The Limbs of Yoga: Non-Stealing

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Non-Stealing (Asteya) 
Non-Stealing (Asteya)  means more than to take something without permission that does not belong to us. The word ‘steya’, means greed based on a perceived lack of abundance. So stealing stems from the belief that there’s not enough for everyone. Asteya also applies to waste in all of its forms: energy, water, and unnecessary material consumption. It’s complex as we often steal from ourselves and others without even realizing it – doing some work off the side of our desk when our employer is paying for it is a good example. It seems small, but the literal outcome is we are justifying stealing through our own entitlement.

We also steal our own happiness by living in ways which are harmful and damaging, and not being in our dharma. This week, think about time when you have taken what isn’t yours, or denied yourself what is yours. Practice this with love and self compassion, it isn’t a blaming or shaming exercise, it is an exercise in self love and awareness, and knowing on an intrinsic level that you harm others by denying them, and whether you think you are ‘entitled’ or not, that is an opinion, and not truth.

Polly McGee