Monday, February 9, 2009

10 Guidelines: Asteya (non-stealing)

This week I’d like to come back to the Yama’s and Niyama’s. Little things were pulling me in this Yamas and Niyamas. Yoga Journal had an article in February’s issue about them. A fellow yoga teacher mentioned to me that she teaches Ahimsa and Satya to her class at the Y (but noted that the class seems to like Mula Bandha better). And as it is still the beginning of the year, what a better way than to move back into mindful living. I’m going to make it my intent to review one per month. I’m sure I intended to do this originally, but, you know how it goes!
direction. Deborah Adele’s new book came out:

Yamas (or self restraints)
Ahimsa - non-violence
Satya - truthfulness

Asteya - non-stealing
Brahmacharya - walking with the divine/energy moderation
Aparigraha - non-attachment

Niyamas (or observances)
Saucha - cleanliness
Santosa - contentment
Tapas - self discipline
Svadhyaya - self study
Isvara pranidhanani - surrender to the divine.

Asteya - non stealing.

This seems pretty straightforward on the surface. In fact, there is a commandment for this one: Thou Shalt not Steal. But what is the first thing the mind thinks of? Possessions, of course. Material goods. Physical objects.

But Asteya moves beyond the physical to what you can’t see. Ask yourself, in how many ways do you steal from yourself? From friends? Family? Co-workers? As Yoga Journal points out, if you are late, you are stealing someone else’s time. You can steal someone’s happiness.

For example, my Husband is super excited about having a hobby farm. Now, both of us know that this is not practical right now - we don’t have the space, the time or the means. Yet he enjoys researching all the different chicken breeds, the varieties of turkeys, what kind of cows are suitable for our climate, would goats be more practical than sheep. And he enjoys telling me about these. While I am not as enthused about cows or goats or sheep, I have learned (am still learning...) to try and listen to what he has discovered. It makes him happy.

But on the other hand, he is stealing time from himself too, due to the amount of energy he is putting into this vein of research when there are other things that need his attention: homework, broken garage door, his Mothers financial aid paperwork, etc. So Asteya can really be a double edged sword.

Or, how about this example....internet time at work. You’re not working after all. Ooo. Hit close to home on that one, didn’t I?

I loved this suggestion from Yoga Journal: have a Fair Trade mantra: respect the time and energy of others, give credit where credit is due, give - more than you take.

So this is what we will work on for February; Asteya. Try and be truthful (Satya) about where you are stealing from yourself and others.



Nikunj Gupta said...

About half way reading through you article I stopped. You are explaining Asteya and talking about a farm (killing --> Ahimsa)??

Kristin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristin said...

I'm sorry you felt you had to stop reading and you do raise an interesting point.

However, I am a person who does care that animals are treated humanely, as is my husband. A hobby farm does not necessarily mean the automatic slaughtering of animals. He is interested in homegrown eggs, wool and milk. Please do not assume that a "farm" means a place where animals are treated poorly, as there are many farmers who go to great lengths to make sure their animals are cared for with great respect.

I try not to judge people, because I am not perfect either.

Adam Rockwell said...

I'm gonna have to agree with Nikunj Gupta on this one. Turkey eggs?? Come on dude. My wife thinks you should give your husband a break on the garage door!

Kristin said...

Hey Adam,

What about turkey eggs?

Let my dear sister know that I prefer a garage door that goes up and down rather than being stuck in the down position. :)

Hi to Fin!

Linda-Sama said...

kristen, thanks for stopping by my Yoga Journey!

since you asked about Buddhist books and since you teach yoga, I highly recommend the translation of the Yoga Sutras by Chip Hartranfft. It is relatively new and it is one of the required readings for Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training at Spirit Rock. The first translation of the Sutras that incorporates Buddhism -- and Chip is awesome!

if you have any questions feel free to email me at linda.sama AT gmail DOT COM