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Asteya is the third of the Yamas and refers to ‘non-stealing.’ When we think of stealing oftentimes the first thing that comes to mind is theft of material possessions belonging to another person.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali give us the idea that we should not force things to come to us – if we want things to come to us we should make sure that we are doing the right thing in our lives:

”To one established in non-stealing, all wealth comes.” Sutra 2:37

As with many of the Yamas and Niyamas, there is more to the idea of Asteya if we care to think about it on a deeper level. Here are other ideas on non-stealing for consideration:

  • Not stealing another persons time – are you always running late? Do other people have to wait for you to show up?

  • Buying consciously – there are many items that we can purchase Fair Trade – coffee, clothing, chocolate etc.– caring for those who deserve to be paid a fair wage and thus not stealing from those less fortunate than ourselves;

  • If we don’t care for our health, eat junk food and don’t exercise we are stealing from ourselves – we are stealing our own health and wellness;

  • Consider the words you speak to and about others – are you stealing emotionally from another person by careless and hurtful words? Causing another person damage by your words is stealing another persons wellbeing.

  • What about on your yoga mat? Are you practicing being present and in the moment or is your mind wandering off to what you have to do after class? You are stealing the experience of your yoga practice from yourself.

A lot of these thoughts on Asteya bring up the idea of us not being content with what we do have, whether we are not happy with what we have materially, physically, spiritually or emotionally. Practice contentment with what you do have currently in your life, living with gratitude and mindfully working on self improvement. Consider the idea of why you want something in your life? What is the real reason you desire something and answer yourself honestly.

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