Recently we shared about the first yama, or restraint of yoga principles as ahimsa. Ahimsa is a way of honoring non-violence on and off the yoga mat. The second yama is Satya. Satya is also defined or understood as truth. Simply, when we look at the word truth and think of this as a restraint, we may consider how we speak to others and we may ask ourselves, “Are we truthful with our word?” In many ways we may feel that truth is clear. That it is black or white. That when I tell you that the sky is blue, that I am being truthful. If I were to tell you that the sky is green, I am not being truthful.
For the yogi, understanding our own personal truth is a practice and a path towards peace. For yogi’s we use the breath, the meditation, the asana to peel away the false layers, stories and outside influences to find our center. The truth. Baba Ram Dass said “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” For those of us on this eightfold path, seeking our truth, this reminder is powerful.
Oftentimes, we seek comfort and truth outside of us. We may seek others approval. We may seek the comfortably numb feeling of drugs, alcohol or foods. We may think that if we have that brand new car, clothes or house that we will be enough, we will be happy. We will be free. What we discover is, that the more we seek outside of us, the more we crave. The deeper we fall into this pit of “want” and the further we find ourselves from truth and from peace. The amazing gift of yoga, when we start with ahimsa and we honor our truth, is we find freedom. We find peace. We may feel a sense of safety that we never experienced before we stepped onto our yoga mat.
The Urban Lotus Project brings these principles, and this practice to our young people who can benefit from this gift the most. ULP provides yoga to young people in recovery from addiction, to young people who may be considered the “bad kids” and to many kids who may feel unwanted. They may have internalized the messages that their peers, family’s or communities have labeled them with. With the principle of truth, the guiding of the breath and the practice, these young people are given a powerful gift. For many students, they may finally find a sense of safety, peace and connection that they never experienced before. They may discover their own truth and realize that they aren’t the labels or the stories. We believe in this gift and are excited to share.
By Jenn Olsen - ULP Board of Directors