asteya - be generous

Asteya has been our yoga focus and is the 3rd of the yamas, or guides on living ethically, in Patanjali’s yoga sutras.

Asteya translates to non-stealing and not wanting what others have, but rather being satisfied with what you have in your life. It’s about not comparing or wanting for more, or taking from others what isn’t yours; including credit for effort. I like to think of it as giving generously, rather than wanting for more, or for what’s not yours to take.

When we compare, or want for more, we steal from ourselves – we take away the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy all we have.

One way to practice asteya is to focus on being content and grateful for who you are and all you have, not wanting for more, or for what someone else has, but to be happy and appreciative for what is.

Gratitude helps with this – training your brain to look for the good, and as you do, cultivating contentment and replacing the ‘not good enough’ voice in your human mind for the voice that is able to enjoy what is, as it is. Take time to reflect on all the good in yourself and your life today. Your smile, your ability to be warm and open hearted, your attitudes, the role you play in your family, with friends and your interactions with others. Resolving to acknowledge the good in yourself, and your life… with a sense of knowing all that you are, and all that you have, is enough.

Jennie Lee, in her book ‘True Yoga’ translates this sutra 2.37 as

when firmly anchored in generosity, all prosperity comes..... remembering to be honest in your generosity, while balancing giving and receiving.
— True Yoga, Jennie Lee

She says,

Through the awareness of our interconnectedness, we link generous action with truthful intention, and give from what is authentic in our hearts as well as from what is within our physical means. In a balanced exchange of giving and receiving, we experience the intertwining nature of these and the joy that is equivalent in either role
— p. 51-52, True Yoga

And adds

true fulfilment and prosperity are impossible if we take more than we give on a regular basis
— p. 52, True Yoga. 

Reflecting, ‘Is there somewhere in my life I’m giving because I feel I should, rather than from a sense of generous action? How does that feel?’

And in balancing your giving and receiving, not over giving at the expense of your self care.

If doing for another jeopardizes our ability to remain in personal balance, then we need to be honest about that with ourselves and with them, and set appropriate boundaries. If we work a forty-hour week, giving extensively to our employers or clients, it is necessary to practice Ashteya with ourselves when the workday is over, generously replenishing our energetic storehouse. If we do too much for our children, we will eventually resent that we have no time for ourselves, not to mention that we do them a disservice by catering to their every whim.
— p. 55, True Yoga

Reflecting, ‘is there an aspect of my life where I find myself giving too much, at the expense of my own wellbeing, or resources?’

Remember to be generous in your giving, but not at the expense of stealing from yourself.

Along with weekly yoga classes for which this is our focus we also offer:

·      Meditation courses and weekly meditation

·      Corporate wellbeing workshops based on mindfulness and healthy habit creation

·      Individual and group coaching for lifestyle, wellbeing, mindfulness and meditation.

If you want to know more, email Nicky on