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Satya, Biomechanics, and Yoga


“One who shows a high degree of right communication will not fail in his actions.” 
(T.K.V. Desikachar’s translation of Yoga Sutra II.36)

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras have much practical wisdom that can be directly applied to life. In fact, evolution of a civilization (or its destruction) can usually be traced to satya (truthfulness) or asatya (untruthfulness). A similar dynamic exists for an individual’s personal evolution.

Satya and asatya also have practical benefits and consequences for sustainable design of the practice and teaching of yoga, because truth and theory go hand in hand. Base your teaching on sound theory (satya) and the benefits will automatically manifest in your practice. By the same token, if your theory is based on falsehoods (asatya), the benefits won’t manifest. You can see examples of both satya and asatya in our posts on “The Importance of Theory” and “Strong Thigh Muscles Benefit People with Knee Osteoarthritis.”

Satya is also said to be "that which has no distortion." Relating to yoga instruction, this means clarity of expression. Precise cues elicit a predictable response. Vague or distorted cues elicit confusion. And no matter what your personal style of communication, you can always benefit from knowing the biomechanical basis for what you’re teaching.
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