Last Wednesday we focus on asteya nonstealing, one of the five Yamas, or ethical rules or retrains that we seek to follow in our yoga practice. The other four are ahimsa, nonviolence; sataya, telling the truth; brahmacharya, sexual continence; and aparigraha, non-covetousness, non-greed or non- possessiveness.
With asteya, we reflected on the fact that, since we live on an abundant universe, there is no need to steal from others. Stealing doesn’t necessarily mean stealing material things only, it includes all other dimensions of taking possession of what belongs to others.
In my opinion Asteya is related to Aparigraha. The Aparigraha yama teaches us to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when the time is right.
Through our yoga practice, meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises), we can develop the capacity to listen to our internal wisdom and know when to let go.
During your yoga practice, the more you hold onto a pose; the more you strive to reach; the more you are not practicing Aparigraha. Why is this? Because you are attaching your actions to the results, and these expectations create attachment to the results, greed for that further step.
It is not that Yoga dismisses ambition. The problem is that ambition, the way we understand it in the western world seems to be a snow ball that would destroy everything in its wake.
As Lord Krishna said: “Let your concern e with the action alone, and never with the fruits of the action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction.”
Let me invite you to walk onto your yoga mat with the key objective of yoga, which is connecting to ourselves and being present. Pay special attention to any occasions where your ego moves you away and makes you strive for being better than the person on the mat next to us, or pushing ourselves into that super impressive asana that might result in injury and miss the point of connecting us with our selves.