In my city, Toronto (Canada), school teachers must guide kids on Character Development themes. Today’s theme is Integrity. Remember integers in math? They are whole numbers. Integrity comes from the same root meaning whole or complete. Sounds perfect for yoga and today’s post by Yoga In My School specialist, Donna Freeman. She gives Three Steps to Integrity for some Yogic insight on the theme of Integrity.
Integrity – The Heart of Yoga
By Donna Freeman
Integrity is a moral imperative which demonstrates itself as consistency of actions according to personal values and principles.
Three Steps to Developing Integrity
- Develop the ability to discern what is right and wrong
- Act in accordance with these fundamental values
- Stand behind individual actions in word and deed
These three steps define character.
Yoga helps to develop integrity by addressing the whole person: mental, physical, emotional, spiritual. A complete yoga practice allows introspection and self discovery. As individuals contemplate themselves, their lives, their joys and sorrows, their past, present and future, they develop self awareness and an internal consistency of character. They are able to determine their personal morality and motivation for actions.
Yoga also encourages honesty (satya). As we are honest with ourselves and others we become more trustworthy and genuine. We learn to speak and act from the heart lending authenticity to our daily lives. Both children and adults benefit from practicing satya as they can experience life as it truly is and experience the contentment of living truthfully.
Through practicing yoga we learn to respect others and live with an attitude of non-violence (ahimsa). The theme ‘do not harm’ is the keystone of yogic philosophy. Learning to live with peace, kindness and love toward self and others is vital to developing personal integrity and purity of life.
Truly developing integrity is the very essence of yoga. By spending time to know oneself, living honestly, and respecting self and others, we can determine our personal path and commit to living it whole heartedly. Yoga teaches us not only to talk the talk, but to walk the walk on and off the mat. This is integrity and integrity is the heart of yoga.