The first of the 8 limbs is “Yama”. The yamas are 5 moral guidelines to follow, and they are mainly about our interactions with the world around us and ourselves. We’ve already explored the first one, Ahimsa (non harming), and the second one, Satya (truthfulness). Let’s dive into the third one!
The third ethical guideline of the yogic philosophy is Asteya, non stealing.
Asteya means that you shouldn’t steal from others, not only material things, but also their ideas, their time, their energy. We should aim to appreciate what we have and be mindful of taking anything that doesn’t belong to us.
Asteya on the mat
On the mat, it means that we shouldn’t rush to do a variation of a pose that we are not ready for or that simply isn’t right for our bodies, and learn to appreciate and master its maybe simpler form. We should also refrain from comparing ourselves to others and envying their strength or flexibility, as by doing so, we are stealing energy from ourselves. Asteya encourages us to appreciate our own value and cultivate gratitude for what we already have.
Every time we catch ourselves comparing ourselves to others or trying to force our body into a shape, can we take a step back and instead cultivate compassion towards ourselves? In our everyday lives, can we be more mindful of how much time and energy we take from others? Asteya, just like the other yamas, asks us to cultivate mindfulness throughout the day, in all our interactions with others and ourselves.
What about you? Is this yama one that you struggle with?