Asteya

Asteya is a Sanskrit word meaning literally “not stealing” and expressing a value for respecting not only the property of others, but the proper use and relationships of all things. Our practices of yoga asana offer us microcosms in which to study how we live out each of our values.

In yoga asana practice, we can investigate asteya in our lives by observing how we compensate for our weaknesses. How do we steal energy from the front of our leg to compensate for the weakness on the left side of our leg? How does our less than strong core require other muscles to work overtime to support us in our daily lives? What happens to our legs when we forget that we have feet and let our arches fall and heels slide all over?

We also allow ourselves to be stolen from when we become unconscious in how we move and hold our bodies. We leak energy we could be using to create the beauty in our lives and relationships. On the mat, we can observe these habits with kindness and awareness and begin our transformation in the very act of becoming conscious.

Things you might want to have handy: Yoga Mat, Yoga Towel or Blanket, Yoga Strap, Yoga Bolster.

It is recommended to perform the warm-up before starting this routine.

 

Step 1: Vinyasa
Duration: 2-12 times
Pose Review: Vinyasa Sequence

In your smooth flow from one posture to the next, note where your body and attention have a tendency to disengage. Are there places where you rely on one part of your body to do most of the work? Are you evenly engaged and attentive throughout?

 

Step 2: Extended Side Angle
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Extended Side Angle

Preparing in Warrior II, press into all four corners of both feet and sink into your foundation. Maintain this sense of strength even as you reach your front arm down inside of your bent knee and extend your top arm along your ear.

 

Step 3: Half Moon Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Half Moon Pose

Looking down, place your bottom hand on the ground in front of your bent knee. As you lift your back leg, notice how you distribute your effort and strength through both your standing and flying legs, and remain conscious of how your core engagement effects your ability to soar.

 

Step 4: Repeat Steps 2-3 five times on each side, moving smoothly between the poses and noting where you are strong and where you compensate.

 

Step 5: Monkey Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Monkey Pose

From Low Lunge with your back knee down, extend your forward leg and draw your toes back towards your torso. Notice how the stretch in the back of your leg transmits through your pelvic floor and whether you feel it anywhere else. Begin to slide your front heel forward as you extend your back leg behind you. Which leg is more engaged? What happens when you change that balance? Can you equally engage both legs. How does your core engagement affect your pelvic floor and stability in this pose?


Step 6: Repeat on the other side.

 

Step 7: Wheel Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Wheel Pose

From Corpse pose, bend your knees and bring your feet up to your hips. Place your hands, palm down above your shoulders, fingers pointed toward your feet. As you exhale and lift your hips, notice what parts of your body do the lifting. Consciously spread the effort into adjacent muscles. Exhaling again, lift your hips so high that your spine waves up as you straighten your arms and complete the arch of a full wheel backbend. Draw your tailbone toward your knees and evenly support your spine from every direction. Note any areas of reduced engagement and use your attention and intention to re-distribute your effort.


Step 8: Shoulder Stand
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Pose Review: Shoulder Stand

From a supine position, press your elbows into the ground, draw your knees in and extend your legs up and overhead. Bring your hands to your low back and support it until your breath stabilizes. Reaching up through your toes, slowly bring your hips over your shoulders until your shoulders, hips and toes are in a line perpendicular to the ground. Breathe with your chest, keeping your core muscles fully engaged.

 

Step 9: Plow
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Pose Review: Plow Pose

Lower your feet behind your head without lowering your hips toward your chest. Maintain long side bodies. Reach your hands behind you and bring your hand together with straight arms.
    
 

Step 10: Fish
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Fish Pose

Unfurl through your core until your hips are on the ground. Bend your knees and bring your toes to the ground. Pressing your elbows into the ground, lift your heart up until you are balanced on your sitting bones and sacrum and reach the top of your head back to the ground. Reach your arms up.

Perform the relaxation sequence to complete this routine.


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