Say what you mean and mean what you say

Early on in my teacher training course, we covered the yamas, and we were asked to pick one that we’d like to focus on, for the duration of the course. I picked Satya, partly because it’s a favorite jewelry brand and I was delighted to learn that that the word related to my yoga practice. In the lecture, we were told that it means to observe truthfulness, or non-lying. This yama encourages us to understand the power of the words we choose.

I’ve always believed myself to be shy, and that when I do finally speak, I’ve thought about my words and am ready to share and defend them.


“Truth” in Sanskrit

However, from this training experience, and also from my work this past 16 months as a design team manager, I’ve become aware of another pattern in my reservation (or lack thereof). I am still fairly shy around people I don’t know, especially if it’s a larger group. I spend a lot more time watching and listening, than contributing. But once I feel sufficiently familiar with a person or a subgroup of the larger group, the dam bursts. I have to be careful not to become an open stream of words and half-formed thoughts, which can confuse, overwhelm, or intimidate a new student that I may be trying to teach. It can make me look like I don’t know what I’m talking about – or worse: like I don’t understand who I am.

And, on the far end of the spectrum of unsavory consequences: my carelessly discharged words could cause harm to someone, if I’m not careful to choose ones that respect their experiences and feelings.

This is what Satya is about, for me. Choosing your words carefully, so that you don’t confuse others, or hurt them. This came up during our final teaching “test,” and I’ll keep working on it. Hubbie picked an excellent birthday gift, and a beautiful Sanskrit word for me to wear as a reminder. Something similar is pictured above, and here’s where he got it: Satya Jewelry.