Asteya or non-stealing is the third Yama in the 8 limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.
2.37 asteya pratisthayam sarva ratna upasthanam
(asteya = non-stealing ; pratisthayam = firmly install/establish ; sarva = all, ratna = jewels, treasure, gems ; upasthanam = come into the presence of)
When non-stealing is established, all jewels, present themselves and become available to oneself.
Stealing or steya does not only define on the physical action of taking material thing that is not belong to you. It can also be stealing through deceit or exploitation of time, success, attention, opportunity, etc. by actions, words or thoughts.
The causes usually arises from envy, desire, greed, sense of lack of faith or feeling not enough, powerless.
A simple example is when someone says “you are so lucky to have…” but deep down, there may be a sense of lack or feeling ‘i don’t have’ or maybe secretly feeling envious or jealous instead of being wholeheartedly happy for them. This actually steals away our own light when we cannot acknowledge what we already have.
Practicing asteya teaches us to be more mindful of our thoughts and actions. Here’s how you can practice asteya on your yoga mat.
When attending a group yoga class, it is best to silent your mobile devices and arrive on time before the class start. Just imagine when you are in a calm and peaceful meditative moment or when you are focusing on your breath and suddenly a loud external ringing tone crashing into your zen moment or someone is rushing into the room throwing the bags on the floor and making unwanted distraction. We do not want to steal this peace moments from ourself or from others.
During yoga practice, our mind should truly be present on how we feel instead of how we look or even having the thought of not being good enough. We shouldn’t be pushing beyond the body limits to get the picture perfect postures. This thought and action steal sustainable and natural practice from ourself and may also promotes injuries. We all have our good and bad days. The key is to listen to the body, allow yourself to regress if the body needs to, or progress further if that is what the body allows. As you practice consistently, you’ll get better at it.
Be present, be mindful, feel the moment, accept what your body can do and enjoy the practice.