You’ll remember from an earlier Monday mailing that I’m studying the Yamas & Nyamas (and the Eight Limbs of Yoga) this summer and sharing some of that with you. Well, here’s my third installment from those studies.
To review, the Yamas are the first set of yoga’s eight limbs – they are like commitments or what we might call vows in modern times.
The third Yama is Asteya, non-stealing. It’s a tough idea to wrap you’re head around because we don’t think of ourselves as people who steal. And that is because we’re thinking too narrowly – you may not shoplift or steal anyone’s money, so you’re inclined to say to me, “Paula, I don’t steal!” – okay, let’s check that out. . .
- Do you steal time from your employer or your friends by showing up late for meetings or events?
- Do you procrastinate (giving less than is needed) to a project or priority?
- Do you cut corners, assuming no one will notice, when you’re engaged in an endeavor or piece of work?
I’m here to assure you, these are all examples of how we steal.
On the yoga mat, there are several ways we steal – and while you might not think so, our theft is quite literal! We steal when we. . .
- Arrive at the yoga studio late and with carelessness, make a clumsy, noisy entrance – in doing so, steal from the other yogis – we steal their peace and fail to regard the mat as a sacred place.
- In the midst of a challenging asana (pose) scan the room to see how everyone else is doing the pose – comparing our own capacity with others – and as the Roosevelt quote offers, “Comparison is the thief of joy!”
- We push ourselves into a stretch – well beyond where our body might tell us to go – only to injure ourselves, stealing opportunities to enjoy the practice tomorrow, because we’re nursing our pulled muscle!
I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of ALL of these forms of stealing. And as a result, I’m learning to incorporate Asteya into many aspects of my everyday life:
- How might it change my everyday experience of life if I were to apportion to the task at hand the full time, energy, and effort it deserves?
- What might my outputs be if I banished procrastination from my process and focused entirely on the work I’ve committed to do?
- What might my yoga practice look like if I am simply grateful for the range of motion I can achieve as I approach a pose?
Where can you spot “stealing” in your own life? Where is it making you small, and interfering with your joy in the moment?
I invite you to join me in finding fresh places for Asteya in your everyday life! Live well, my friends. And let me know if I can help!