Practicing Asteya

Practicing Asteya

by Suse Silva | 14/04/2015

This month’s theme at YogaFit is Asteya (non-stealing).  This yama calls on us to live with integrity and reciprocity (Adele, 60). Let’s think of ways in which we may be stealing. We may be stealing from others, stealing from the earth, stealing from the future and/or stealing from ourselves.

 

Take a moment to think about a time when someone left you feeling uplifted after talking to her or him. Now think of a time when someone left you feeling depleted. This is an example of how we steal from others. We steal from others when we inattentively listen, for example: when we are on our iphones instead of making eye contact with the person speaking to us. When we compete with others by “one-upping” their experience, instead of being supportive and empathizing, we are taking their experience away from them. Let’s let go of competition, judgment and expectations and let’s practice being more uplifting when engaging in conversations this month.

 

On April 22, we will be celebrating earth day and we welcome all of you to join! Let us take a moment to look around our homes at all of the things that we have taken from the earth. We might begin to notice the food, water, etc. that we have taken without reciprocation. Let’s practice Asteya from the earth.  By thinking creatively we can give back to the earth this month and always. We can give back by planting a tree, cleaning our neighborhoods of litter, unplugging electronics and turning off lights that are not in use, taking shorter showers, etc.

 

Just because you and I will not be on this earth in 100 years doesn’t mean we should steal from future generations by leaving it in a state of desolation.

 

“If we stop long enough to gaze at what is laid out before us, to let the mystery of beauty and the wonder of the seasons sit deeply in our soul, our hearts cannot help but burst forth in thanksgiving and gratitude to life itself. […] I am reminded of the native wisdom to make all decisions as if they mattered seven generations into the future (Adele, 64).”

 

We may not only steal from others, the earth and the future, we may also be stealing from ourselves. We steal from ourselves by imposing an outside image of ourselves, by the demands of expectations we place on ourselves and by self-sabotaging (Adele, 66). By practicing the YogaFit Essence (Breathing, feeling, listening to our bodies, staying in the present moment, letting go of judgment, letting go of competition and letting go of expectations) we can begin to honour ourselves. We have the power to create the life that we want to live, but first we must ask ourselves what kind of life we would like. Once that is figured out we must then put in the work to achieve it. “[…] We can dream and wish all we want, but we only get what we have the competency to have and keep. Anything else is stealing (Adele, 69).” Let’s not steal from our authentic self; that inner Self not defined by our jobs, roles, or hobbies, but rather by our experiences, wisdom and talent. Let us be who we are.

 

This month, let’s give back and practice gratitude for what we have been given. 

 

 

Sourced Material: The Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele. (Required reading material for Level 2)

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