Because elephants needn’t fly

Asteya or non-stealing is one of four Yamas mentioned in the yoga sutras. When I was first introduced to the concept, the word stealing brought images of celebrities shop-lifting & acts of petty theft and robbery  to mind and I automatically marked myself higher on my yogic path. With imaginary Om chanting and temple bells ringing in my head, I listened on and realized that Asteya also goes on to mean coveting what is not yours.

That set my head reeling like my Facebook newsfeed with images of people with better lives, better luck, better bodies, better parenting skills & more. Well, of course we have all been guilty of that every now and then. It is natural. Or is it?

Let’s look at nature itself. If an elephant compared itself to a bird based on flying skills, the magnificent animal could live the rest of his life trying to be a bird. What a waste of an elephant that would be!

So why do we do this? Why do we want what others have? The root cause of this coveting lies in a lack of confidence in ourselves and what is given to us to satisfy our needs. This leads to thinking that we need to have what others have.

To address non-stealing, I think it is important to address this root cause rather than focus on a taboo list. So let’s begin with looking at the good (and not so good) in us. Let’s pause to appreciate what we have been given, because what we have is enough to create what we need. Let’s work on being the best version of ourselves. When we try to be someone else, we are stealing from the universe, the person that we already are.

Prapti (Yoga TTC200hr, January 2016)