Asteya – non-stealing.
Words cannot describe how huge this one is for me.
My teacher Debbie says this is the moment it ‘clicked’ for me. She said in month three in my homework reflection questions when we practiced Asteya that she could hear it, see it, and feel it in my writing.
She just knew I’d got it… the ‘it’ being, I’d found what yoga was to me.
Why though? Well for a very unfortunate reason, that turned out to actually help me in the end.
(And like the Lotus flower we grow from the dark into the light – but more on the Lotus flower another time!)
When month one of teacher training started, I discovered some earth shattering news about the actions of someone very, very close to me indeed. I felt betrayed, sick, upset, angry – the words don’t even do it justice for the turmoil I had.
I spent the first two months of teacher training struggling, battling, coping with this news, placed in the middle of the drama, keeping the peace between those involved, and at the same time I was really losing all heart for my day job, a job that didn’t respect me, value me, or encourage me to grow.
The situation put pressure on my life, my friendships, my marriage (of which at the time was only just three months old) and my health.
Dealing with all the wonder and harmony of yoga at teacher training, set against all the darkness in my life meant the dark stuff seemed darker than normal.
I got sad, maybe depressed, definitely angry. I ate more food and drank more alcohol.
Things came to a head one heavy night in Camden, where I had so many cocktails and shots, that I ended up throwing up on the pavement and was sent home in a taxi at 10.30pm.
I was 32 years old, and I’m really not proud of it.
So why am I telling you then if I’m not proud of it?
Because the next day was a write off, I spent all day crying, still throwing up (due to a migraine), lying in bed and making my husband wait on me hand and foot. I had to cancel plans that I had and sit it out until the next day when I still felt no better, other than the realisation I had of Asteya.
I looked at myself and thought…
I had stolen a great night out with my friends from them and myself by getting too darn drunk. I had made my friend Phoebe fear for her life for two hours waiting for that text from George to say I had arrived home safely in stead of allowing her to dance and drink and be merry. I had stolen George’s relaxing evening in by worrying him sick about my safety, and I had stolen the whole of his next day making him look after a very sorry for herself hungover adult-child.
I had stolen from myself through wasted time, poor health, and through self criticism of my actions I loathed myself, and hated myself for what I had done.
Suddenly Asteya was there – everywhere I looked.
Gloomy about the amount I’m drinking and eating? Asteya – don’t waste time with hangovers, eat healthier and quit drinking (I did for almost six months… and now it’s only ever in moderation).
Unhappy in my job? Asteya, don’t let it steal any more time or energy from you than it already has, make a plan of action and work towards that – yes it was that point I decided to quit.
Unhappy with the shocking news? Asteya all over that – as soon as I applied Asteya to said person’s being and actions, I knew what I had to do – hold my distance until I was ready to address the upset that they had inflicted. (It took a year, but you’ll be pleased to know that as of this August things are repairing. It will take time, but all good things do, right?)
To me Asteya is a bit of a black and white Yama – if you’re wasting your energy on a flakey friend who never replies or gets back to you – just get rid! Pour your energy into someone who cares enough to give it back!
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about only doing something to get something back though, no, no, no, this is about channeling your time and energy in the way that works best for you. To make you the best version of yourself for you and those you meet in your life.
I hope you don’t think I’m too honest and open in these blogs, but I really do strive to make yoga accessible for all. And the best way I’ve found that I can do this is speak from the heart and share what I know – what is true to me.
I’m not a perfect spiritual zen being, I’m not happy all the time. I get sad, angry, selfish and I self-loathe sometimes, the same as anyone else.
But I do feel that I cope with it all a little bit better through yoga, and if that helps you too then you’ve made me a happier person, and hopefully you are too.
Thanks for taking the time to read. Knew this would be a long one.
Thank you Asteya 🙏🏼