The five yamas are ethical principles by which to treat others in your life, outlined as a limb of ashtanga (eight-limbed) yoga.
Applying the five yamas does not have to require drastic changes in your life. You can start small, with daily actions that are often overlooked. Read more to explore concrete ways of embodying the yama of asteya in your daily life.
Asteya translates to non-stealing, and ridding oneself of jealous tendencies in our daily lives. As humans we tend to continuously seek for things we do not own and possess, sometimes even going far to envy and be jealous of others. This muddles our authenticity (remember, satya!) and distracts us from enjoying the current moment.
- Googling or researching a question before asking someone about it. For example, in completing homework, or looking up the latest regulatory policies, have you attempted to minimize the time and attention you ask of others? In this way, we stop prioritizing others’ time before ours.
- Being punctual. Another common way to steal time is to be late to a meeting, or to miss a deadline. Of course, circumstances happen and life gets in the way. However, if you make an effort to plan buffer time windows (being early is being punctual!), you honor others’ time.
- List 5 things to be grateful for each morning or night. In your asana practice, are you often glancing at others’ and comparing yourself to them? Do you often scroll on Instagram and envy others’ lives and looks? Channel your attention back to yourself, your achievements and relationships, and realize that you lead a rich and full life.
The five yamas are hierarchical and interdependent, each building upon the last. By holistically integrating all five yamas into our lives, we remove the blinds of emotion, jealousy, materialism and instant gratification, and become more compassionate, honest and genuine to ourselves and others.