Astheya (non-stealing)

BKS Iyengar: Non-stealing or not misappropriating what rightly belongs to other (asteya), is the third yama. As children, we learn not to take or steal other toys, but non-stealing has many implications.  Do we not steal when we consume more than our share?  Is it not stealing that a small portion of the world’s population consumes the vast majority of its resources?

     B.K.S. IYENGAR Light on Life, Page 253

For me, in considering the yama of non-stealing or astheya, what has come up has mostly applied to my own time management throughout the day and this has helped me to prioritize my activities. 


I notice the negative effect of stheya (stealing) when I steal time from myself by procrastinating getting to my mat to practice. Procrastinating is to rob myself of precious time and I am not really free because part of me is anxious that I have still not gotten to my mat. This procrastinating will also have a negative effect on my teaching if I am not prepared. I will be stealing from my students if I am not prepared. To help me, I have set up a schedule for each day to plan, practice, and study. Staying on schedule is itself a daily practice. This is where I am now and according to the sages as my practice deepens this discipline to practice will eventually come from within.

One must realize that yoga discipline is a continuing process. It has no end or culminating point. When discipline is co-terminus with living, how can there be a terminating point to it.

Rohit Mehta, The Art of Integration, page 147. (1)

Freedom with true discipline is true freedom.” (2)

B.K.S Iyengar  Yoga the Path to Holistic Health, Page 291

As a teacher I have observed new students who are shy and may be self-conscious when entering a new space with new faces. They need someone to welcome them, so they have a sense of belonging. Therefore, I must be present and to be present I must be on time. Starting on time allows me to be present to their needs and ending on time means I am not stealing time from their busy schedules. As a student myself taking yoga classes I have needed to make an extra effort to be on time as I have realized that when I am late, I am stealing from the teacher’s time when they need to explain again what has already been said. 

I have been paying attention to how I borrow ideas from my teachers and peers. It is important to acknowledge those who have share their knowledge with me especially when I teach it to others. This is because the practice of yoga is meant for all of us to benefit. What was given to me is not mine but meant to benefit everyone.  Geeta Iyengar has said in this regard:


Knowledge is always something that is universal. It is not meant for one person. It is not individual, but everyone contributes. When knowledge goes in the right direction and ignorance is removed it takes us all in the same direction. So, I learn when you learn. When you feel and you understand, that gives knowledge to me. In a similar manner when I give knowledge to you, you also start to understand”.

IYNAUS Certification Manual, forward (3)



“When abstention from stealing is firmly established, precious jewels come.”(4).

B.K.S. Iyengar Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, page 150, Sutra 11..37



  1. The Art of Integration  Rohit Mehta 
  2.  Yoga the Path of Holistic Health B.K.S Iyengar
  3.  IYNAUS Certification Manual, 2018, Forward, Iyengar National Association of the United States
  4.  Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali B.K.S. Iyengar
Louiza Koumoutsakis



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