Asteya - Non-Stealing - How to Practice the Third Yama?
Asteya Yama, the third of the five Yamas mentioned in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali promotes the idea of non-stealing - not taking anything from anyone without consent. Asteya comes after Ahimsa (nonviolence) and Satya (truthfulness).
The Yamas are ethical observances. So, it is evident that the concept of not taking what isn’t ours comes under them.
However, Asteya has a deeper meaning and can be more subtle. A simple wish, like ‘I wish I were as beautiful as her’ or ‘I wish I had as much money as them’ are acts of stealing.
Asteya tells us that we should not take what is not offered (emotions, energy, time, and thoughts) by words, thoughts, or deeds by deceit, exploitation, or force.
Looking for satisfaction in external factors, people, situations, or materials is not the right thing to do. We may be tempted to steal when we subconsciously believe we do not have enough. We can associate this feeling with greed.
How to Practice Asteya?
We believe achieving the habit of non-stealing requires the willpower to avoid taking what is not ours. Also, we know you are not a pickpocket or a thief reading this for a laugh. But fun talk apart, we must go beyond the idea of Asteya as we think.
We need to put an effort to be satisfied with what we have. For this, we should embrace sustainable habits, such as shopping for what we want, ethically working to earn enough money, and seeking permission before using what does not belong to us.
The simplest way to practice non-stealing is to give back and be grateful for the life we have. Donating to a charity program, helping others, and other similar simple acts can help us walk the path of Asteya.
What do you feel when you hear the word abundance? It means to have plenty of something. For instance, abundant love.
Believing that what we have is enough can help us stop wanting less. When we desire less, we are happier with ourselves.
How to Stop Stealing from Ourselves?
Forgetting the Past
Until now, did you feel like you often steal from yourself? We steal our own joy when we concern ourselves and overthink about the past or future. When we worry about the future, we plan for things to be smooth. But they often are not nearly perfect, making us sad or striving for perfection in all things.
While trying to be better is one thing, becoming obsessed with perfection can make our life chaotic, and we end up stealing our time.
Similarly, thinking of our past leads us to stumble across pleasant and undesirable memories. Somehow, unpleasant thoughts dominate our thoughts, and we get stuck in guilt and regret. It causes us to steal our happiness.
Being judgemental separates us from others, and not in a good way. By reducing our habit of judging others, we free ourselves from anxiety and depression. We can be devoid of stress by becoming non-judgemental.
Being non-judgemental frees our minds and gives us the space and time to spread love and receive love not only at the human level but also beyond the physical realm.
Believing we are all equal and beautiful the way we are, not labeling others or us, and giving out positive energy makes us feel calm and connected.
Leaving the Comfort Zone
Staying in our comfort zones for too long is ideally the best way to steal the opportunities to enjoy life at its best. It is better to leave our comfort zone and struggle than lose the possibilities for growth.
When we open ourselves to the undiscovered possibilities of the world, we elevate ourselves and boost others around us. Similarly, we should refrain from stealing these opportunities from others, letting them be part of their infinite potential.
How Does Asteya Yoga Help in the Practice of Non-stealing?
Non-stealing yoga uses breathwork to induce a relaxing mental effect, just like any other form of yoga. It boosts perception and clears up the mind. When we have an open, calm, and observant mind, practicing Asteya becomes simpler. By practicing it, we can enjoy our skills and value as they grow.