Traditionally Asteya means non-stealing. Immediately we assume this means not stealing on a material level however as far as I am concerned it is so much more. Asteya is teaching us to diminish the desire to take from others (Whether that is in the form of jealousy, or taking their energy, happiness, opinions, etc ) and instead turn inwards and provide for ourselves – or realise that we already provide for ourselves.
Many of us have this weird perception that once we attain the perfect job, the perfect partner, a pay rise, the perfect pose… or someone else’s status in life… suddenly as if by magic we will be happy. We look at others and see the perceived ease at which they walk through the world and we wish that were us. It is.
You won’t be happy, EVER, unless you do the inside work. Asteya is teaching us that everything you need be content and at peace you already have. Actually peace and contentment is your natural state. It is all the thoughts, labels, attachments etc that you put onto everything that remove you from this natural state. It is greed coming from a perceived lack of abundance that creates your unhappiness. You need to stop looking externally and ‘stealing’ from the external to create a false identity and happiness.
In Green Room terms this also can be defined as owning what you are & what you have already. Being grateful for what you have. Dropping comparison, dropping jealously, dropping labels and replacing it with gratitude.
On the Mat: It is often tempting to have a sneak peak at someone else whilst practicing… and usually there will be immediate comparison in the mind. Maybe a little jealousy. The ego comes out. You might see the practitioner next to you doing the splits and you decide to push your body into the pose. If your body is not ready you are ‘stealing’ an expression of the pose that is not yours yet. You are believing that achieving that pose will add something to your identity. It will not.
Next time you see yourself comparing or being jealous of someone else’s pose, body or practice, see if you can replace the desire, the want, with a moment of appreciation for the beauty within that person. Gratitude that you can witness that.
After that moment of gratitude for seeing someone else’s beauty, can you practice asteya and sit in your version of the pose, your moment of abundance and perfection. Can you sit where you are in that moment? Not wanting more? Not wanting someone else’s version of the now? Not wanting someone else’s pose, biceps, or yoga pants? Can you sit in your version of the pose and realise you have everything you need?
Off the Mat: Start with the literal. See if you can stop ‘stealing’ & wanting – whether that is others looks, ideas, belongings or wisdom. Start to speak & live your own truth. Be as you, as you can be. We spend our life trying to work out where we fit in. But we don’t. We are all uniquely perfect and all exactly the same simultaneously. See if you can start to speak, act, and make decisions that reflect you - rather than the reflection of you that you want to be, or worse, think you should be.
Start not only to be you. But also start to be grateful for being you, and all the wonderful things you bring to this life.
#1 Pause – When you notice yourself being jealous or wanting something someone else has (first congratulate yourself, observing is the hardest step ) can you consciously change the thought pattern? Rather than saying ‘that should have been me,’ or ‘I wish I had that much money’ or ‘I want a body like that’ - can you exchange that stealing thought for a moment of gratitude for seeing/experiencing it. If your colleague gets a promotion can you be happy for them, and tell yourself you have more than you need? If you see a beautiful sunset can you observe and give thanks for witnessing it… rather than running to take a photo of it? If you see a brand newbie at class pulling out a pose you have been trying for years, can you be happy for them, and happy with your version of that pose?
Stop and give thanks for what you already have – abundance. Stop and give thanks to the situation. Stop and watch what you learn about yourself.
# Law of mirrors – My first class with Les Leventhal (a yogi rockstar) blew me away. To this day I remember (which is no small feat for my memory) him referring to the Law of Mirrors in the middle of class. He said if you see something beautiful, rather than being jealous, or wanting that - see that you are that beauty to. The Karmic Law of Mirrors states that one can only see what’s in them, regardless of whether it is actually present in reality or not. Embrace that! When you see a beautiful being (so everyone), a cute animal, a beautiful landscape, a caring friend, a loving grandmother…realise that the traits you see are present in you too. You have and are everything.
Good luck kids… This one plays with the mind J
Observe your life. Increase your awareness. Grow your consciousness.
KORINNE McNEILL: Yoga is life for Korinne. Creator of the Green Room Korinne is grateful everyday that she gets to share her passion with others.