Asteya - Non Stealing

Asteya, non-stealing, is one of the five yoga restraints, or Yamas, according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. You can see why it’s easy to look this one over. It seems pretty obvious; don’t take what’s not yours. But Asteya can be looked at in a different way, too.

Have you ever thought about what is holding you back? Maybe you struggle with self-image, contentment, or being consistent. Let’s take consistency, for example. Say you struggle with maintaining a consistent yoga practice. You go for a few times a week for one month, then put it off the next. This lack of consistency is robbing you of your ability to reach your goals and advance in your practice. Asteya can also mean not hoarding materials that you don’t need, mindlessly consuming natural resources, coveting other people’s possessions, or appropriating other people’s ideas.

“I’m not good enough….”

The need to steal essentially arises because of a lack of faith in ourselves to be able to create what we need by ourselves. The moment we feel a sense of ‘lack’ in life – desire, want and greed arises. We begin to look for something to fill that ‘empty’ sensation, and often feel as though everyone else has what we want.

Lack, insecurity, wanting, feeling ‘incomplete’ …. Essentially it all boils down to feeling like there’s something missing. The word yoga means ‘to yoke’, ‘unite’, ‘connect’, or essentially to become ‘whole’, so by practicing each aspect of Yoga on and off the mat, we can move further towards feeling as though we already have enough, and we already are enough within ourselves.

O N . T H E . M A T

Do you push yourself beyond healthy boundaries in your practice because you’re afraid of not being good enough? Even subconsciously, there’s usually a little part of us that starts out with the best of intentions, but then about half-way through class, begins to tempt us towards practicing for the way a posture looks, instead of how it feels.

When we continually focus on pushing ourselves just a little too far over that ‘edge’ in order to attain a posture, we not only rob ourselves of a sustainable and natural practice, but we rob ourselves of being able to be present with the posture and with ourselves for exactly the way things are in that moment.

If we allow ourselves to be open and accepting to exactly how our practice is at that moment on the mat, we never need to feel as though we’re losing out if some asanas are a little out of reach at the moment. It is never the postures we are able to do that define our practice, but the amount of awareness we bring to them….

S O M E O N E . E L S E