In Sanskrit Asteya means the avoidance of stealing and to not be coveted or jealous. Asteya is one of the five restraints we must abide by to be enlightened in the eight limbs of yoga that was compiled by Patanjali Maharishi.

Mostly when I think of stealing I imagine a man in a mask a black and whit stripy t-shirt creeping into someone house late at night and taking the TV without waking up the guard dog. But we must be clear about what we mean with regards to stealing.

When I was a child my father used to give me any shiny new pound coin he had in his wallet, saying they were only for me. I became so accustomed to them belonging to me that I thought every shiny pound coin I came across was mine! My mum kept (and to my knowledge still does) a collection of coins in the car to pay for parking. I once decided that the coins in this collection were also mine. The next time we went shopping together she didn’t have any money to pay for the ticket so I spent 10 minutes asking strangers to change notes into coins. None that day seemed to be helpful enough so I had to buy something small to get the change. The bad karma of my action taught me a lesson that day that I only deserved the shiny pound coins my father gave me, not the ones that I also found! Taking anything that is not given with permission and knowledge, even if you give it back or return it later, is also a form of stealing.

It is also our duty to ask permission, receive consent and to use for the purpose we initially intended it for or truthfully declare our purpose for the request. For example we must not take our partners car with knowledge and permission if that person thinks you are driving your old mother to the hospital when in fact you are gong to see you lover! This is not only cheating but also stealing from your partner.

We must learn to dissolve these bad qualities within us. The chant OMKAR helps to clear the Steya (opposite to Astaya). The sound vibrates throughout our Chakra’s (energy zones) from bottom to top, spinning each Chakra clockwise, releasing the bad energy.