Tag Archive | asteya

Don’t Covet Another Woman’s Louboutins

Asteya: Chapter 3 of Yamas and Niyamas for “Normal” People

Ok before we get started, I owe you an apology: I completely disappeared during the summer (when I was studying for the Illinois bar exam, which I passed thank you God!), and I missed you all very much.  I’m so sorry.  Let’s try to pick up where we left off, shall we?

Asteya goes beyond not wanting things that belong to other people; it means not hoarding things and not obsessing over things that you don’t have.

So here’s how we do this in practice: Each time that I see this particular pair of Louboutins, I drool over it.  (Ok, who am I kidding, I really mean 99% of Louboutins.)  So if I see someone with a pair of Louboutins, asteya tells me that I should not want to trip that woman and steal her shoes.  And I should not secretly want her to trip and fall in them so I can convince myself that she doesn’t belong in them anyway.  And if I ever manage to buy a pair of Louboutins, I shouldn’t keep them in a glass box and not wear them.  And I shouldn’t buy several more pairs of Louboutins and keep them in little glass boxes, and rejoice over my Louboutin museum.

Even more true for me is to avoid coveting, hoarding, and obsessing about food.  Have you ever had the most amazing hot dog with cheese and mustard and onions and fries that were the perfect balance of not soggy and crisp-but-not-burnt?  And then they were so delicious you wanted to go back to have it again the next day?  And maybe the next day?  Have you ever decide that one BoSa donut would be amazing, but two would be doubly amazing?  No?  Seriously, it’s just me?  Ok fine…

No coveting, no hoarding, no obsessing.

The tricky thing about asteya is that you can take it (like anything else) to an unintended extreme: “Well, if I’m not supposed to want what I don’t have, then why should I bother going to work this morning?  I don’t have that money yet and I don’t need it!”  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s not exactly what was intended.  I don’t think so.

I think it’s fantastic to be ambitious, to set goals, and to want nice things.  But I think incorporating asteya into our ambition would instruct us to treasure and appreciate what we presently have first.  (“Thank you, God, for giving me the opportunity to go to law school and to be living my dream everyday.” ) After that, by all means, set goals for yourself.  (“Dear Father, I would like to be debt free and to be able to buy my husband a Patek Philippe.  Thanks, I love you, bye.”)

And most importantly, in the spirit of incorporating non-harming into everything we do, asteya shows us how to love and appreciate ourselves for who we are in this moment, while simultaneously appreciating our capacity to be even more, and do even better than we are right now.

Which means, stop wishing that woman would trip in the shoes you’re envying.

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The Yamas and Niyamas for “Normal” People

Ok, I just said that to get you here 🙂
As part of yoga teacher training, we had to spend a bit of time on the Yamas and Niyamas.  The Yamas (practices for adjusting your interactions with other people) and the Niyamas (practices for adjusting your relationship with yourself) come from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  Well, that could be a month-long blog session in itself, so let’s stick a pin in that one, ok?  But suffice it to say, this the Yoga Sutras are very important to yoga students, and I’m a yoga student, so we’re going to talk about them!
Now, the Yamas and Niyamas are:
Aparigraha
Saucha
Santosha
Tapas
Svadhyaya
Ishvara Pranidhana
You know what’s fun?  I’m not going to tell you what all of them mean right now.  Just click on a word that appeals to your mental palate and go with it!  I find that when you are drawn to something naturally, you learn it much more permanently than if you force it upon yourself.  So check out the list at your leisure and see what strikes you.  (And I mean “strike” in a totally non-harming way.)
Before we jump into this adventure, I’ll share with you what prompted this.  As I read about each principle, I found that many of them seemed rigid, or lofty, or otherwise impossible to execute while living in America with a full-time job and a family and bills.  So what’s a yogini to do?
I’ll tell you what.  Jump in and figure it all out!   I am hoping that over the next couple of weeks, we figure out together how to make them work in our lives.  The point isn’t that we “attain” or “perfect” any of these skills or principles; the point is that we continue to explore what they mean for us, and how we’re going topracticethem every day.  So, let’s begin, shall we?