Authenticity ties into our practice of Satya (truth), one of the five yamas. One interpretation describes it as “that which is true, actual, real, genuine, trustworthy, valid.” Our ability to be true, actual, real, and genuine directly relates to our ability to live authentically.
I’ve been having great conversations with people regarding what it means to live authentically…both on and off the mat. While many know what it means to live authentically, I’m now beginning to wonder what the motivation is for living authentically.
During one recent conversation with my husband, we discussed why people might seek to live authentically and whether it is motivated internally or externally. Do we see others living this way and it inspires us? Do we have a stirring inside that calls us to live authentically? Is it a combination of the two? Regardless of where the motivation comes from, the desire to live a more authentic life is a good thing…for everyone!
Let us step onto our mats for a moment, shall we? When we live authentically on the mat, we are stepping (literally) into a space where we make choices around our practice (mediation, asana, pranayama) in that moment. We choose to listen to our bodies and breath and respond in concert with that or we choose to seek a different ideal based on a photo or image which may or may not be in sync with what we need in that moment. This is where we also examine what role the ego plays in our ability to live authentically. Are we pursuing something (a difficult pose, for example) from a place of ego or are we pursuing it because we truly feel it is in line with our authentic expression of our practice? What is your personal motivation for achieving that pose?
This is interesting because we as humans, for the most, do want to strive to get better and achieve more. It says something to us when we reach the next level or accomplish a goal. As long as the ego isn’t at play in those developments, our ability to learn more, grow more, and achieve more can be a truly authentic expression of ourselves.
Off the mat, our authentic expression might manifest itself in how we interact with loved ones in our lives. How do we share how we are really feeling (or do we)? How do we express love or anger? Maybe showing up authentically off the mat is easier when things are going well in your life or when they are harder. Maybe we find ourselves being more authentic with some people and not others. What motivates us in these situations?
In order to better understand your motivations for living authentically, take a moment the next time you are on (or off!) the mat to ask yourself…
“Am I living my authentic life?”
Simply observe your responses. You can then dig deeper by examining:
If yes, think about what brought you into this space of living authentically.
If no, where are you not able to fully express your truth?
The answer may differ on any given day given day depending on what is happening in our lives, and as a result, our authentic expression might change in response; however, taking the time to ask this simple question can be a powerful way to come into your truth and to better understand and accept yourself for who you are, in this moment.
Because there is no one else like you. Your authentic self.