The second of the eight limbs we'll explore, is the second tenet of the Yamas... Satya.
Satya is understood as truthfulness or commitment to truthfulness. It's the kind of truthfulness that asks for your commitment to connect deep down to the core of what's authentic to you. And like, Ahimsa, Satya is a practice that you cultivate from the inside-out, time and time again until it becomes an integrated way of living life. According to yogic texts, when Satya becomes a habitual way of living, the yogin or yogini's presence changes, they are different from the inside-out — living from a deeper knowing that raises the vibration of their inner life in a way that positively impacts their interactions with others.
Satya is most often communicated through our interactions with others in what we say, how we say things, and when we say things. Within the yoga sutras this quality of communication is the foundation for our relationships, work in the world and how we organize and live in community (locally, statewide, nationally and globally). Depending on how we communicate with ourselves and others; whether out of truthfulness, fear, deceit, or love will affect the nature of our relationships.
Within the yoga sutras there are no strict or specific guidelines on what is truthful communication and what is not, so when considering how/what/when to communicate truth, it's essential to be discerning. One way to establish discernment in voicing the truth is to consider Ahimsa. Meaning if what you are going to say will cause unnecessary harm to another, you may want to consider the urgency and essential nature of what is being communicated and whether it's more important to speak the truth or more important to reduce harm. In some cases it might serve the greater good to say nothing. And in other situations, it may serve the best intention to voice the truth.
And according to the yoga sutras, you are the only one who can decide which situation calls for which action...
Ravi Ravindra, author of The Wisdom of Patañjali's Yoga Sutras, writes, "there is a strong tendency in all of us which makes us ask for clear rules and regulations which can be decided before-hand and can be applied to all circumstances. ... But yoga requires a vigilance and an awareness arising from being present here and now, to this situation, at this time and responding to it."
The inherent work is to develop a deeper awareness of the virtue of satya within your own being through continual self-inquiry, meditation, and practice. In this cultivation of satya, the practice of knowing how to communicate, when to communicate, and what to communicate is drawn from a deeper source of wisdom that is guided by truthfulness.
By establishing yourself in the virtues of ahimsa and satya (among the other yamas and remaining sutras) you become awake to your life in a way that you can sense, see, hear, and feel into the authentic responses for each specific challenge you experience.
As modern practitioners of truth on this planet at this time, we are indeed faced with deeply complex situations that can constantly challenge us to stay aligned with our truth, making it even more important to cultivate the practices of love, truth, kindness, and authentic leadership on a regularly basis. And while it's often essential to address situations as they happen in the moment, the task might very well be to not get wrapped up in the challenges — but rather to investigate the root of what new truth is being asked to awaken within you. Then when you decide to respond, you can do so from a more integrated wisdom of your being.