December: Asteya – Nonstealing
In December, we focus on the practice of Asteya. Asteya means nonstealing and calls us to live with integrity and reciprocity. To set the tone for our focus, the Buddha said,
“Be where you are…otherwise you will miss most of your life.”
If we are living in a way that we are dissatisfied with ourselves, we often will look outward. An outward focus leads us to compare ourselves to others and to send energy into their lives, and ours, in an unhealthy manor. When we compare ourselves to others, we may end of feeling lacking, leading to a feeling of being cheated, or we feel superior, leading to feelings of arrogance. All of these emotions and actions end up making it so that we are stealing from others and from ourselves. We steal from the opportunity to grow ourselves into the person we want to be and deserve to be.
Issues that arise from being rooted negatively in Asteya come from the idea that “I’m not good enough…”. The need to steal arises when we lack faith in ourselves or try to fill an “empty” sensation within. So how does Asteya arrive on the mat? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Do you push yourself beyond healthy boundaries of your practice because you don’t feel good enough?
- Are you comparing yourself to the person next to you in class?
- Do you arrive early to class, in a calm manor, and contribute to the peace of the environment, or are you rushing in, kicking off shoes, and clamoring to arrive and dive on to your mat?
- Are you practicing being present when you are on your mat, or are you thoughts and focus being stolen away to something outside of your practice?
This month when you practice, consider the following:
- Arrive to class with ample time to set up and settle in so you can be fully present for your entire practice.
- Even in your fast-paced yoga classes, can you move swiftly without feeling hurried or trying to steal off to the next pose.
- Acknowledge the beauty of “imperfections” and relish in the uniqueness of your practice, focusing on your personal growth.
- Fully experience your body, your breath, and your feelings when you practice. Your mind will inevitably wander, so pay attention to the feeling of coming back to the present when you realize it.