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The “Yoga Sutras” written by the renowned sage Patanjali describes the eight limbs of yoga, outlining the ways we can all live a yogic life. The eightfold path is called “Ashtanga,” which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps are guidelines on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

Considered the authoritative text on yoga, the Sutras (translated as “threads”) is a collection of aphorisms. The first Limb is the five Yamas, or ethical rules. The second Limb is the five Niyamas, or virtuous habits, behaviors and observances.

The 2nd Yama is Satya, translated as truthfulness, non-falsehood.

To live a truthful and honest life is part of a well-rounded spiritual practice.

In our modern, rushed lives, we get faced daily with situations that put that practice to the test. We may feel tempted to use a “little white lie” here and there to circumvent a bigger problem or avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Or we may omit something, trying to convince ourselves that omissions are not lies.

Of course, the concept of living truthfully is not only to tell the truth, but to avoid small acts of dishonesty, like keeping the extra change someone gave you by accident or taking something that doesn’t belong to you just because no one is looking.

Small or big lies and omissions, overtime, can corrode any relationship by poking holes in the foundation of trust others have in us, a foundation that’s necessary to build and maintain any relationship.

Have you ever found out someone you trusted had been lying to you? How did that feel? Did that make you question your sense of self-worth? Did that make you think of yourself as naïve and gullible? How did that change how you perceived that person? How did that affect your relationship with them?

We could apply all these questions to ourselves, if we are the ones telling fibs. We can pretty much envision how much hurt we can cause by being dishonest.

But it’s not that simple. Or is it?

This subject can bring a lot of philosophical questions to surface. What is the truth? Aren’t some things just a matter of perception? Well, some things are. Others are plain and simple.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: all change starts with us. Do you lie to yourself out of fear of facing the truth or feeling inadequate?

What about others? Do you find yourself bending the truth for fear of “hurting someone’s feelings,” only to get caught in a web of lies that you can’t seem to get out of? Think of how much more hurt you can cause when the truth is revealed.

Journaling and taking time for reflection is a good way to explore these thoughts and ideas in order to gain clarity, to get to know ourselves better. This brings us to the fourth Niyama, Svadhyaya, which means self study, self reflection, introspection.

Lies can also be false beliefs that were instilled in us throughout life, and we internalized those lies and keep repeating them to ourselves. It’s powerful to face those damaging beliefs and reframe them, switch them for something positive and empowering. For example, growing up you may have been told you were not good at drawing. That got repeated so much that you ended up internalizing it and repeating it to yourself and others. Yet, you may have a passion for it, a persistent feeling that it’s something you should try, but you put that idea aside because “you are not good at it.” It’s always an interesting experience to expose those lies and understand where they come from, in order to start affecting transformation.

If living truthfully is your goal, I highly recommend diving into these concepts with honesty and compassion.

The truth will set you free (John 8:32).

If you would like to learn more about the Yamas and Niyamas, Studio 108 will be offering a series of workshops this Fall, where they will be explained and explored as a journaling experience. Stay tuned.

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!