Yoga and the Four Gateways of Speech: Is it True? - Yoga Practice Blog

Yoga and the Four Gateways of Speech: Is it True?

how to become a yoga instructorBy Faye Martins

Ultimately the goal of all Yogic practices is oneness with the divine pulsation that flows through and underlies the very fabric of the universe. According to Maharishi Patanjali, this oneness is known as Samadhi or the state of enlightenment. On the Yogic path there are a number of prescribed actions and behavioral injunctions. These actions and cessation of other actions are detailed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. As we walk a Yogic path to the best of our interest and abilities, we will be able to harness and embody more and more divine luminosity.


In our daily interactions with others, there is an ancient Sufi practice that is often employed by spiritual seekers. This practice consists of four contemplative questions before engaging in conversation. The questions are known as the Four Gateways of Speech: Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Necessary? Is my Timing Appropriate? An uplifting practice is to allow these four questions to percolate in the back of your mind as you go throughout your day. We all affect each other with our thoughts, words and actions. Words that are uplifting will not only uplift other people, they will also uplift your own heart and spirit.

Take the example of an unpleasant exchange or interaction with your spouse, partner, child or coworker. Before approaching this person, take a few moments of quiet contemplation to determine what actually transpired and what was really said. Often our emotional reactions to unpleasant events are colored by the stories we attach to the other person’s words and actions. In other words, our memory of the exchange is often colored by the subjective context from which we view the interaction.


By pausing to sort out what is true, you will be able to more accurately gauge what really happened between the two of you before you approach the other person. In this way, you will not unnecessarily escalate negative feelings and will be able to see more clearly you own part in the exchange. This clarity will help to diffuse the situation and will support clear communication between the two of you, ideally ameliorating any hurt feelings and misunderstandings in the process. We all long for love, the more we are able to meet in the soft space of an open heart, the more our hearts will open and the exchange of love will increase, uplifting both ourselves and the people around us.

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