Yamas | Asteya (Non-Stealing)

If you are a yoga enthusiast, have you read Patanjali's Yoga Sutra?  The short version is that around 300 AD, Patanjali decided to codify the thousands of years of yoga tradition into a written sutra.

The whole idea of a sutra to someone who loves words is fascinating.  A sutra is a concise way of communicating complex ideas or truths.

Patanjali outlines Yamas (restraints) as part of the eight limbs of yoga.  One of those yamas is Asteya--or non-stealing.  An unfettered hyperlink frenzy lead me to this definition on Wikipedia which was part of the entry on Jainism. (I was super curious because I have a friend that I really admire who is Jain.)  Per Wikipedia...

The definition of Asteya is to not take anything that is not willingly given. It is the strict adherence to one's own possessions, without desire to take another's. One should remain satisfied by whatever is earned through honest labour. Any attempt to squeeze material wealth from others and/or exploit the weak is considered theft.

Some of the guidelines for this principle are:
(1) Always give people fair value for labor or product.
(2) Never take things that are not offered.
(3) Never take things that are placed, dropped or forgotten by others.
(4) Never purchase cheaper things if the price is the result of improper method (e.g., pyramid scheme, illegal business, stolen goods, etc.)

It is interesting to me that the concept includes fair-trade and that it is holistic in scope.

There is joy to me in finding truths that cross time and cultures. When I started studying yoga, it never occurred to me that they would have similar instructions for living as the ones I was raised with.

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Maira Gall