As we begin to consciously practice asteya, we also see just where and how we need to change. Suddenly we are no longer comfortable with the rationalizations and compromises we have been making.
-Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
Day 31 – Life is full of compromises as an adult. As a teacher, I am constantly being asked by students, parents, and others to compromise one thing for another. Often it feels as if I am compromising something essential to my being. A misuse of language, no attempt at correct grammar, a broken pencil from our pencil boxes on the table, an impromptu visit from an administrator, a phone call to a parent on my lunch time, a behavior that stops class…I feel compromised, and its niggling and at times even painful, over and over, day in and day out.
Today’s reading is all about nonstealing, or asteya. It’s taken me a long road to get here, but I have begun noticing how compromise in one area (say, the yoga mat) leads to other compromises and rationalizations in other areas of my life. This morning I consider how I steal from one place in my life to ease (seemingly) another area of my life, and how this arises from fear. So, too, have I learned from a group of students whom I serve this year how mindful repetition teaches us many things, and from this vantage point, I begin to construct the tenets of my day.
So, I stepped on the mat today, resting in the awareness of my universal self (my back body) in a gentle, unassuming way, moving through and into postures and then back to my universal self. The front body not compromising to the back body, and the mind not compromising to the will, and the will not compromising to the heart. No compromises or rationalizations, just practice: meditation, pranayama, asana.