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Asteya - Non-Stealing

Asteya is the third Yama (moral restraint. or ethical discipline).

"A" meaning not

"STEYA" meaning theft

Studies show that we steal because we feel deprived or like we don't have enough. This could be in material wealth or show up on a deeper, internal level as lacking love, support, time, etc. This yama encourages us to practice contentment and gratitude for what we have. It is about not taking more than we need and not taking what does not belong to us. This yama asks us to value the fullness of our lives so that we have no need to take unnecessarily.

As with most things, there is more than one way to understand this Yama. When I first met my wife, we talked a lot about yoga and Eastern philosophy (we still do). I told her that I had a really hard time leaning on other people when things got really hard. I told her that I didn't have many close friends for that reason and I wasn't particularly close to my family, either. She brough up Asteya, non-stealing. She told me that when I close myself off, when I shy away from others when I need them, I am stealing from them the opportunity to hold space for me. It shifted the entire way I think about non-stealing. I had never considered that in closing myself off I was taking from others the wonderful gift of giving unconditional love and support.

One of the quotes we have written on our whiteboard at home is, "When you're experiencing fear, lean in." It serves as a reminder that even though it may be scary to let other people in or let other people hold us, it's important to lean into that. The people around you love you and want you to be well. Don't steal the opportunity from them to do so and do your best not to stand in your own way of receiving that love. Not stealing from from others, but also not stealing from yourself.

There are so many ways to interpret this Yama. What comes up for you when you think about Asteya?

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