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Generosity and openness: The yoga of Asteya

Abiding in generosity and honesty, material and spiritual prosperity is bestowed. Sutra 11.37

On occasion, you may admire something someone else has that you do not; a better car, a longer holiday, a different relationship. It’s interesting to be aware of how much power that original thought can have, by growing into the sense of ‘not having enough’.

The Yama of Asteya

‘Asteya reminds us that greediness that goes beyond the resources that we actually need, robs us of our ability to be content and feel abundance’ Judith Hansen Lasiter

As you move on to the third Yama of Asteya, you continue to cultivate the first Yama of Ahimsa (kindness) and the second Yama of Satya (truth). Satya allows you to shed almost automatically what is less real.

Asteya is a more subtle interplay between truthfulness and honesty. When you are dishonest or hiding something, either to yourself or others, it creates hidden corners in you that are harder and harder over time to reveal.

‘To believe in something and not to live it, is dishonest’ Mahatma Gandhi

Success in Asteya is the reversal of this; everything is open and generous – you see things differently.

When considering the following reflections, leave guilt out of the equation – it’s all about finding new ways to live that support a quiet and trouble-free mind.

Time to reflect

Please apply the SWAN principle (what are my strengths, weaknesses, ambition and needs) and don’t judge yourself harshly!

  • While practicing your yoga postures, can you identify areas in your body where you may be compensating because of weaker or tighter areas?

  • Are you regularly late for appointments?

  • Are you quick to blame someone else in a situation?

  • If you are given excess change during a purchase, do you consider this a financial windfall and think of yourself first and others second?

  • Do you ever speak on behalf of someone else, taking away their opportunity to express themselves?

  • How much food do you throw away or compost each year?


Some tips

  • Always feel as if the yoga postures will generate their own energy for you. Never feel that the posture will rob you of energy in any way, as long as your breathing is comfortable and relaxed.

  • In difficult circumstances, rather than telling people what you think of them, perhaps change HOW you think of them.

  • Can you arrange life around fairness and integrity?

  • Take a longer moment to open your mind when it comes to copying music or writing.

  • Consider how you may be taking from others in a more subtle, indirect way.

  • Take only what you need, particularly regarding your food and energy consumption.

  • If you know you are talented at something use it, don’t steal it from yourself.

And remember that these topics are thousands of years old, and have a subtlety that will only be revealed with time and patience. Think of it as a journey.

Inspired by the readings of Judith Hansen Lasiter, Swami Satyananda and Nischala Joy Devi.

Om shanti


Inspired by the writings of Nischala Joy Devi, Swami Satyananda and Megan Jones.

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