The concept of Asteya (non-stealing) is the third of Yoga’s Yamas or ethical principles. This concept is much more in-depth than not committing the crime of theft. The Asteya means that you live honorably and you give back. Companies that sell eco yoga clothing are following the principle of non-stealing. The companies are concerned with the environment and are not taking more than is needed. At the same time, these companies provide you with the opportunity to use clothing in a way that allows you to practice non-stealing as well.
The Yama of Asteya allows you to live a more fulfilled life. Not only are you doing your part to help others, you are also free from the burden of greed and hoarding. When you give back, you are energizing yourself. Just think of a time when you gave someone an extraordinary gift. Remember how you felt just as good or better than the recipient of your gift. You can maintain that feeling by practicing Asteya.
One of the most potent ways to practice the Yama of Asteya with others is by giving them your attention. When you give somebody your attention, you are communicating that they matter. Additionally, you are showing that you care, and they are essential to you. On the other hand, when attention is not given, it is communicated that they are unnecessary and there are more important things to do than to listen to them.
Giving attention is giving back to the person. You are holding space for the other person. Providing another person with your undivided attention is to refrain from stealing their dignity and self-worth. For a second, remember a time when someone you loved and truly cared about did was distracted when you tried to communicate. Remember how you felt robbed and how you felt that you did not matter to them.
Another way to practice Asteya with others is by being respectful. This is often phrased as “giving respect.” It is a gift you give to another person. On the other hand, being disrespectful takes or steals dignity and worth from another person. When we are rude to others, we are taking what is not rightfully ours. We are taking something very inherent to being a human being. Every human being has the innate right to possessing dignity and worth. Furthermore, when you give respect to others, you actually build the respect you have for yourself. By showing respect, your own self-respect and self-dignity increase.
Honesty is a big key to practicing Asteya. This includes being honest with yourself and others. When you are real, you give your true self. When people are not genuine or honest with themselves or others, they take others’ sense of security and well-being. Additionally, truth is being stolen from them.
Buying clothing from companies who give back, who are honest, and who are respectful of their customers strongly supports the practice of Asteya. When you utilize companies who practice Asteya, you are, in fact, practicing Asteya yourself.
Stealing from the environment
There are two perspectives concerning stealing from the environment. One view is that the environment itself is an entity that has rights and a need to survive. Using this perspective, when somebody steals from nature, they are hurting a living being.
The second perspective is that all of humanity is reliant on the environment for their survival. Nature provides the necessities of existence such as food, water, air, and shelter. From this perspective, when a person steals from the environment, they harm everyone who lives on planet Earth.
Stealing from the environment includes readily apparent acts such as (a) littering, (b) strip mining without reparation, (c) polluting the air, water, or land, and (d) not being a good steward of the land and resources. All of these actions cause harm and are acts of taking without just cause.
Stealing from the environment can be much more subtle as well. The following actions are examples of not practicing Asteya; (a) buying a vehicle for a status symbol that gets low gas mileage, (b) wasting food, and (c) buying products from companies that are not environmentally responsible.
In short, practicing environmental Asteya means that you have a more positive than negative influence on the environment. Asteya implies that a person does not take more than what is needed and is respectful of others. It also means that a person buys responsibly.
Stealing from yourself
Many of us were taught that stealing always involved taking from others. However, people often steal from themselves. People do this by not having goals, not being genuine, and using negative self-talk.
People steal from themselves by not having goals for themselves. They are literally robbing themselves of a positive and rewarding future. Not having goals robs themselves of all of the benefits goals create and bring.
Being ungenuine is robbing themselves of knowing and growing who they really are. When a person is not harmonious, they take away their strengths, abilities, and even the characteristics of who they indeed are. This never works long-term. I am sure you have known people who are phony and have observed how they struggle with self-esteem and creating meaningful relationships.
Negative self-talk is a most callous thief. It robs people of their worth and takes from them the possibilities of a happy and fulfilling life. When people speak negatively about themselves, they are stealing their own dignity and self-worth. They take positive opportunities from themselves and the ones they love.
Practicing Asteya benefits you in many ways. Asteya is a principle that allows you to create a calm, confident perspective about yourself and the world. Asteya will help you make the future you want. Its foundation increases your ability to live a life of joy and abundance. The relationships with your family, friends, and yourself will be more vital and more fulfilling.
There are many ways to practice Asteya. One is to purchase items from companies whose leaders have eco-friendly practices. Another is to be kind and respectful to other people, the environment, and yourself. Asteya is a potent and rewarding practice.
As always, I wish you the very best in all of your endeavors.
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