THEME OF THE WEEK: ASTEYA (non-stealing)
Asteya is the fourth Yama of Patanjali’s 5 Yamas of the Yoga Sutras.
“asteyapratisthayam sarvaratnopasthanam” When abstention from stealing is firmly established, precious jewels come – 11.37
“Upon the man who does not take what does not belong to him, all riches are showered. Being without desire, he effortlessly attracts what is precious, materially and figuratively, including the gem of all jewel, virtue” BKS Iyengar
Why is it that when we want so badly what another has, that we end up feeling like we have so little? It is a brain state caused by our thinking which makes us feel rich or poor. At any time, several realities exist, and by focusing on lack of prosperity we create it, and when giving abundantly to others, we create a sense of wealth in our hearts which must be magnified. TKV Desikachar teaches that when we are trustworthy, and do not covet what others have, we are naturally given everything because people respond to us from a full heart, and want to give to us from their own sense of overwhelming abundance in our presence.
Everything is shared with the yogi who wants for nothing. That is the paradox.
Asteya on the mat and apparatus –
Do you push yourself beyond healthy boundaries in your practice because you’re afraid of not being good enough? Even subconsciously, there’s usually a little part of us that starts out with the best of intentions, but then about half-way through class, begins to tempt us towards practicing for the way a posture ‘should’ look, instead of how it feels. When we continually focus on pushing ourselves just a little too far over that ‘edge’ in order to attain a posture, we not only rob ourselves of a sustainable and natural practice, but we rob ourselves of being able to be present with the posture and with ourselves for exactly the way things are in that moment.
If we allow ourselves to be open and accepting to exactly how our practice is at that moment on the mat, we never need to feel as though we’re losing out if some asanas are a little out of reach at the moment. It is never the postures we are able to do that define our practice, but the amount of awareness we bring to them.
Stealing someone else’s peace in class. The moment you enter the room, you enter a sacred space; it may be the only place some people are able to find peace. Same goes with turning up late. When we disturb the peace upon entering the room late or talking with our friends, we really do steal anyone else’s chance of fully focusing on their breath and practice.