The third yama asteya means non-stealing. Like the first two yama’s, this yama seems pretty self-explanatory at first sight. However, again you can incorporate this yama into your daily life at a much deeper level. Have you ever thought of hoarding as a form of stealing? Or the desire to have more material stuff, since others around you have so much? You can apply hoarding to food (eating too much), money and possessions. If the cashier forgets to charge you for an item, would you leave the shop without paying? How do you feel after you have overindulged yourself again during a cosy family dinner? If you have a bad day, you go out shopping to make yourself feel better. But do you really feel better if you have bought another beautiful top while you have still loads hanging in your closet? If you drain someone’s energy, it can be considered as not practising asteya by ‘stealing’ energy. If you come too late, you are actually ‘stealing’ someone’s time.

Like most humans, I get challenged by my desires, especially if I compare myself with others. Asteya includes taking and keeping what you need, honestly. If you have too much, you can share it or give it away to others who are in need. From that the difficult question arises what is actually necessary for my daily needs and for my family? Yoga has taught me to deal with my (unnecessary) desires and to be grateful for life how it is in this very moment. And if we no longer desire for things, all sorts of wealth will come to you by itself. I always remind myself of my bargaining experiences while buying souvenirs during my stay in Africa. I try to bargain, but the seller feels that I have a strong desire to take the souvenir back home with me. This grasping is highly likely to result in paying way too much. In contrast, if I do not have such a strong desire, I will be the winner and bargaining will feel like a game and a piece of cake. It seems like the universe works in a similar way. The harder you strive to get something or be something, the further away you will get from your happiness and wealth.

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