Yoga Sutra challenge day #3 Asteya

Yoga Sutra challenge day #3 Asteya -- Non-stealing. Not taking that which is not given.

Before we talk about Asteya let's check in and see how we did with Satya(Truthfulness).   I thought
this one would be the easiest but again, there were some challenges.   Mostly because I felt like if I told the truth about how I was feeling it might be hurtful to others.  So I felt like I was left holding these feelings/emotions in my lap and didn't know exactly what to do with them.  I know that we are suppose to acknowledge them and then let them go.  It's the letting them go part I need to figure out how to do.

I noticed how difficult it is to be completely honest.  Someone asks you, "how are you doing?"  You smile and say "I'm okay. How are you?"  When you really want to say "I'm doing terrible, this happened....that happened......" but we don't.  We smile and say "I'm ok".   We might even be dishonest with ourselves.  We tell ourselves we're too busy to meditate.  We tell ourselves that it's okay to use cupcakes and cosmopolitans to make ourselves feel better.  We might tell ourselves that we've got everything under control and we don't need any help.  These are some the challenges I faced.   Being honest with myself was been the hardest part of Satya.

Now, on to day#3:  Asteysa - non-stealing.  Again, the obvious we already know.  We don't steal material things.  This one is a no brainer.  What causes people to steal anything whether it be stealing things or money, or stealing credit for someone else's work is desire.   Desire for something other than what you have.  One of the fundamental principals of yoga is letting go of desires.  (remember my nemesis: contentment - we'll take more about that on day#7)

Taking something which is not given.  This makes me think of taking someone's self-esteem when you put them down or criticize them.  I took a yoga workshop yesterday on how to bring yoga to folks who have been through some trauma or are recovering from substance abuse or domestic violence.  We talked about how the children who have been abused have had their innocence stolen from them.  This is an extreme example but you get the idea.  Taking something which is not given is stealing.

I believe for most of us, this one will be easy.  We don't take anything which is not given.  That means if the distracted cashier gives you more change than she should - you give it back.  You don't take credit for someone else's work.  You don't sign up to do seva to get a discount and then don't do the work.  

Asteya, I believe also refers to not taking people's time and energy unnecessarily.  You know those people that you're afraid to make eye contact with for fear that you'll be spending the next 20 minutes hearing all their problems?  You know the ones that you don't dare ask how they're doing.  Be respectful.  Don't engage in gossip.  Gossip is a form of stealing someone's reputation and it's just plain mean.  It can be challenging at times when you get frustrated with someone, but try to just walk away when the gossip begins. 

Well, that's all I have to say about that for now.  Truth be told, this experiment is much hard than I thought.  It's interesting to notice how often the opportunity to practice these principals comes up in a day.  If I'm being honest with myself, I have a lot more work to do on myself.  Onward and upwards.... day after day, we are given yet another opportunity to make positive changes in our lives.  Choose wisely and forgive yourself when you make a mistake.


  1. I think a lot of us steal in subtle ways. Your example of time is great. My sister and husband got into a fight--long story, but part of it had to do with her driving as she kept cutting people off, then she got mad when they did the same to her and she started calling them names instead of driving. That could be seen as a type of stealing. John was also mad because he has spent a lot of time helping my sister and he felt that she spat on it. I was in the middle, just wanting it all to end and he got mad at me because I reminded him of her--I felt like my serenity was stolen.

    I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but people steal ideas and pass them off as their own; people get friends to believe something that isn't true--that is stealing trust. Maybe on some level, we all are thieves.

  2. I'm taking YTT 200 and doing a report on Asteya and find I am so guilty of a lot of these. I like that example of time also. I think that happens to a lot of us. Now I will be more aware of it and know how to handle it. Hadn't thought of the driving one...cutting someone off, but that's a good one too.


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