Redefining Guilty Pleasure

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I have been picking one yama or niyama (two of the eight limbs of yoga philosophy) a week to focus on in my reading, meditation and yoga classes. This week is astheya— which usually translates as non-stealing or non-covetess. I find this translation not very exciting and difficult to connect with. I can’t help thinking about stealing, things I want that I don’t have and what is lacking in my life– really the opposite of how I would like to spend my time. Luckily, one of my favorite authors (Nishala Joy Devi) offers a different translation that of astheya as generosity. I imagine myself filling with gratitude every time I breathe in and giving back every time I breathe out. Contented and serene as a part of the whole web of life with every breath.

I got to wondering how I could be more generous with myself– compassionate with my expectations, present in the moment and relaxed about self-judgement. The whole process took me from feeling lacking to feeling a lot more abundant. As I put my concentration on what I have and what I enjoy, the “guilt” in guilty pleasures fell away. Regret and guilt don’t serve me in my joyful breath cycle, thought cycle, practice cycle of generosity. Once I took the guilt away decisions came a little easier and pleasures became a little more enjoyable.

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