"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple." ~Oscar Wilde
My plan is to write about the yamas the next few weeks followed by the niyamas. Last week I was contemplating living & teaching ahimsa. This week I am thinking a lot about truth. Patanjali mentions non-violence before truth. Acknowledge that truth and non-violence are best practiced together. Judith Lasater suggests we ask ourselves before speaking "is it true? is it necessary? is it non-harming?". If the answer is yes to all only then do we proceed. I have been discovering what my personal truths lately; connecting with values, setting boundaries and finding honesty about them has been important since I moved cross country. I also am sitting with the knowledge that my truths are multi-faceted and able to change through different experiences. Honoring personal boundaries, yet staying flexible in defining personal truth is challenging.
"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it." ~Andre Gide
There are many levels of truth when it comes to asana practice. There is the truth of your personal experience of the pose. The truth of many different alignment cues. The truth of discovering ease within the pose. It is important to share with ourselves and our students (those of us who teach) that the truth of our pose in this moment may not be the truth we discover the next time we roll out our mats. Being patient with this ever-evolving truth allows a freedom in our practice and cultivates being in the now. We can ask ourselves the truth about our own or practice or the classes we teach: "am I holding this pose longer than is best for my body right now?", "do I practice poses that are not the most beneficial for my body?", "am I encouraging my students to do a practice that is right for them at this moment?", etc.
I think it's so important to take other teacher's classes - it helps me remember that there are oh-so many different ways of teaching a pose and they all lead to the same benefits. There are so may different ways to cue our intended results in a class. Finding honesty within ourselves and being present to our students needs enables teacher's to give the instruction the student needs at that moment. For example, I am an anatomy junkie - I love it and often want to spout out minute details I've discovered while refining different poses, but often I have students that would be overwhelmed with that detail. I strive to find the truth in the words they need at that moment. The result is that same. Knowing that truth has many levels and allowing students to grow at their own pace is honoring our truths as teachers. I often mention to my students to please let me know when a pose does not feel comfortable for them. I jokingly say that I have lots of tricks up my sleeve to make the pose right for everyone. I want to lighten up the room and encourage people to talk if they need attention to a specific pose - to honor the truth of their experience. Honoring that "truth is one, paths are many" (Mahatma Gandhi) can encourage all of us to be present to our experience today and know that it is different for all of us.
"Living satya is learning to make conscious choices about truthfulness is daily living." ~Judith Lasater