The Yamas In Practice: Asteya On the Path

Is it OK that I borrowed this graphic?

Is it OK that I borrowed this graphic?

Years ago my son admitted the reason he was scared to stay in his bedroom alone was because he thought a burglar would climb in through his second floor bedroom window. How many restless nights did he have, did we have, trying to convince him to go back to sleep. Who took his sense of security from him? A movie? A video game? Did he over hear a news report?

Years later, this same child, in a fit of anger focused on his older brother, called him  a whole host of names (insert your imagination) soon into my yoga teacher training. Guess what we were practicing? Non-stealing, Asteya the first of five outward practices, or Yamas. So, I asked this dear child "What did you just steal from your brother?", without a blink of an eye, his reply was "his awesomeness". Yeah. That is how yoga works.

It is easy to identify stealing of physical objects (money, cell phone, car, etc) by a masked thief who sneaks into your life and takes that which does not belong to them. However, how many times did someone hog up your time or show up late? How many times did you sit in the doctors office for over an hour without any apology or explanation of the delay? What about energy, who takes your energy without your permission, are your aware of what they are taking?

I work with someone who will repeat a statement at least 3 times, kid you not. In the meantime you are graciously waiting for the conversation to move on so that an issue can be resolved. And then there are those that hide in rooms using their cell phones, one guy playing a game the other watching YouTube videos non-stop. Taking time is no different to stealing pencils and paper from the storage cabinet.

Closer to home there is the cat who demands to be fed despite her bowl being filled to the brim with food and so you have to spend your time going over to reassure her. The child who dumps you with their expenses as they sit and play video games all day rather than getting a job or helping out around the house, in the yard. The deadbeat dad who decided not to pay child support for months.

Click bait from social media, the lure of the internet. Does all this sound familiar? Do I need to continue? I'm pretty sure by now that you get the drift!

2.37 Asteya Pratisthayam Sarva Ratna Upasthanam
When non-stealing (asteya) is established, all jewels, or treasures present themselves, or are available to the Yogi.
— Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

How to practice non-stealing? Easy! First recognize that it is happening, take pause, are you receiving equal energy in return? Are the accounts balancing?  Are you stealing from someone else's possessions, time, energy? Practice Satya, truthfulness and Asteya, non-harming and it will all come together.

On the yoga mat there are lots of ways to incorporate these concepts into your practice. Consider reading the following article, take your practice into a new direction.

Stick with this series of Yamas as we explore moderation, Bramacharya.

~Peace, Light, Love to All~