Asteya – Wk 1 – Stealing from Others and the Earth

Posted on Posted in Self-Study, Yamas & Niyamas


Hello again! I hope you all are enjoying these posts or taking away something you can use 🙂

This past week I’ve been focusing on Asteya: non-stealing. This week has been fairly easy to stay with my goals of being a “forklift” and noticing where I’m stealing from the Earth and our future. Again, I’m working with Deborah Adele’s book, The Yamas & Niyamas Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice, and using her Questions for Exploration to help guide me through the week as I work through each Yama.

Be a “forklift”

For M/T/W I focused on not stealing time, attention, power, or confidence from others. I also practiced being a forklift. Deborah writes, “When I was training with Yogi Bhajan, he used to say, ‘Be a forklift; you should always be lifting people up.’ “ I love this idea of always lifting people up. I try to do this every time I teach by telling the students “great job!” or “you look great!”. I’ve taken classes with some amazing teachers, but I if I took numerous classes with them and they never told us great job or keep going I always noticed. It wasn’t enough to make me skip their classes, but I always felt better leaving a class where the teacher made general statements like those listed above. I also try to use names in my classes: “Great crow, Peter!”, etc.

And in regards to my family, I feel that I can never say enough positive, uplifting things! I spend A LOT of time being a forklift for my toddler. I think a lot of parents do, it’s just the nature of toddlers – seeking approval and attention. I find this to be even more important when dealing with my husband though. As spouses we are often so busy during the day and so tired at night we go through the motions and forget to really appreciate the little things that we do for each other. Even a lingering hug or kiss when my husband gets home sets the mood for the rest of the evening. I will admit that this is hard. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to be a forklift!  There are plenty of days where I’ve been giving 110% all day and I’m the one who needs to be lifted up, and that’s ok too.

Stealing from the Earth

I’ll be the first to admit this is a huge topic. I feel very strongly about treating our planet better and it really hurts me to see what we as a species have done to her in such a short period of time. Deborah asks us to notice where we are taking without returning something of at least equal value. Equal value? Who decides what’s equal? Yikes. I feel that living in America it is VERY hard not to steal from the Earth. This is the way our society has been set up: taking, taking, and more taking. I hate it, but I also feel somewhat trapped. I’ve done things around our home that I feel do make a difference, but not enough. What’s enough? I honestly don’t know. Things need to change on a global level, but what can I do as one person? Well, talk about it. That’s a big one. There are so many people out there that are just totally in the dark about how much their (our) lifestyle is polluting our planet.

I’m not going to go on about this as it is a topic so close to my heart I could write for days about it. I will say that to lessen my burden on our planet I do the following things: recycle! (so easy and obvious), use cloth napkins and towels for cleaning, eat organic (as much as the budget will allow), follow a plant-based diet and cut down the amount of meat my family eats as well, use natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda and an environmentally friendly laundry soap. The other big one that I wish the WORLD would pick up on is reusable grocery bags and reusable produce bags. It literally gives me a pain in my chest when I see shopping carts full of plastic grocery and produce bags. We can do so much better than that!!

So, like I said, I don’t want to get into this too deeply as this isn’t the post for it, but have you thought about your impact on our planet? How can you cut back on single-use items? Think: grocery/produce bags, PAPER COFFEE CUPS (!!!), paper towels, paper napkins, aluminum foil, etc. There are great options for all of those wasteful things that you can buy fairly cheaply and improve our planet. I wish every single person in developed countries knew what I know about sustainability, pollution, air/soil/water quality and how our food animals and their processing is damaging our planet.

These are the produce bags that I use. I wash them in the washing machine (!) and air dry them. They are handy and easy to use, light and eco-friendly! If you don’t want to buy online, have a look in the produce section of your grocery store and you will probably find them.

This is also a great option to replace aluminum foil or parchment paper when baking. Of course if you are making something runny or greasy these won’t keep the oil or butter from getting on your pans, but if you bake bread, cookies, etc., they are perfect. I’ve put mine in the dishwasher! I hope this gets you thinking about how you can lessen your and your families burden on our planet. It’s the only one we’ve got. If you are interested in learning more about how we are all connected and about what we as a species have done to our planet, I’d recommend checking out David Suzuki’s book, The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature. This is a book I’m reading for my upcoming YTT with Eoin Finn and it is truly touching. I’ve had quite a few jaw-dropping moments while reading.

I hope all of you have a great week! Be a forklift!! 🙂

Yamas book cover

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