Yoga, as described in the yoga sutra, is made up of an eight fold path , each limb is meant to guide us to living a happier, more purposeful life in the now. The first limb of the eight fold path, yama, deals with one’s disciplined integrity in behavior, the ethics of cleaning up one’s act. Yama is social behavior, how you treat others and the world around you. These are moral principles. Sometimes they are called the don’ts or the thou-shalt-nots.
Asteya is the third of the yamas, restraints, and mean non-stealing. Easiest described as “not taking what is not freely given”. However there is a bit more to it than just the physical act of stealing.
Most of us would not call ourselves or the people close to us thieves in the typical sense. But if you look a little closer you might find small but significant acts that leave you feeling robbed.
Have you ever met someone that you just can’t point out what it is but every time they leave you feeling drained. Like they have just stolen all of your energy.
Do you constantly find yourself rushing from one thing to another, ticking things of your list but not really being aware of any of them, robbing yourself of experiences.
Or do you tend to cling on to only experience pleasure in life and at any cost avoid any pain or suffering. Leaving you feeling a desire and want for things, which in turn boils down to you not having enough.
Which if we think about it is the cause of stealing – not having enough. So the point with asteya is simply to realise that whatever you have, is enough. You are enough.
How to practice asteya in class, this can easily be applied to other aspect off life as well
- Trying to fully experience every pose (or anything in life), not rush or wait for the next. Even if your practice is usually fast paced, trying to slow your mind down
- Comparing yourself to what someone else looks like makes you miss out on how it feels for you.
- “Make the pose fit your body, not your body fit the pose”. In class the teacher will usually say quite a few alignment cues to every pose, use the ones that work for you and again, go more on how it feels rather than how it looks.
- Minimise distractions for your mind by keeping your eyes closed when possible or look at neutral objects in the room (a wall, your mat, or the floor) rather than at other people.
- Be kind and honest with yourself!
The Buddha said
“Be where you are . . . otherwise you will miss most of your life.”
This week we will focus on staying in tune with our breath, experiencing our whole body and the moment just as it is.