Asteya – giving, not taking

Asteya is our third Yama, this literally means ‘non-stealing; and again it can be taken literally, of course we should not steal – it’s bad.
But looking a little deeper into the meaning of the Yama, as by now you hopefully realise we must do, what do we ‘steal’ that is not ours to take in abstract form?
Other people’s attention/time/energies?

Resources from the earth?

Someone else’s creative ideas?
The sutras explain this yama as not to be literally stealing but that when Asteya (non stealing) is established then all treasures will come to the yogi, or when the heart is pure, all means will come.


Shiva, meditation, intentions, India, Mysore, Chamundi Hill


On researching this post I began to understand this moral restraint more and more. We are constantly taking, taking the air we breath, the food and water we eat and drink to survive, space, time and energy we take it all. So maybe this yama is teaching us, yes take these things to survive, but GIVE BACK what and when you can.

Recycle, buy all products with a conscience (oragnic, sustainable, local), grow something, plant a tree!

LISTEN when others are talking – PAY IT FORWARD.

Do something for someone else, everyday if you can, even if it’s just offering to make someone else a drink at work, smile back at the person in the shop, say thank you – spare some time for others, etc etc I think you get it – life is not just a one way street we drive straight ahead on and to hell with the others on it, be considerate to yourself, others and of course the planet that provides us with so much free resources.

On the mat you should practice asteya, I’ll use the quote that I use in my classes and I have previously written about here – don’t steal, or covet, what others have, just be happy with where you are at, and what you have got, not just on the mat actually but in life in general – comparison IS the thief of joy!



Also, and you will get bored with me saying this on here – GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! In this busy, crazy, online world you need to stop stealing your own time and give yourself a break! Detach from your social media (I promise you it will still be there when you return) turn off the TV (how often do you just have it on like background noise) make yourself a cuppa and just sit for a while like in the olden days when they didn’t have TV or iphones.

In this way the sutras say ‘All treasures will come to you’. Stop taking so much, start giving back. How pleasant the world would be if we all did just that.


2 thoughts on “Asteya – giving, not taking”

  1. I love your analysis, I am stealing all the time and need to stop, I have stolen my own joy, by constantly being unhappy with who I am, my own vanity on how I look, how much I weigh, how I am aging and then constantly comparing myself to others, on the mat I feel stressed because I worry if I don’t do the practice right, if someone else is doing it better and I have finally stopped going to practice, now am sabotaging myself because I have lost my form, am putting on weight and feel lost. How do you break the cycle, feel totally aligned with oneself and stop stealing joy and peace from your own self?

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, which has really struck a chord with me. I have just written a whole post to help you and others break this cycle of ‘stealing our own joy’ I hope it will help you. All I can say to you personally is please please please, get back on your mat, start your practice again and all is coming!
      For me the practice is what keeps me from drowning in my own pool of self pity – and if you already have a practice then you are half way there! If you practice with a teacher I hope that they exude this philosophy, that everyone is an individual and that each practice is an individual journey for that person.
      With love and light, and bundles of virtual positivity – namaste!

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