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How Practicing Asteya Can Benefit Your Life and Well-Being

Beth Bradford

Nov 8, 2022

Asteya is often interpreted as meaning not taking what isn't yours–whether that be physical objects, emotions, or ideas.

What Is Asteya?

In the Yoga Sutras, asteya is one of the Yamas, which are the ethical guidelines that help us live a good life. Sutra 2.37 states, “When you’re grounded in asteya, all treasures come to you.” Asteya translates to non-stealing. This means not only not to steal from others, but also from yourself. The urge to steal generally comes from a lack of faith in oneself.

When we don't trust ourselves, we tend to look for validation and security from external sources. This can lead to all sorts of problems, such as greed, envy, and jealousy. But when we develop a sense of self-trust, we can let go of all that negativity and focus on our own journey. And that's where asteya comes in.

The Definition of Asteya and What It Means to Practice Non-Stealing

In yoga, asteya is the practice of non-stealing. But what does that mean, exactly?

On a basic level, it means not taking what doesn't belong to you. But it's also about being mindful of your actions and thoughts, and not coveting what other people have.

When you practice asteya, you're creating space in your life for abundance to flow in. You're learning to be content with what you have, and not feel the need to take from others. This is a practice that can have a ripple effect in all areas of your life, from your personal relationships to your work life.

The Benefits of Asteya

Stealing is often fueled by the subconscious belief that there's not enough to go around. When we practice asteya, we root out this belief and begin to see that there is enough for everyone.

Asteya has a number of benefits, both for the individual and for society as a whole. For the individual, practicing asteya can help you feel more grounded and secure. It can also help you develop a sense of abundance and wealth, which can be very empowering.

Here are just a few benefits of asteya:

1. It can help you develop a more positive relationship with material possessions.

2. It can help you become more aware of your own thoughts and emotions, and how to deal with them in a healthier way.

3. It can help you become more mindful of your interactions with others.

4. It can help you learn to live in the present moment more fully.

5. It can help you connect with your innermost self and find peace within.

When we practice asteya, we also begin to see the effects it has on our relationships. When we share what we have with others, we create connection and trust. We come to see that we are all in this together, and that by working together, we can create a much better world for everyone.

How to Start Practicing Asteya in Your Life

There are a few different ways to start practicing asteya in your life. One way is to be more mindful of the time you're spending. Are you wasting time on activities that don't bring you joy or add value to your life? Maybe it's time to cut back on those things and make more space for the things that do matter.

You can also apply asteya to your relationships and the way you interact with others. Are you always taking, never giving? Are you continually dominating the conversation or directing the conversation towards your concerns? How often do you listen to others? Or maybe you're giving too much and not getting anything in return. It's important to find a balance that works for both parties.

Consider how you could practice asteya at work. Sure, in an age where “quiet quitting” might be trending, are you somehow stealing time away from your work? In other words, how much time during your work day are you actually working, and how much time do you scroll through your phone? Because asteya is a yama–an ethical restraint–it’s a matter of making the most of your time at work, especially if your slacking off means someone else has to pick up your slack.

And finally, one of my favorite ways to practice asteya is by embracing abundance and minimalism. When you have less clutter in your life, you have more space for the things that matter. Practicing asteya can mean being satisfied with what you have rather than focusing on what you don't have. And when you feel more abundance, you're less likely to feel the need to take what doesn't belong to you.

FAQs About Practicing Asteya

Questions about practicing asteya? Here are some of the most common questions people have about this yama.

Q: What does asteya mean?

A: Asteya is the Sanskrit word for non-stealing.

Q: What does it mean to practice asteya?

A: To practice asteya is to refrain from taking what is not rightfully yours.

Q: Is it ok to take things that are complimentary or free?

A: There's a lot of debate on this question, and it ultimately comes down to personal interpretation. Some people believe that it's ok to take things that are complimentary or free, as long as you're not depriving someone else of what they need. Others believe that any form of taking, even if it's deemed complimentary or free, is still a form of stealing. The best way to navigate this question is to ask yourself how you would feel if someone took something from you without asking.


Asteya is a Sanskrit term that translates to "non-stealing." The yama, or ethical guideline, of asteya encourages practitioners to abstain from taking what isn't theirs – both material items and intangible things like ideas and energy.

There are many benefits to practicing asteya in your life. For one, it can help you become more mindful of your actions and how they impact yourself and others. It can also help you develop a stronger sense of self-control, which can carry over into other areas of your life.

Asteya is a simple but powerful yama that can have a big impact on your life. Give it a try and see for yourself how practicing asteya can benefit you.

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