FGK Mindful May: Asteya (non-stealing)

by - 2:13 PM

The theme for the second week of FGK Mindful May is asteya (pronounced ahs-TAY-yah) which is sanskrit for non-stealing. Asteya is one of the five yamas (or yoga ethic principles) that are basically guidelines for ways to live life mindfully off the mat.

Asteya: Non-stealing
These 10 rules or ethical guidelines that make up the yamas and niyamas are not far off from another set of ten rules that many of us may be familiar with, however I really liked the newer interpretation I found with them at teacher training.

For example: non-stealing. We all get it, don't take things that aren't yours. We know right from wrong. But what if we applied this in the concept of stealing something less physical, like stealing time or resources...

Stealing of Time

One way we can interpret asteya is in the stealing of time; stealing time away from others, and also ourselves.

We steal time from others when we are late, we steal time when we interrupt, and we steal time when we are distracted and not present when in the company of our family and friends. A great example of this is being on your phone while having a conversation with someone else.

Time is a very valuable thing - texting, checking facebook and email while at the dinner table or just spending time in the company of friends isn't just rude - its actually a form of stealing.

Asteya: Non-stealing

I found a nice description of this on the Lululemon blog:

"The root of the behavior [of stealing] is rooted in a belief that one’s own wants and needs are more important than those of others. This self-importance, selfishness, and sense of entitlement can manifest as negative behaviors."

When we are on our phones constantly in the presence of others, we are demonstrating that we believe our time and needs are more important than theirs. This can really impact our friendships and especially our relationships.
Be mindful, be present.

Finding Contentment with What We Have

When we constantly focus on comparing ourselves to others and create judgements about what we don't have, this can lead to manifestation of desires (in a negative way). It is 100% ok and awesome to have goals and draw inspiration from others. But when we start coveting or thinking that we are not enough because we do not have enough, that is where things turn sour.

These thoughts or feelings can begin to express themselves as jealousy and can project some serious negative vibes onto others. It also drives this fear of inadequacy, that we don't have the right car or clothes or house - and then we overcompensate to make us feel "whole."

But think about it - have you REALLY ever not had enough of something? Food, clothing, heat, water, love, air? Most of us have an abundance in our lives that we never really appreciate. The sutras teach that when we learn to practice this concept of non-stealing, we realize that everything we need will come to us naturally, and has always come to us naturally. The universe will provide, so to speak.

The Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali teaches us that “to one established in Asteya, all wealth comes.” So, the more we find contentment in what we have, the less we begin to feel these thoughts of fear, desire and jealousy. We begin to feel less of a need to steal from others, from ourselves and from the earth. And we become more wealthy than we ever thought imaginable, naturally.

How to Practice Asteya

The easiest way to begin for me was with the concept of stealing time. So this week, I encourage you to be mindful of how you steal time from others.

  • Respect people's time by not being late
  • Be mindful of how often you ask others for help. Is this something you could do yourself, or do you really need assistance?
  • Try not to interrupt someone's story just to share your ideas. Be a good listener - let them speak!
  • PUT AWAY your phone at the dinner table. Please. Or play this game:

The Phone Challenge

I started doing this several weeks ago for another reason entirely, but I have stopped bringing my phone or iPad into my bedroom at night when I sleep. This was very difficult at first, but has made a HUGE difference in my sleep and the time I get to spend with my husband in the morning and at night.

This week, I challenge you to leave your phone out of your bedroom - charge it in another room or on another floor if you can. See what a difference this makes in your energy, your mood and your relationships in the next few days.

It will also make next week's challenge a little easier ;) Enjoy your week, and continue practicing your attitude of gratitude.

Much love,
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