Asteya: Nonstealing

The third Yama – Asteya: Nonstealing.

Wikipedia states: Asteya refers to not stealing, not coveting, nor hoarding, as well as not obstructing other people’s desires in life.

What did we do before Wikipedia???!! 🙂

Asteya can also mean not taking more than you need.  Sometimes when we have access to something – we take more than we need thinking it might not be offered again. If we trust in the universe (or your version of a higher power), then we have faith that we will always have exactly what we need.

In a Yoga Journal Article, Teaching the Yamas in Asana Class, Aadil Palkhivala writes about Asteya on the mat:
When students hold back in a posture, or when they don’t work to their full capacity, they may fear that there is not going to be enough energy to do the next pose. Teach your students that each pose gives the energy required to do it. It is only when we persist in feeling a lack of abundance that we hold back and do not put our whole selves into every pose.

Thinking about how we practice on and off the mat – good!  Examining…. reflecting…. learning…. growing!




Buddhism – nice post, Sha!

Nice job on the Buddhism post – Sharon.
If anyone is interested in reading more about Buddhism, Pema Chodron is a wonderful author and teacher of Buddhism.  Something she wrote in a book I recently read helped me with how I think about opinions/judgments – she says – that when we have Clear Seeing Intelligence – we are able to look at a challenge without an opinion or without judging.

How do we know we are practicing Clear Seeing Intelligence – it’s when we are able to be removed from the emotion of whatever it is we are thinking about.  Example – if we see something we categorize as an injustice – say, a starving child, someone polluting our favorite body of water – we can move to action to help, but we are not angry (or insert another emotion) and do not take action in a way that the emotion becomes the bigger ‘story’.  We take action with compassion and understanding that we can do something to help and not because of angry or frustration that this should not be happening.

I am still understanding this as I consider Clear Seeing Intelligence in real life situations.  It is not an easy practice, but as we continue to be aware and examine what we do and why, we continue to learn more about ourselves and that is good!  In fact, at a lecture yesterday, Govinda Kai (International Ashtanga Yoga Teacher) was at Living Yoga in Concord and he talked about this in more depth and I’ll post on that soon – I am still reflecting on that.

I’ll be getting back to posting more regularly in mid-December – truly.  I’ve missed it, but have been busy with a fabulous English course.



Buddhism Basics


Origin and History

Buddhism originated in India during the 6th century BCE; it is an interpretation of Hinduism but rejects the authority of the Veda’s and the Caste System. Buddhism is based on salvation and individuals efforts (Hopfe Religions 126).  The founder Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), was the son of a Raja and when he was born it was predicted that he would be a king. His father had good intentions but the fact that he sheltered Siddhartha, surrounding him with only youth, beauty and health did not play out as he expected. Siddhartha, a grown man, married with a child began to have visions and decided to leave his home in search of… (I am not sure he really knew).Leading a life of asceticism he searched for answers. At the age of around thirty-four, it was while meditating that he became enlightened, having a vision of the cycle of life…endless repetitions of birth, death and rebirth and that the soul did not exist. He shared this enlightenment with all he encountered, teaching that any person, regardless of race, caste or sex, could become enlightened, this gave him an enormous following.

It was simple: Follow the 5 Rules (avoid killing, stealing, lying improper sex conduct and intoxicants) the Nobel Truths and the Eight Fold Path (living a life of the right intention, speech, actions, livelihood, efforts, mindfulness and concentration). Buddha denied the importance of god(s), worship, and sacrifice. Upon Buddha’s death his followers split into 2 major sects: Theravada (traditionalists/conservatives) and Mahayana (expansive teachings/liberals). There are now also many sub divisions.



Buddha’s teachings became codified in various scriptures

  • Buddhavacana:the word of Buddha
  • The Theragatha:translated early writings
  • Sutras:discources attributed to Buddha
  • Pali Canon (Tripitaka): a collection of scriptures that include: Vinaya Pitaka-rules for monks and nuns, Sutta Pitaka-discources of Buddha and Abhidhamma Pitaka -philosophy, psychology and meta physical teachings. (wikipedia)


Modern Day Buddhism

Asian Nationalism gave rise to the revival of Buddhism after WWII and the collapse of colonial empires. Asian Nationalism was growing and with that came the pride of being a Buddhist. Modern day Buddhist teachings minimize sectarian differences and teach universal non-violence and compassion.

A Bit About Buddha Beginnings


Migration and the mixing of language and cultures thru interactions and connections changed ethnic identities. Social developments occurred on several levels. Culturally distinct settlements started to emerge with the migration of the Vedic people and with the Vedic people came the caste system.

Brahmin priests sought to secure relationships with kings as castes mixed indiscriminately. They wanted the kings (Raja’s) to be viewed as a divine power; this was accomplished with a ritual being performed by the Brahmins priests.

A caste divine of society based on both occupation and family lineage. The Hindu caste system divisions are as follows: Brahmins-priests, Kshatriyas-warriors, Vaishyas-merchants & peasants, Shudrus-laborers, Chandalas-the impure. Caste rules were enforced by both political and religious authorities and marriage outside your caste was prohibited. By combining the caste system and the belief in Karma, ancient law makers could expect people to follow the rules of the caste.

Buddhism rejected the caste system. Siddhartha Gautama, the enlightened one (Buddha) believed that the path to enlightenment was to abandon all worldly desires, of course the oppressed lower castes believed and followed his teachings.

Buddhism-is non-theistic, it is about controlling ones desires, mindfulness, gaining wisdom, being ethical, devotion and mental discipline (often thru meditation)  the goal is finding “nirvana.”

More Learning Tools

Yet another development, I have also been curious to explore, well more like research the many religions of the world. I recently completed  two World History courses and I was again surprised to see that there was yet another correlation to yoga. Maybe my ears are just tuned in more to it now but it seems every where that I turn there is a reason to practice.

So anyway- this course had some info on Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions and references to the scriptures….and yes I am about to share some very light material with patient and I am sure you will find some of the material informative

And if I make a goof-correct me. Remember I am the beginner.