How to stop being a thief (Yes, you are)

Adorable polar bear thief photo by Valerie on Flickr.

We are all thieves.

Asteya, the third of the Yamas, means non-stealing. It means don’t take what’s not yours.

That means don’t take that shirt you love at Nordstrom … don’t take your friend’s leftover Chipotle … don’t take credit for your co-worker’s idea … don’t take precious time away from someone … fundamentally, don’t act as though you don’t have enough right now.

We are enough and we have enough.

Asteya asks us to shift our perspective from scarcity to abundance.

Rather than focus on what we don’t have, focus on what we do have. Only taking what is offered and only as much as we need.

To one established in non-stealing, all wealth comes.
— The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra II.37


On your mat, this means you appreciate your own practice for what it is rather than desiring to be able to do the amazing scorpion handstand the person on the mat beside you is in.

Off the mat, this means loving and appreciating your home rather than being jealous of your friend’s new house in the nice neighborhood with the adorable park nearby.

It means it doesn’t matter what the fuck the Joneses are doing.

There will always be more.

Once you get into the scorpion handstand, you’ll want to do the scorpion handstand into the wheel and back to the scorpion handstand.

( Source )

Once you get the new house in the nice neighborhood with the adorable park, you’ll want the bigger house in the nicer neighborhood with the natural spring nearby.

Through the practice of yoga, you come to feel confident and develop a feeling of wholeness and completeness; you are not likely to feel deprived or ‘less than.’ People steal because they feel deprived. They try to make up for their deficits by depriving others.
— Sharon Gannon, Yoga and Vegetarianism


When we shift our perspective from scarcity to abundance, we realize we have enough.

We realize that our ability to be happy lies within us, not in anything outside us.

This is one that can be challenging for me. I catch myself in “want” mode and I’ll justify it.

“I worked so hard yesterday so I deserve this new yoga top.”


“It’s been a long week and I deserve a latte.”

It’s like I know my attitude is wrong so I justify it; I’m on the defense. Instead, I could just order a damn latte if I want one and have the means and be grateful for its deliciousness rather than drinking a cup of hot guilt. And if I can’t get the latte, I can be happy with my glass of water. Because it is enough.

We have choices. Especially in how we feel.

Practice asteya and choose to be grateful for what you have now, rather than living a life of the wants.

Love, happiness, peace … it’s not going to happen when ___________ (fill in the blank). It’s already inside of you. Stop searching and see what’s been inside of you all along.