Satya: The relativity of truthfulness

By Sara A Nelson, PT, DPT, WCS, CYT

Yoga’s ethical guidelines include satya, truthfulness.  Arguably, practicing the ethical guidelines in movement is what makes a movement yoga.  Exercise sessions (yoga asana or postures) become a place to realize where our bodies are in relation to a value we want to bring to life. There are many different aspects of truthfulness in action that can be examined.  This article examines the relativity of truthfulness.

Relativity in this context implies our perception of a phenomena is based on our position in space.  An example that is often used is the sound an engine of a car makes as it approaches and then as it moves away.  The pitch will change.  As it comes near it starts at a higher pitch and comes down as it approaches. Then as it moves away it becomes a lower pitch.  At different times in this relationship it is true that this same object appears to be making a high pitched sound and at others a low pitched sound and they are both true.  That truth is based on our relationship to the object.  So you could say there is ‘your truth’.  There are three ways we can use this idea during movement practice.

#1. Our bodies go through a cycle of birth, growth, blossoming and fading.  They do this over the course of a lifetime and over the course of a day.  There can be other cycles of birth, growth, blossoming and fading within our lives.  Our movement practice is a place to recognize where your body is in it’s cycles.  The observer mind notices the position of the body in relationship to these cycles and to time.

#2. Over time we may accumulate the effects of developed beliefs, thoughts and emotions.  They harden in the body and create holding patterns.  Observing our body through movement with honesty is an opportunity to see these holding patterns.  Letting them go through various means of breath and movement gives a chance at new birth.

#3. A vitally important point about the relativity of truth created by living in a body is that the object making the sound is the same object no matter the perspective of the observer.   In movement, we develop the observer self to discover what the one constant is.  Some have named this the Divine, the Tao, the Universal Truth, Cosmic Consciousness….

The practice of truthfulness in movement can be done as one goes through the day as well. Observe yourself, appreciate the variety of perspectives of those around you as well as your own, and seek the One Truth.

“these mountains

that you are

carrying, you were

only supposed to


Najwa Zebian



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