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What Yoga Philosophy Teaches Us About Giving Generously

Astheya (Non-Stealing) - What Yoga Philosophy Teaches Us About Giving Generously

It’s been over 2 years since our first lockdown happened in the UK, and we were told to work from home.

I had just moved to a new full-time role at work (I work for the Mayor of London) just one week before the first lockdown. I was previously working part-time in a different team and juggling my part-time job and my 2 businesses (web design and Yoga & Ayurveda business).

When the pandemic hit the world, I felt a bit helpless as I saw many people giving up their time to volunteer, including my partner.

As I started a new job working full-time and was also running my business, I was working 7 days a week and working long hours. I had no time to give… well at least that’s what I thought.

Pre-Covid, I was teaching weekly in-person Yoga classes to my colleagues at work.

I was reluctant to switch it online at first as that would mean I had to move the furniture in our tiny living room every time I taught (including a super heavy sofa!).

And this felt like a lot of hard work…

But with encouragement from my regular students, I decided to teach online (which I now really enjoy and teach twice a week!).

I then decided to use my yoga classes to raise funds for a local charity.

I couldn’t give up my time to go out and volunteer but I could help raise funds through what I do best – teaching Yoga!

It started with one charity, Trussell Trust who support an extensive network of food banks with a target of £200 as I didn’t think we would be working from home for that long!

Two years later, we supported 4 charities and we have collectively raised over £3,800! (You can check out the charities we’ve been supporting here.)

I am so grateful for my students who gave so generously every month.

I wanted to share this story with you, because I feel this is a great example of how through small actions we can all be a part of the ripple effect – helping to create a better world.

Every week, I receive lovely feedback from my students sharing how these Yoga classes help them with their physical and mental health, especially through lockdown.

By them attending my classes every week, they not only create positive change for themselves but for those around them.

Whether it is their family, children, partner or friends their positivity, stability and purpose will start having positive effects on others.

And on top of that, by supporting our selected charities, we are also helping vulnerable people living in London and London’s wildlife.

By using our own personal skills we can all be a part of this ripple effect – even if your contribution may not be immediately obvious.

Have a think how you have or can contribute to the spreading of positivity, you may surprise yourself!

Astheya (Non-Stealing) - What Yoga Philosophy Teaches Us About Giving Generously

So what can we learn from the Yoga philosophy about giving?

“Abiding in generosity and honesty (Astheya), material and spiritual prosperity is bestowed”

Sutra 2.37 translation by Nischala Joy Devi, The Secret Power of Yoga

‘Astheya’ is the third Yama of the five Yamas of the Eightfold Path (or Eight Limbs of Yoga) in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra and it’s often translated as “non-stealing”.

But I love Nischala Joy Devi’s translation – “generosity and honesty”.

In her book, she mentioned “Astheya tells us not to steal – it says give”

There are many ways you can practice Astheya, but I wanted to focus on giving generously.

Practice of Astheya is not just giving of money and material things, but also giving of time and giving from your heart.

Whichever ways you choose to give, I invite you to think about what small ways you can expand your generosity and what ripple effect you can create by this act of generosity and giving.

It’s time to create waves!