, imagination, and psychic abilities. Usually, Goddess Hakini is depicted as having six heads and sitting on a two-petaled lotus flower, symbolic of the two hemispheres of the brain.

By practicing Hakini mudra we invoke the energy of Goddess Hakini, as a means of stimulating and opening the Ajna chakra.

Hakini Mudra Benefits

There are lots of amazing benefits the practice of Hakini mudra can provide. Here are some of them:

  • Enhances memory power;
  • Stimulates brain activity;
  • Increases concentration;
  • Activates attentiveness, watchfulness, intuitiveness, curiosity, and respectively;
  • Calms down;
  • Promotes coordination between the right and left hemispheres of the brain;
  • Helps in balancing blood pressure;
  • Improves logical thinking;
  • Helps in making the right decisions;
  • Improves intuitive abilities;
  • Helps in reducing depression, stress, and anxiety;
  • Stimulates the Third eye chakra;
  • Balances breathing;
  • Helps in balancing doshas;
  • Improves academic performance;
  • Enhances clarity;
  • Boosts creativity.

How to Perform?

To practice Hakini mudra, follow these simple steps:

  • Take a comfortable seated posture, such as Padmasana (Lotus Pose), for example.
  • Relax. Remove all the unnecessary thoughts.
  • Close your eyes and roll them up toward the third eye chakra as a gaze.
  • Breath slowly and continuously.
  • Place your hands on your knees or thighs in a way that both palms facing upward.
  • Slowly lift both hands at the chest level facing each other and try to touch the tips of fingers gently over their counterpart.
  • While maintaining the gaze on the third eye, place your tongue at the soft palate or the roof of the mouth. Breathe in to touch the palate and release on breathing out.
  • The length of the time period of inhaling and exhaling should be about the same.
  • Perform this mudra while chanting the OM mantra in your mind (optional).

To finish the practice:

  • Slowly open your eyes.
  • Release your fingers.
  • Bring your hands back to your lap or knees.
  • Breathe free and relax.

You can practice Hakini mudra for up to 30 minutes daily. You can either practice it for 30 minutes straight or break it down into three 10 minute practices. Although this gesture can be practiced at any time of day, ideally it should be performed during sunrise.

Conclusion

Hakini Mudra is a powerful tool for boosting your intuition, activating your Third eye, and helping you make the right decisions. You can feel the positive effect of this beautiful mudra almost immediately. However, only when you practice this mudra for at least two months, you’ll be able to see more stable desired results. Enjoy Hakini mudra while chanting mantras, meditating, or listening to soothing music.


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Yoga

Satya Yama: The Power Of Truthfulness

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Satya Yama Image

Satya, or truthfulness, is the second of the five yamas and one of the highest callings of yoga. In this article, I will share with you a deeper look at what Satya is, why it’s so important to practice it, and how you can do it.

What Is Satya?

The word ‘sat’ literally translates as ‘true essence’ or ‘true nature’ but also holds the meanings; ‘unchangeable’, ‘that which has no distortion’, ‘that which is beyond distinctions of time, space and person’, and ‘reality’. As you can see, ‘sat’ means more than just ‘truth’, it’s something that is unchanged and pure. By realizing the unchangeable nature of the truth, we become more aware of how much of our time and energy is invested to that which changes, rather than the unchanging truth. 

Our emotions and moods always change. If ‘sat’ means ‘unchangeable’, then any information that comes from our emotions can’t be considered as the pure truth. Emotions, thoughts, and moods shape our opinions on certain topics, however, the opinions are very subjective, thus, may change and has nothing to do with Satya.

The word “Satya” means truth in all its manifestations: thoughts, words, and actions. The more precise meaning of Satya is “abstinence from untruth”. You see, truthfulness becomes natural only when we overcome the very desire to distort the truth.

It’s also important to understand that Satya is not always synonymous with truth. If truthful information can cause harm, then it cannot be considered the truth in the highest sense. The truth, in the highest sense, cannot cause harm (Ahimsa), it is always beneficial, whereas a statement of fact or shared opinion can bring both good and harm. Therefore, when you feel that uttering the truth can cause harm, you should practice Mauna – silence.

Inner Satya

What Is Satya Yama Image

Inner Satya is the projection of thoughts into actions. The mind contemplates, makes decisions, and remembers information. It makes choices and generates decisions, assessments, and opinions. When the mind speaks, the person speaks. Since mental Satya supports the truth of speech, it is important to switch the mind from false activities to true ones. Therefore, the very task of searching for truth should become the main goal of life.

Violating Satya hinders the achievement of harmony. Lying in any form can destroy all types of energy — physical, mental, spiritual.

By practicing Satya in your daily life (not just in your words and actions but also mentally), you become able to acquire siddhi-supernatural powers of clairvoyance, receive the gift of foreseeing the future, knowledge of the past and present.

We always attract what we radiate. If you are being truthful, your visions and dreams become prophetic, you are able to tap into your intuitive abilities easily, and your intuition always guides you in the right direction. But if you are being untruthful in your words, actions, or thoughts, eventually you start receiving false information, you don’t know what to believe anymore, and your dreams and visions are nothing more than meaningless hallucinations.

Therefore, if you have doubts about your intuitive abilities or wonder if you should trust your visions, ask yourself if you’re being truthful in your daily life.

Being Truthful To Ourselves

Satya towards ourselves is essential! When we are truthful to ourselves we can see the internal problems that exist, and, therefore, make efforts to solve them. When we see a problem, it is easier for us to understand and choose the tool that will help solve it. Only when we are truthful to ourselves can we be truthful to others.

Complete honesty with ourselves requires us to slow down the mind. When we react instantly to situations on a purely emotional level, we are often not able to see the truth and are acting from a place of fear and conditioning. But when we can actually slow down the response to stimuli within our minds, we create a fraction of more time to process situations. This will allow the more evolved part of our brains – the cerebral cortex – to actually consider things before the emotional brain takes over. As a result, we will start to see situations more clearly (truthfully) than reacting blindly to the stimulus.

By observing each thought as it arises, watching it as it passes without getting caught up in it, you will become more mindful and start seeing the truth more clearly. Learning and accepting that all emotions and situations come and go and are in fact not unchangeable or true, helps us come to terms with the fact that life isn’t as complicated as it might seem sometimes.

How To Practice Satya?

the power of silence Image

In order for us to start practicing Satya, we need to learn to recognize the cascade of negative emotions that prompt us to twist reality. Once we have understood and processed those emotions, our thoughts, speech, and actions can be realigned with the truth, even as we look more deeply into our needs and desires. Outwardly, refrain from telling lies and speak with kindness, compassion, and clarity.

There is a beautiful Sufi saying:

“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is it true?
At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary?
At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?”

Alan Redpath, a well-known British evangelist, pastor, and author gives a powerful explanation to the word “THINK”:

T – Is it true?
H – Is it helpful?
I – Is it inspiring?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?

“If what I am about to say does not pass those tests, I will keep my mouth shut!”

It is very important to always observe the motives behind our actions. Before you do or say something, ask yourself: ‘will it truly serve the other person, or am I doing this because of a need to prove something or gain something?’. By doing this you’ll be able to apply both Satya and Ahimsa to any situation. 

We should always keep in mind that each situation we face in life offers us the opportunity to see the truth if we are open to it. A daily practice of slowing down, taking a couple of deep breaths, and observing things as they really are can help us move closer towards a state of peace and stillness in the mind.

Asato Maa Mantra Practice

The Asato Maa mantra is a powerful tool used by many practitioners as a daily acknowledgment of moving towards truth:

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya

“Lead me from the unreal to the real
From darkness (ignorance) to light (knowledge)
From death to immortality”

The Bottom Line

Honest communication and living a life of integrity are the foundation for all of our relationships: with ourselves, with others, and with society as a whole. By making Satya our life principle, we are making an essential step towards living a happier and more fulfilled life at all levels.


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