Asteya

The first day of my yoga training started with students shuffling in one by one, finding a spot to lay our yoga mats down and then decorating the surface of them with various literature and notepads. We slowly began introducing ourselves to our neighbours, learning about our previous educations, where we came from and the history of our yoga practice. After a short while the teachers silenced our chatter and they began reviewing the outline of the course, including expectations and guidelines. One subject they highlighted of ethical importance was a Yama known as Asteya. Asteya is translated from the Yoga Sutras as Non-Stealing and is one of the five Yamas (the do nots) within the Eight Limbs of Yoga. The Yamas and Niyamas are ways of “right living”, representing the commitment to not only ourselves, but towards others as well. The practice of Asteya outlines that one must not steal or have any intention to steal.

We continued to shine another light on the definition now with a focus and discussion on the non-stealing of time. As a group we meet three times a week for a few hours to have an asana practice, lectures, discussions and practice teaching. With an extensive amount of material to cover over a short period we spoke about the importance of arriving to class on time. Since time spent at the training was so valuable it was important to allow ourselves time to find a place in the room, set-up our space and socialize with other students before we began our focus on learning. As I like to say sometimes before class starts; time to land before you begin.

We explored our relationship with time and respecting other’s time and energy during the training. When a student arrives late it disrupts the practice or interrupts the lecture as they enter into the room and find their space within it. Or on the other hand, the class is waiting for the late comers to arrive and reduces the time allotted for the lecture or class. At a glance Asteya appears to be quite simple and obvious, but once we started examining the different ways in which it can be translated and applied, it made for a worthy discussion.