When we think of yoga, we often think mainly of the postures 'asanas', we also call this 'yoga on the mat'. Asanas are only part of yoga, we can also talk about "yoga off the mat" or your "virtual yoga mat". When we refer to yoga as a lifestyle, we mainly think of the Yama's and Niyama's; these show you how to live a better and more meaningful life. This is the third blog in a series and is about the Yama: "Asteya", which can be translated as "do not steal" and the Niyama "Tapas", which means discipline.
"Asteya" can be translated as "do not steal," and "do not intend to steal other people's property through action, speech, and thought." Precisely at this time, when many people are struggling, Asteya calls for “Dāna”, which is charity for another without any expectations. The motive is in fact the reverse of that of "stealing from others". Do something spontaneously for someone else, without expecting anything in return, such as going shopping for your older neighbors.
Another way of explaining Asteya, is to say that if we don't slow down, we will end up missing out on valuable time and experiences. This is your chance to take more time to enjoy. Three examples of simple mindfulness exercises that can help you with this are: "Do one thing at a time"; "do nothing for five minutes every day" and "eat slower." You will find that they are more difficult than you think!
"Tapas" can be translated as "produced by heat". Tapas refers to spiritual activities, such as yoga, meditation, warmth or sexual intimacy, in which heat or internal energy is released. The released heat burns away impurities and sparks will fuel your divinity.
In addition, a simple and austere lifestyle also falls under "Tapas". Tapas can make you more observant and give you greater insight. Tapas has been a symbol of the accumulation of knowledge and spiritual rebirth since the Vedas. Tapas is the willingness to get the job done. Develop your self-discipline, enthusiasm and a burning desire to learn. Practice yoga every day, make that time holy. Try holding a pose for longer. Take a pose, try not to move and watch what happens. In this way you will learn to resist a strong feeling, and you will learn to witness what is one of the most important skills of classical yoga.
In the next blog, I will further discuss the Yama: "Brahmacharya", which can be translated as "good use of your energy" and the Niyama "Svadhyaya", which means self-study.
Be thankful, trust the moment, and help others.
Marlies (E-RYT 500, YACEP)