The third yama on our list is asteya ~ non-stealing or only taking what is freely given. This can be interpreted and applied in many ways. One way you might look at this is to reduce your carbon footprint or reduce your impact on the earth..considering ways to refine how you use earth’s resources. Perhaps, this will inspire you to pull out a seed catalog and plan for Spring. Maybe, you will choose a stainless steel water bottle and forgo the plastic ones. Maybe, it’s using reusable bags at the grocery store.
Another perspective on this yama is to consider it in regards to affection or time. Have you ever felt unhappy or resentful because a loved one hasn’t made available the time that you want from them or maybe not displayed affection in the way that you want to receive it? But, if we let go of how we want it to look and instead accept only that which is freely given, allowing people to show up as they are and give as they are able, imagine how much suffering can be let go of.
The final example of non-stealing that I will offer you is a personal one to me. My youngest son had a bone marrow transplant when he was 14 months old and then, he proceeded to be on steroids and in isolation for another year. In that time, I began to identify with him as “sick” and began to see the world around us only as a source of harm. One day, through Yoga, it dawned on me. As he strut around the house, full of his usual verve, he viewed himself as whole! He did not perceive himself as “sick” or “less than” and in perceiving him as such, I was stealing his potential – his opportunity to be whomever he saw himself as. I was also robbing myself of an opportunity to have a relationship with him…just as he is.
So I invite you to discern in what ways might you refine your life? What do you feel called to? Preservation of Earth’s resources? To explore your personal relationships, observing where there is more demand than acceptance? Again, be compassionate with yourself in these explorations. Know that this is a journey and that we will have opportunities in our life to come back to these yamas, again and again.