The artwork above is part of our shopper series exploring the yamas and is in stores now. To introduce you to the concept of Asteya a little more, we asked people from around lululemon how they practice (or don’t practice) it.
what is asteya?
Literally translated as “non-stealing/non-coveting” or “avoidance of stealing /coveting”, the yama of Asteya (ush-TAY-uh) asks that we take only what is offered and use only what we need. The practice of Asteya emphasizes interconnectedness and teaches us that our actions have repercussions – some that we see; most that we do not. Through Asteya, we learn that when we take what is not offered, we show a lack of respect for others. When we take more than we need, we leave less for everyone else.
To fully understand Asteya, it helps to think about the source of “stealing/coveting” behavior. Stealing, or the desire to take from someone else, is based in a feeling of lack, and sometimes originates from a sense of entitlement – a feeling or belief that we deserve something that we have not yet earned. The root of the behavior is a belief that one’s own wants and needs are more important than those of others. This self-importance, selfishness, and sense of entitlement can manifest as negative behaviors.
When we choose to practice Asteya, we attract abundance in our lives because we no longer desire things that exist outside ourselves. We no longer feel the sense of entitlement that can drive us towards stealing and coveting behaviors. We learn through Asteya that everything we need in life is already within us.
examples of asteya in action
1. asteya & leadership
From Brenna, Cow Hollow store manager:
Sharing knowledge, training, feedback, coaching and development is a way of practicing Asteya.
You have the information because someone was generous enough to share it with you, and by not giving it back (or paying it forward), you are being stingy and taking more than your share. When all you do is TAKE (whether its development, feedback, etc) and don't make an effort to GIVE (feedback, development, coaching, etc) you aren't practicing Asteya.
The repercussion is not only imbalance (more taking than giving), but also the cost to the other person of not having that knowledge. What kind of leader has information that they know will support another person in their growth and development and then actively chooses not to give it?
From Erik, Director of Asset Protection for lululemon
Asteya is a way of being. It is a daily practice, and we always want to elevate ourselves and those around us and show people how to powerfully impact their lives.
Thousands of years ago, the idea of non-stealing encompassed both tangible and non-tangible objects; all still things people have rights around. This concept could include someone’s time, someone’s joy, and idea that someone has, or something as simple as the space in a conversation for someone else to speak up.
At lululemon we learn through Asteya that everything we need in life is already within us.
When we govern ourselves through the practice of Asteya we enhance our culture of honesty and integrity; thus naturally achieving our asset protection goals.
3. asteya & gratitude
From Gillian, designer of the Asteya artwork
I would say that I practice Asteya every day in that I value people's time, because as a busy person myself I realize that it is a very precious thing. We use the term "giving the gift of time" when we finish a meeting earlier than planned and I think it's such a perfect connection to the idea of Asteya.
Although time is less tangible than a gift, it’s still incredibly valuable. I try to arrive at meetings prepared and having done my pre-work, and although I love a good tangent and lots of laughter and jokes, I always try to reign in when things have gone off topic – the gift of time is there so we CAN enjoy those moments.
Don't get me wrong, its not all rules and seriousness, it's just that I really truly want to get things done so I can enjoy all the other things that life has to offer, like a yoga class at lunch.
Learn more about the yamas here.
How do you practice asteya in your everyday life?