The Yamas - Asteya: Non-Stealing From Yourself & Others
You Are & Have Enough
“To one established in non-stealing, all wealth comes.” – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra II.37
Asteya / NonStealing, is another one of the the Yamas - five concepts, within the 1st Limb of Yoga / within the 8 Limbs of Yoga - that helps us deepen our relationship with the external world.
These five concepts are:
- Ahmisa/ NonViolence
- Satya/ Truthfulness
- Asteya/ NonStealing
- Brahmacharya/ NonExcess
- Aparigraha/ NonAttachment
Asteya encourages us to reduce the amount of thoughts, words, actions, energy, ideas, things, experiences, etc. we MAY be intentionally or unintentionally using to excessively take from ourselves, others and the planet.
You might be thinking..."Why would we take more than we need"?
In this blog, I will be sharing everything you need to know about Asteya/ NonStealing - the 3rd Yama, within the 1st Limb of Yoga - and how you can use it to improve your life.
Brief Yoga History: Yoga Sutras + 8 Limbs of Yoga
The true meaning of Yoga is the union of body, mind, soul, and spirit to reduce suffering.
According to the practice, we often suffer because of not knowing our true Self and the illusion of separation of our individual consciousness from Universal Consciousness.
So taking a step back... where do the Yamas come from?
The Yoga Sutras contain 196 verses, which discuss the aim of yoga and how you strive for freedom, liberation and self-realization - the 8th Limb of Yoga, also called Samadhi.
The Yoga Sutras were transcribed by a man (and most likely many of his colleagues and students) named Patanjali, presumably from India, living somewhere between the 2nd and 4th century BC, and act as a practical guide to assist you on your journey of remembering the ultimate union.
According to the Sutras, beginning the pursuit of self-realization is the most significant step in life – as they make us aware of our pitfalls and how to overcome them.
Why would we take more than we need?
Yoga philosophy says this type of thinking, speaking and behavior happens when we are experiencing thoughts and feelings of:
- Not Enough
Basically this boils down to feeling like there’s something missing. So how do we start to feel more complete?
Practice the opposite.
How to feel content with what the present moment is offering
The word yoga means ‘to yoke’, ‘unite’, ‘connect’, or essentially to become ‘whole’.
So by using the study and embodiment of yoga philosophy and practice of yoga poses, breathwork, reducing attachment to the 5 senses, concentration techniques/ active meditation and passive meditation, we are assisting our bodies, minds and emotions to move further towards feeling united.
When these parts of us are united, this is the key to thinking, speaking and feeling as though we ARE enough and that we HAVE enough in the present moment.
Why is this important?
When we feel like we ARE enough (beautiful, handsome, healthy, happy, etc) and HAVE enough (money, food, water, shelter, air, friendships, material items) the the present moment becomes a great place to be and we reduce the time we spend regretting the past and worrying about the future.
We find peace and we become free.
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” - Lao Tzu
So how do we practice Asteya/ NonStealing?
We begin by practicing on our mats.
Our bodies, breath, thoughts and emotions on the mat (in a public yoga class or on our own) are a direct example of our embodiment of yoga, it's philosophy and the union it desperately wants us to experience.
Once we establish a consistent practice on the mat, it then becomes easier to allow the concepts to seap into the moments of our every day lives.
Examples of practicing Asteya ON & OFF your mat include:
ON The Mat:
- Focus on yourself and how you are feeling in each pose
- Focus on the quality of your breath...slow, long and deep, or short and shallow?
- Reduce comparing your practice to anyone else’s. You have no idea how long they have been practicing, how often or other sports and activities that might have assisted them
- Set some goals for your practice that have nothing to do with the poses. If you want to do a handstand, great, but you might think about why? Conquering a fear, you are taking advantage of the benefits of being upside down and reverse blood flow, you want to feel stronger, you want to acquire a new skill? The journey to a handstand can have some amazing benefits to your daily life as well. Think of your yoga practice as a metaphor for life. It's a life practice.
OFF The Mat:
- Reduce comparing yourself to others
- Reduce not feeling worthy enough
- Reduce being fearful of trying something new
- Listen more, reduce talking at people, and converse more
- Reduce persuading yourself or others with negative intentions
- Reduce jealousy and stealing time, attention, opportunities, acknowledge your own and others successes
- Reduce stealing from the planet and future generations by using more resources than you need, or buying more than you need
- Create equal respect of ourselves and others
- Reduce stealing our own happiness by clinging to the fear, doubt or worry or living too much in the past or future
Benefits of practicing Asteya/ NonStealing:
- Increased Self Awareness - When you’re able to take note of when and how you could be stealing/ taking more than you need in everyday life, you’re automatically improving your ability to exercise self-awareness.
- Boost Gratitude - Taking inventory of what you have will help you understand the magnitude of “blessings” around you that perhaps go unacknowledged in the everyday hustle.
- Creates More Space (Mental and Physical) - When you let go of the things that you don’t need (possessions, limiting thoughts) you create space for the Universe to provide you with more of what you desire.
Additional benefits include:
- Exudes vibrations of love and peace
- Increases willpower and acceptance
- Generates mental fortitude
- Cultivates courage and confidence
- Helps to overcome anger, fears and insecurities
- Expands our sense of belonging and purpose
- Improves our relationships with the self and with others
- Increases patience, compassion, empathy, communication
- Reduces conflict and stress which helps to achieve peace of mind
Mantra and Active Meditation Technique for Asteya
The Lakshmi mantra to cultivate more thoughts, words and actions of abundance and prosperity in our lives.
- Om Namo Lakshmi - The eternal source-sound-vibration of creation, to honor or solute, Goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both material and spiritual), good fortune, and the embodiment of beauty.
- Prema Devi Mataji - Love, Goddess, Mother, ji" is used at the end of a name to show respect, similar to adding "Shri" before a name.
- Sri Ma Jaya Ma Jaya Jaya Ma
Would you like to start embodying these amazing concepts to enhance your life and the lives around you?
Check out my 8 Limbs Yoga Tribe!
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