I recently attended a weekend workshop at the Himalayan Institute in the mountains of Pennsylvania. HI is where I completed my 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher training, and this center for Yoga, meditation, and wellness has become my home away from home. The workshop, “The Sadhana of Herbs for Digestion” was full of invaluable information and I can’t wait to start making my own Kombucha! But let’s be honest, it was really just an excuse to get away and visit this very special, scratch that, sacred place.
As I am consciously practicing Asteya this month, I am reminded of my first visit to the ashram in August 2012. I had no idea what to expect and was full of excitement and unnecessary nerves as I flew into the tiny Scranton airport and rode through the Poconos Mountains to my destination. Upon arrival I met Emily Smith, who is still a resident and now a teacher at HI, and she checked me in, gave me my itinerary, and showed where to find my room on a map. I left the front desk, turned around after a few steps and asked, “Do I need a key?” Emily replied with a smile, “You don’t need a key. There are no locks.” This statement pretty much sums up what an amazing place the Himalayan Institute is. There is an overall feeling of openness, of welcome, of trust. As I learned (a lot) in teacher training, the path to one’s highest self includes practice (duh) and non-attachment. This is really the essence of Asteya, that nothing REALLY belongs to ME, so there is nothing to steal or be stolen. From my travel shampoo to my wallet to my very own body, it’s all just borrowed stuff. Our duty is not to lock it up for fear of having it taken, but to enjoy it while it’s around, and then let it go when it is time.
Oof. That’s a hard concept to grasp sometimes (I’m okay with the shampoo, but my own flesh and blood?) So here’s a lovely and relatable article from Yoga International, the online magazine of HI, on how we can ALL apply Asteya on our mats. This is, afterall, where we practice, not just Asana, but how to move, breathe, and live a little higher, a little more free, and train to be the best versions of ourselves possible. You’re welcome.