Asteya Yoga Flow: Yoga Class Plan for Non-Stealing
By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP
Our Asteya Yoga Flow is designed for teaching the importance of our third yama, Asteya, or non-stealing. You may have found the practice of yoga through movement classes, or what we know as "asana" in the yoga world. For many of us, this is our entry point into yoga, but then we dive deeper and seek out information on the greater practice, starting with the 8-limb path of yoga.
The 8 limbs of yoga are laid out for us in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. They include yamas (external observances), niyamas (internal observances), asanas (yoga poses), pranayama (breathwork), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (pure absorption).
The Yamas are the first limb of yoga, and refer to a set of ethical principles or restraints that are considered essential for cultivating a sense of personal and social responsibility. In yoga philosophy, the Yamas are viewed as a foundation for living a conscious and mindful life, and are considered essential for creating a sense of balance and harmony in the world. Here is a brief overview of the five Yamas:
Ahimsa is the principle of non-violence, and involves refraining from causing harm to oneself or others. This principle applies not only to physical violence, but also to emotional and mental harm. Practicing Ahimsa involves cultivating compassion, empathy, and understanding towards all beings, and avoiding harmful or hurtful speech or behavior. Be sure to check out our Ahimsa Yoga Flow.
Satya is the principle of truthfulness, and involves practicing honesty and authenticity in all aspects of life. This principle involves being honest with oneself and with others, and avoiding deception or falsehood. Practicing Satya involves cultivating a sense of self-awareness, and being willing to acknowledge and address one's own flaws and shortcomings. Be sure to try our Satya Yoga Flow
Asteya is the principle of non-stealing, and involves refraining from taking that which is not freely given. This principle applies not only to physical possessions, but also to time, energy, and other resources. Practicing Asteya involves cultivating a sense of contentment and gratitude, and avoiding the temptation to take more than what is necessary or appropriate.
Brahmacharya is the principle of moderation, and involves practicing self-control and restraint in all aspects of life. This principle applies not only to sexual behavior, but also to food, drink, and other pleasures. Practicing Brahmacharya involves cultivating a sense of balance and harmony, and avoiding excess or indulgence. You might enjoy our Brahmacharya Yoga Flow.
Aparigraha is the principle of non-attachment, and involves letting go of attachment to material possessions and other external factors. This principle involves cultivating a sense of inner peace and contentment, and avoiding the desire for more than what is necessary or appropriate. Practicing Aparigraha involves cultivating a sense of detachment, and being willing to let go of attachments that no longer serve one's growth and well-being. Be sure to try our Aparigraha Yoga Flow.
In conclusion, the Yamas are a set of ethical principles or restraints that are considered essential for living a conscious and mindful life. These principles involve refraining from causing harm to oneself or others, practicing honesty and authenticity, refraining from taking that which is not freely given, practicing self-control and restraint, and letting go of attachment to material possessions and other external factors. By incorporating these principles into our daily lives, we can cultivate a greater sense of personal and social responsibility, and create a more balanced and harmonious world.
Asteya is the third Yama of yoga, and refers to the principle of non-stealing. This Yama encourages us to refrain from taking that which is not freely given, and to cultivate a sense of contentment and gratitude in all aspects of life. Asteya is not just about refraining from taking physical possessions, but also encompasses other areas of life such as time, energy, and attention.
The practice of Asteya involves developing a sense of self-awareness and reflection, and being mindful of our own behaviors and motivations. It involves being honest with ourselves about our own desires and impulses, and cultivating a sense of self-control and restraint. This can be challenging in a society that often encourages us to want more, to consume more, and to compete with others for resources and status.
At its core, Asteya is about cultivating a sense of contentment and gratitude in all aspects of life. This means recognizing and appreciating what we already have, rather than focusing on what we lack or what we want. It means recognizing that our own well-being is interconnected with the well-being of others, and that taking from others without their consent ultimately harms ourselves as well.
In practical terms, practicing Asteya may involve making conscious choices about how we spend our time, energy, and attention. It may involve setting clear boundaries and avoiding taking on more than we can handle. It may involve being mindful of our own desires and impulses, and avoiding the temptation to take more than what is necessary or appropriate.
In addition, the practice of Asteya can be extended to the way we interact with others. This may involve being respectful of others' time, energy, and attention, and avoiding behaviors that harm others. It may involve being mindful of the impact of our own actions on others, and being willing to make amends if we have caused harm.
Ultimately, the practice of Asteya is about cultivating a sense of contentment, gratitude, and respect for ourselves and others. By practicing Asteya, we can create a more harmonious and balanced world, and cultivate a greater sense of personal and social responsibility.
When I think about building a yoga sequence for asteya, I think about finding contentment, practicing gratitude and knowing that I have enough and I am enough. I think of respecting myself and others and honoring what is offered with a spirit of contentment rather than reaching for more. I feel inclined to practice my yoga from a place of abundance rather than with a mentality of scarcity. The types of poses that bring Asteya to mind are those that help us find balance. We must find balance between being content but not becoming unambitious. We must have gratitude for what we have while still reaching for our goals.
These are some of my favorite yoga poses for asteya. You can work them into a flow or practice them individually.
Tree pose is a classic yoga pose that involves standing on one foot while balancing the other foot on the opposite thigh. This pose helps improve balance, strength, and focus.
To practice tree pose, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight onto your left foot, and bring your right foot up to rest on your left thigh, with your knee pointing out to the side. Bring your hands to your heart center, and take a few deep breaths. Then, switch sides.
Eagle pose is a challenging pose that involves wrapping one leg and one arm around the other, while balancing on one foot. This pose helps improve balance, flexibility, and strength.
To practice eagle pose, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight onto your left foot, and cross your right thigh over your left thigh. Then, wrap your right foot around your left calf. Bring your right arm over your left arm, and wrap your forearms together. Take a few deep breaths, and then switch sides.
Half-moon pose is a standing balance pose that involves extending one leg out to the side while balancing on the opposite foot. This pose helps improve balance, strength, and flexibility.
To practice half-moon pose, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight onto your left foot, and lift your right leg out to the side. Place your right hand on the ground, and extend your left arm up towards the ceiling. Keep your gaze forward, and take a few deep breaths.
Warrior III pose is a challenging pose that involves extending one leg back behind you while balancing on the opposite foot. This pose helps improve balance, strength, and focus.
To practice Warrior III pose, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight onto your left foot, and lift your right leg up behind you. Extend your arms forward, and lengthen your torso. Keep your gaze forward, and take a few deep breaths. Then, switch sides.
When I think of breathwork for Asteya, staying in balance comes to mind.
Nadi Shodhana is a pranayama technique commonly practiced in yoga. It is also known as "alternate nostril breathing," and involves inhaling and exhaling through one nostril at a time, while using the fingers to close off the other nostril.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to practice Nadi Shodhana:
Bring your right hand up to your nose, and use your thumb to close off your right nostril. Inhale deeply through your left nostril, and then close off your left nostril with your ring finger.
Hold your breath for a moment, and then release your right nostril, and exhale through it. Then, inhale deeply through your right nostril, and close it off with your thumb.
Hold your breath for a moment, and then release your left nostril, and exhale through it. This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana.
Continue this pattern, alternating nostrils with each inhale and exhale. Start with a few rounds, and gradually increase the number of rounds as you become more comfortable with the practice.
Nadi Shodhana has many benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. It is said to help balance the flow of energy in the body, calm the mind, and reduce stress and anxiety. It is also believed to help improve overall respiratory function, and enhance mental clarity and focus.
Nadi Shodhana is a simple and effective pranayama technique that can be practiced by anyone, regardless of their level of experience with yoga. By incorporating this practice into your daily routine, you can cultivate a greater sense of contentment and balance, inner peace and harmony, and experience the many benefits of this powerful technique. If you'd like to learn more about breathwork for asteya, you can get certified in breathwork.
This mudra helps us release all worries and fears of not being enough or not having enough.
Bring the hands together into Hasta Mudra and turn the palms face up in a gesture of offering. Let the pinky fingers touch
Chanting "Om Shrim Lakshmiyei Namaha" as part of your Asteya Yoga Flow can be helpful. This mantra calls on Lakshmi and draws on her power. She is the goddess of abundance and light. Feeling abundant and fulfilled relieves us all of any spirit to take more than what we've already been offered. It helps us to know that we are enough and we have enough.