TUESDAYS @ THOMASVILLE YMCA – 9.30.14 (ASTEYA – STEALING FROM OURSELVES)

We are all unique.  Although there are a number of physical similarities, you are you and I am I.  Popular culture and media would like for us to become enthralled with the uniqueness of a person.  The problem with celebrating that uniqueness is that popular culture and media ask that we become that person.  We don’t get to celebrate you.  And that just isn’t cool.

When I first started doing Yoga some six or so odd years ago, I feel into the same trap that a number of practitioners do.  The search for the perfect pose.  In a search for perfection, there are so many negative thoughts and emotions that arise.  When those are practiced, they become a part of us.  We lose our spark … and people notice.  

I did not take any time for myself after my Level 4 YogaFit training last weekend and I know my students could tell.  I allowed my love for accomplishments to catch up with me.  It was today during the Power Yoga class that I taught that I finally took a moment to reflect.  We took the mantra “So ham” (“I Am”) and added positive words between each repetition.  In the rush to continue my journey to my 200 hour cert, I almost allowed myself to steal from myself.  The journey is so much more important than the goal.  It was comforting to take a step back and reflect.  Digestion is fun :).

Stealing From Ourselves

In all the ways that we impose an outside image of ourselves onto ourselves, we are stealing from the unfolding of our own uniqueness.

All self-sabotage, lack of belief in ourselves, low self-esteem, judgments, criticisms, and demands for perfection are forms of self-abuse in which we destroy the very essence of our vitality.

We are captured in a culture where our very identity is tied up with our accomplishments.  In this rush to get to the next thing, we have left no time for ourselves to digest and assimilate our lives; this may be our biggest theft of all.  We need time to catch up with ourselves.  We need time to chew and ponder and allow the experiences of life to integrate within us.  We need time to rest and to reflect and to contemplate.

When we take no time for reflection or integration; we continue to move on to the next thing, full speed ahead.  Because we take no time to pause and allow experiences to become part of us, we do not get to keep the experiences, they are gone.

Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele

Tuesdays @ Thomasville YMCA – 9.23.14 (Asteya – Stealing from the Future)

I have a lot of hobbies.  I probably have too many hobbies honestly.  How does one not want to enjoy every possible aspect of the world we live in?  It’s tough for me to say no to competition and fun.  It comes at the expense of my relationships and my stress level however.  Being truthful with myself is not an easy choice.

If I could have it my way, then I would play on three hockey teams, get in some USTA tennis, do more triathlons, get back to cycling regularly, break out the climbing shoes more often and chase my nephew and niece as often as I could.  I only get 24 hours in my day to choose wisely from this list among a number of other items that are unmentioned.  And I get caught up in trying to shove as many things as I can into that 24 hours.  It limits the depth to which I can go in each of these areas.  Truth does not ask an easy choice here.  So how does one just simply choose?  How do I get back to finding beauty in the simple when there is just so much to experience?  

Of the Yamas thus far, I struggle the most with this aspect of Asteya.

Stealing from the Future

Mantra – I accept that truth rarely asks the easier choice.

The excess in our bodies, our calendars, our closets, are all signs that we are living as if there is no tomorrow and no one to live here after we are gone.  What have you already planned for the rest of this week?  How many shirts are in your closet?

Our focus seems to be on what we don’t have or what we might not have in the future, rather than on the abundance right before us.

If we stop long enough to gaze at what is laid out before us, to let the mystery of beauty and the wonder of the seasons sit deeply in our soul, our hearts cannot help but burst forth in thanksgiving and gratitude to life itself.  Inborn to this kind of wonder is gratitude for where our life came from and indebtedness to the future.

Our ancestors literally gave their lives to create beauty on the earth and better times for the future.  The incredible love stands on.  Remembering our ancestors and the mystery that brought us into being is a way to reframe the sacredness of our own lives and the sacredness of the lives that will come after us.

Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele

Tuesdays @ Thomasville YMCA – 9.16.14 (Asteya – Stealing from the Earth)

I will immediately claim a deficiency in this aspect of Asteya.  I like MY stuff.  I worked hard for MY stuff.  One day though, MY stuff will move on to someone else or rot and decay.  

Possessions are defined as “the state of having, owning, or controlling something.”  I especially do not like the word controlling.  In a Performance Yoga post, we discussed how it is frustrating when trying to control the brain.  Possessions can bring that same level of frustration.  Ultimately we are given or have purchased them and are now tasked with either caring for them or destroying them.  There is stress here.  It means that we will be careful and consider the next person to possess the item or we will allow stagnation to form and the item will be useless to future generations.  We are on loan to this earth just as our possessions are on loan to us.

Stealing from the Earth
Mantra – I am on loan.

We forget that we are spirits having a human experience.  We are visitors to the human experience; we are visitors in the fullest sense of the word.  We are visitors to this land, to our bodies, to our minds.  To fully appreciate this reality is to accept that nothing on this physical plane does or can belong to us.

We use the term “I,” “mine,” and “my” with almost everything … my house, my car, my clothes, my kids … we can even say, “I had a flat tire.”  The ownership of things is steeped deep in our language and cultures and makes it hard for us to appreciate the extent to which nothing really is ours.  This guideline asks us to view everything in our possession as something precious that is on loan to us.  And for the time that it is on loan to us, we are asked to care for it.

The bounty of the earth is for the community, not the individual.

Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele

Tuesdays @ Thomasville YMCA – 9.9.14 (Asteya – Stealing from Others)

It is easy to think of “nonstealing” as simply the avoidance of taking possessions that are not ours.  It goes much deeper than this.  The concept is the same, as stealing develops a mistrust and stress.  We are a crafty species and will steal out of jealousy and necessity.  This is a delicate line to toe.  This line asks to contemplate integrity and what it means.

Asteya, or nonstealing, calls us to live with integrity and reciprocity.  If we are living in fears and lies, our dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives leads us to look outward, with a tendency to steal what is not rightfully ours.  We steal from others, we steal from the earth, we steal from the future, and we steal from ourselves.  We steal from our own opportunity to grow ourselves into the person who has a right to have the life they want.

Stealing from Others
Mantra – I am a forklift.

When we compare ourselves to others, we either find ourselves lacking, which makes us feel somehow cheated, or we find ourselves superior, which leaves us feeling somewhat  arrogant.  Our attention on others from a place of discontent within ourselves can lead us to live vicariously through others or to try to control, manipulate, or manage them in order to boost our own sagging ego.  We may find ourselves trying to “trump” or “one-up” their stories and successes and experiences by coming behind them with our own more fabulous tale.  It is all an attempt to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.  Thief.

Or perhaps we steal from others by not paying attention to them or discounting them.  In all the instances where we steal, we have made the situation about us, not about the other.  When we feel unhappy with ourselves or our lives, we have a tendency to drag people down with us or make snide comments that come from jealousy.

“Be a forklift; you should always be lifting people up.”  The question we can ask ourselves in our encounters with others is, does the other person feel uplifted and lighter because they have been with us, or do they feel like something precious was taken from them?  Have we brightened their day by taking a moment to listen, to sincerely compliment them, or simply to smile?

Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele

Slow Flow – 7.13.14 (Asteya – Stealing from Ourselves)

I filled in for our Slow Flow class yesterday afternoon at 3pm.  It is easy to forget how to literally slow down in the busy life I lead.  My calendar quickly fills up and I do enjoy experiencing as much of life as humanly possible in 24 hours.  The problem with that … I can tend to steal from myself.  I’m not the best at setting aside time to rest, reflect and contemplate.  Here are the words we focused on in regards to the yama Asteya.

Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele

  “In all the ways that we impose an outside image of ourselves onto ourselves, we are stealing from the unfolding of our own uniqueness.  All demands and expectations that we place on ourselves steal from our own enthusiasm.  All self-sabotage, lack of belief in ourselves, low self-esteem, judgments, criticisms, and demands for perfection are forms of self-abuse in which we destroy the very essence of our vitality.  All the ways we live in the past or future steal from ourselves.

  We are captured in a culture where our very identity is tied up with our accomplishments.  We wear all we have to do like a badge on our shirt for all to see.  In this rush to get to the next thing, we have left no time for ourselves to digest and assimilate our lives; this may be our biggest theft of all.  We need time to catch up with ourselves.  We need time to chew and ponder and allow the experiences of life to integrate within us.  We need time to rest and to reflect and to contemplate.”