In yoga, the practice of Asteya or non-stealing strengthens an attitude of abundance rather than a belief that one is not good enough, smart enough, happy enough, wealthy enough, or worthy enough.
If we are living in fears and lies, our dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives leads us to look outward, with a tendency to steal what is not rightfully ours. We steal from others, we steal from the earth, we steal from the future, and we steal from ourselves. We steal from our own opportunity to grow ourselves into the person who has a right to have the life they want. Deborah Adele
Focusing our attention outward on others leads us to compare ourselves with them, which results in dissatisfaction. When we measure ourselves by others’ accomplishments or lifestyles, we find ourselves to be below or above those standards. If we come up short, our discontent leaves us feeling cheated. If we exceed their standards, our superiority leaves us feeling arrogant. Neither scenario promotes integrity or reciprocity but instead triggers competitiveness. Competitiveness operates from a belief of limitation rather than abundance. That is, if I don’t get there first and take as much as I can, it will all be gone and I’ll get nothing. In other words, if you win, I lose.
On the other hand, abundance operates from the belief there is enough for everyone, which is furthered along when we practice taking nothing without giving something back (reciprocity). Currently, we are facing life-threatening climate change impacts due to stealing from Mother Earth and not giving back to her. As Adele writes, “Imagine what would happen if each time we took something, we gave something back.”
As you practice the six yoga poses below, give back to yourself by listening to your inner needs. You can do this by listening intently to the sensations of your inner experience. Don’t compare your capacity in each pose with how “well or poorly” I am expressing it. Instead, discover your own unique capacity so you can begin to know who you are in every moment. Taking only what we need in each moment is a gift of self-love and abundance. By not stealing more than you need, you gift others with the opportunity to also have.
- Take the first minute in each pose to notice your body “settling in”.
- Then, with your inner awareness, notice where sensation is showing up.
- Rather than attempting to change the sensation through physical movement, hold your awareness on one area expressing sensation (i.e., your shoulders). Notice what happens.
NOTE: If the sensation being revealed to you is painful, rather than merely uncomfortable, take a less intense variation of the pose. Remember, we steal from our body, our mind and our spirit, when we inflict pain upon any aspect of ourselves.
VIPARITA KARANI (Legs Up The Wall) 10 minutes
– block (high, medium or low height) under sacrum
– legs lifted or knees bent & feet on the floor
SALAMBA SIRSASANA (Supported Headstand) 1-2 m
– 5 blocks braced into wall
– thoracic spine braced into blocks
SALAMBA SARVANGASANA (Supported Shoulderstand) 1-3 m
– 1 to 3 blankets under shoulders
– upper arms belted @ shoulder width
– toes into wall; little to no weight into hands
SALAMBA HALASANA (Supported Plow Pose) 1-2 m
– 1 to 3 blankets under shoulders
– soles of feet into wall
– outer hips & outer ankles aligned
SALAMBA SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA (Supported Bridge) 5 REPS
– feet on chair seat; hold front chair legs with hands
– INHALE, press into feet & lift pelvis HOLD FOR 3 COMPLETE BREATHS
– EXHALE, release pelvis to floor REST FOR 1 TO 2 COMPLETE BREATHS
SAVASANA (Corpse Pose) 5-10 m
– bolster or weight on upper thighs to encourage thigh bones to release toward mat
– Repeat the following Loving Kindness Meditation chant:
May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.
May your inner being and outer world be filled with abundance. Namaste.