Most of us are familiar with yoga as a form of physical practice, sometimes a painful one but a good workout nevertheless. In fact the physical practice of yoga (the asana) that we do in class and in our home is only one small limb of yoga. There are eight limbs as prescribed by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, Asana is the third rung on this ladder. Want to read more about the Eight Limbs? Yoga Journal has a couple of great articles check them out here.
The first limb comprises of 5 Yamas relating to ethical conduct. The second limb has 5 Niyamas relating to self-discipline and spiritual observance and ideally we’d have a good grasp on the first two limbs prior to engaging in the third, Asana. These limbs do their job by laying strong foundations to lead us toward and through the other five limbs where ultimately we land our minds and bodies at the door to enlightenment. There’s a lot to take in so for today the lens will focus in on the 3rd Yama, Asteya, the principle of non-stealing.
“To one established in non-stealing, all wealth comes.” – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra II.37
It’s obvious right? Stealing: bad. Not stealing: good. We can be the Kings of Oversimplification if it means we don’t have to look at how we might possibly be engaging in the less overt acts of stealing but the truth is energetic stealing happens all the time. Theft, like a stealth mental Ninja, seeks out opportunities to snatch at ideas, thoughts, judgements and time before we even know what’s happening. When we want or desire something that is not ours we are engaging in a form of stealing. How so? Surely we should be able to want without guilt. Have goals and aspirations to achieve and fly high in business, relationships, finance, health and wellbeing? Of course all these things are valid desires but if we focus on the things we don’t yet have, we are stealing value from the things we already do have.
As Rhyanna VL Yoga rolls out its first mentorship programmes the principle of Asteya is being held at the forefront of ethical conduct. Engaging as both recipient and giver of mentorship really brings home the essence of non-stealing. By giving guidance to new teachers the programme aims to give tools to the recipients so that they can find their own voice/style/method/structure of teaching.
Rather than just the rote receiving information, regurgitating it and reproducing a replica of what’s already being done. By the same token, the mentor must stay open to learning too, as everyone has some unique gift to bring to the experience. If a mentor takes on a role of complete authority by shutting off external suggestions and information it defeats the purpose of an equally shared learning environment.
Here are some other ways that we can engage Asteya during our practice and stop that Ninja in their tracks:
- Be cautious of comparison, concerning yourself with others abilities or lack thereof on the mat is stealing from your own practice. Do what YOU can to YOUR best ability.
- Stay as present as you can while in your practice by following instructions and guidance given, you can get back to your stories and dramas after class. Wandering off mentally takes away or literally steals from the present moment.
- Try to give yourself enough time to get to class. Arriving on time for your own time is a way to honour the value of that time. To always be rushing or running late actually steals from it.