The Yamas | Asteya

Patanjali outlines Yamas (restraints) as part of the eight limbs of yoga. One of those yamas is Asteya--or non-stealing.

The heart of Asteya is to not take anything that is not willingly given. 

As I researched this idea online I found that some of the guidelines for this principle are:
  • Always give people fair value for labor or product.
  • Never take things that are not offered.
  • Never purchase cheaper things if the price is the result of improper method (e.g., pyramid scheme, illegal business, stolen goods, etc.)
While few of us are cat burglers, asteya encompasses a broader definition than what will land us in jail. 

Linda Sparrowe, editor of Yoga International writes, “We attempt to fill the void by stealing other people’s attention, energy, or strength so we feel better about ourselves...clinging to someone because we are too afraid of being alone or because we doubt our own abilities—that’s stealing as well.”

Practical Ways to Practice Asteya

We have to start to witness the places where we might be "stealing" in ways we haven't defined it before:

  • Become aware of where we are taking things that are not willingly given.
  • Make sure that we are giving our employer all of the time he/she is paying us for. 
  • Make sure we aren't getting a "deal" from someone because they are desperate for the money by paying fair compensation--even if it isn't asked for.
  • Share credit with the other people who have helped us accomplish. 

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© Yogi with a Day JobMaira Gall