Yoga Yamas: Satya, or Truthfulness

The yamas can be understood as ways in which we interact with the world around us. Things we must observe to be good, solid people. It’s no surprise that telling the truth makes the list. 

We now arrive at our second core discipline, satya. 

Satya: Truthfulness

Tell the truth unless it harms; if it harms, either find a way to tell it kindly or don’t say it at all.⁠


Look for the nuance. ⁠

Can you think of a time you’ve shared something that turned out to be untruthful? ⁠

Have you ever told someone a tidbit of information you got from a social media post, but didn’t verify yourself?⁠

Satya is a big responsibility, and important in our age of rampant mis- and disinformation. ⁠

Other ways we can live in the spirit of satya

-Recognize areas where you may be untruthful with yourself: insecurities, jealousies, comparing yourself to others. Are these the truth, or are they something else?

-Notice when and if you lie. White lies, big lies, joking lies. Even sarcasm, if not understood, could require some truth-telling after the joke. Be honest.

-Remember that if the truth hurts, find a way to soften it. If the truth causes nothing but harm, don’t share it. There are qualities of both satya and ahimsa (non-violence) here.

-Become aware of any excuses you may find yourself making, in your own head or out loud. Is the excuse the truth, is it valid? Or is it just an excuse? 

Sutra 2.36


For more on satya and the other yamas click here

For the niyamas click here