Yoga Exploration: Asteya

by Katie Bock

As we move down the path of yoga philosophy we reach Asteya or Non-Stealing.  When we think of stealing immediately what comes to mind is taking an object from someone or some place.  And many of us think well I am good in this department I would never steal something.  And in all honesty that was my beginning thought too.  However when you dive deeper into Asteya it becomes so much more.

 Patanjali wrote “Asteyapratisthayam sarvaratnopasthanam” Sri Swami Satchidananda translation, to establish in non-stealing, all wealth comes. So what does that mean?  Before I tackle that lets step back a minute.  What we think of stealing is only a small part of what stealing can be.

Have you ever been late to an appointment?  That is stealing time from someone.  This is definitely one I am working on.  When someone schedules time in their day for us, we must respect that and when we are late we are stealing time from them.  That is a new thought, right?

Or how about talking with friends?  Person A is so excited about this vacation, then person B comes in and takes over talking about their vacation to the same place.  Is there a time you can think of that occurring?  That is stealing joy or a moment from someone.  We all want to be heard, we all want our moment to speak.   So much so that often we are not truly listening and focus only on what we will say next.

Stealing is not simply taking an object from a person or place.  Stealing is taking joy, ideas, time, thoughts, and moments.  And so what Patanjali was saying is when we stop stealing from others and live in our own joy, our own ideas, our own thoughts and so on we will be full of wealth.

Something to think about.  By no means are any one of us a bad person because we are late or we interrupt a conversation, however being mindful of our actions and what we may be taking from others can help us to create our own joy, thoughts, moments, and so on.  We are all on the earth together, so let’s be mindful.  Practice Asteya and create your very own everything!

Want to go deeper into Yamas & Niyamas Check out Debra Adele’s Book


Katie B