Yoga Practice This Week: Asteya, The Stomach Meridian, and All Is Well
- Scarcity Story
- Sutra 11.35: Asteya / Non-Stealing
- Not Good Enough
- The Grass is Greener
- Passage from Adyashanti
- Experience it
- Yoga Sequence: Asteya, The Stomach Meridian, and All Is Well
Last week I finished up a private yoga lesson with a client and he handed me payment for the lesson. I curled it up in my hand and shoved it in my bag without looking at how much he had given me. When I got home, I took the payment out of my bag and put it into my wallet. Then looked again in my wallet and noticed that there seemed to be an extra $100 dollar bill in there! My mind jumped to “he must have accidentally overpaid me!” I wasn’t sure if it was from him so I compared the bills, they were both brand new and had the same crinkle points in them so I decided that the bills must have stuck together and that he had, indeed, overpaid me.
My first thought was to call him and tell him that he had overpaid me and that he could use it for credit or I could bring it back. Then my monkey mind tried to convince me to keep it. It said, “well… maybe he meant to give that to you or maybe you should just keep it and celebrate for the tip!” Then my mind said, “but what if he realizes that he overpaid me and I have just kept the bill! Then he’ll think I am a terrible person! Besides, that IS TERRIBLE! That’s stealing!” But there was still this little urge to keep the money, and it was really uncomfortable!
THEN! I glanced down in my lap and there my yoga sutra book sits, WIDE OPEN to ASTEYA! (Non-Stealing) I had been teaching the yamas and niyamas for the past week and had just been looking through it for inspiration and there it was, the message of non-stealing. I took it as a message and called him up and told him that he had overpaid me. He decided to use it as credit for our next lesson and even gave me a good tip!
asteya = non-stealing
pratisthayam = well established
sarva = all
ratna = gems, precious things
upasthanam = approaching, coming up
B.K.S. Iyengar Translation:
When abstention from stealing is firmly established, precious jewels come.
Upon the man who does not take what does not belong to him, all riches are showered. Being without desire, he effortlessly attracts what is precious, materially and figuratively, including the gem of all jewels, virtue.
Non-Judgement of Stealing:
We could look at me with a lot of judgement here, pointing to how bad of a person I am for even having those kind of thoughts, but to look with judgement is to go unconscious to what is really going on. If we take a closer look at me in this situation we can see that there is an underlying feeling of scarcity. Scarcity is a feeling of not having enough and sometimes it is based in reality and sometimes it is just a mental state that doesn’t actually compute with reality. It’s a fear of not having enough to be ok and it accompanies a deeper underlying feeling of not being ok.
Not Good Enough:
Many of us wake up in the morning and our first thought is “I didn’t get enough sleep” and our second thought is “I don’t have enough time!” The list goes on, not enough love, enough money, enough friends, enough community, enough energy, enough time off…
A friend shared with me that when she was growing up there was a constant message from her parents that there wasn’t enough, she said that they would buy her clothes that was too big so that she didn’t outgrow it, and even if it was tattered and stained, it still fit so she wouldn’t get something new yet. She said that they were always battling over whether she needed new shoes and pushing her to eat everything on her plate because there were starving kids somewhere. There was this feeling that they didn’t have enough money or enough resources and that they should be afraid and make all their decisions based on the idea of a shrinking well of energy available to them.
I paused with this realization that my mind was in fear mode and that’s what powered the idea to keep the bill in the first place and noticed that I am ok… noticed that in that moment, I had everything that I needed, I had a full belly, enough food at home, enough money for a snack, I was warm, comfy, and had a full tank of gas.. I also thought about all my friends and the support they would give me if anything were to happen and realized how deeply okay I really am. It seems like it’s time to let go of the fear about not being ok. What a relief!
The Grass is Greener:
Scarcity can also manifest in “the grass has got to be greener somewhere else,” choosing to bypass this life and this moment for the promise of a better moment, a better life, a better place to live, better friends, a better relationship or partner, a better teacher etc… and this is the very thing that can rob us of the gift of this moment, the preciousness of our lives, and the love that is waiting for us to realize that we have.
Passage from Emptiness Dancing by Adyashanti:
“You always have two choices. Once choice is the familiar one: to sacrifice this mysterious awake-ness for something else. The second choice is not to sacrifice this that’s awake and present, wherever you happen to be. You can choose not to sacrifice this for the next promise of a better moment, a better event, or a better experience…..”
“Feel the immediate visceral invitation of this that is awake, to put down everything else…..Allow yourself the great gift of this moment.” – Adyashanti
Yoga Practice This Week: Asteya, The Stomach Meridian, and All Is Well
In this yoga practice we will stretch and work muscles along the stomach meridian to bring us back into connection with mother earth and our source of safety, connection, and abundance. The poses that stretch the stomach meridian bring a state of well-being and deep sense of being okay.
I’ll pair the teaching of physical poses of this sequence with Asteya (non-stealing) and the buddhist teaching of “all is well.”
The Stomach Meridian:
In the 5-Element Theory of Shiatsu the stomach and spleen meridians are associated with the earth element. Earth represents the transition between each season and also represents late summer time a.k.a. Indian summer. It’s a time of abundance and ease of life. In the late summer, it’s a time of harvesting, fruits hang from trees, it’s warm enough to sleep outside and everything we need is within arm’s reach. It is also a feeling of being grounded and centered. When we are grounded and centered there is a deep underlying knowing that we can grow and move through life because we are totally held and safe and supported. The poses we do in this sequence are designed to stretch and activate the stomach meridian.
All is Well:
One of my favorite teachings from the Buddha is: “Everything we need is within arm’s reach.”
I’d like to pair this with the Buddhist teaching that, “All is well, and even all is not well, but ALL IS WELL, and more well than can be imagined.” – Adyashanti
- Supta Virasana (Eka Pada –> Dwi Pada) Use three blocks, start with low block under pelvis and two high blocks under chest and head. Incrementally raise the pelvis block to medium height and then to highest height to increase stretch across the thigh and abdomen. Hold elbows overhead to take stretch all the way through the torso.
- Virasana: seated meditation, AUM
- Handstand, pinchamayurasana, uttanasana done 3 times in a row
- Crescent pose with back knee on the floor, vinyasa between, stretch open front of thigh, repeat twice
- Sun Salutation B (feel the activation of the stomach meridian in the legs during Utkatasana, warrior 1 and the opening during Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
- Wheel Pose
- Viparitta Dandasana in Chair (4 stages)
- Wheel Push-ups: Place feet on chair seat and push up and down into wheel 5 times
- Wheel with feet on chair seat
- Urdhva Dhanurasana 2 prep: Wheel with feet on chair seat, extend legs straight
- Urdhva Dhanurasana 2 on Floor in 3 stages: 1st stage – feet as wide as yoga mat, straighten legs. 2nd stage – feet hip width apart, straighten legs. 3rd stage – Feet together straighten legs
- Viparitta Dandasana on floor
- Dwi Pada Pavanmuktasana
- Jathara Parivartanasana
- Prassaritta Padottanasana as a side twist, hold opposite ankle and open up side
- Janu Sirsasana
- Legs up the wall, put feet in squatting position, flat on wall with knees bent in and wide apart, breath into your back and let the back hammock down into the blanket. Once spine feels released, straighten legs up the wall and together, feel the further release of the back and the floor or blanket holding of the sacrum.