Stealing Energy: a teaching of the Yama’s and Niyama’s on Non-Stealing

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

This week I had an experience that taught me again the price we pay for not listening to “the still small voice within” and how stealing energy from others and ourselves can cause stress or a dangerous outcome.

I was having a very hectic day. I needed to receive a download from someone and it wasn’t successfully being downloaded. The entire day was consumed by this problem.

Although I had asked prior to the holiday weekend and “my still small voice” had guided me to ask for what I needed, when I did reach out I wasn’t responded to. So here I had wanted to avoid a last minute rush, but the day evolved into a last minute rush job and all the stress that went with it.

The people sending the download hadn’t thought through clearly that there would be a problem for the person on the other end to receive the “too large file” that they were sending. If they had taken a few more minutes to think it through, my day would have been totally different. Or, if I had more clearly thought through how much energy I had for “the last minute request” I had agreed to at the last minute, I might not have agreed to do this last minute job.

I finally received what I needed at 5 PM and I was exhausted. But rather than respecting my body, I then headed out to my destination driving. While driving I actually had a very, very faint sense “the still small voice” to return home and go in the morning instead. But I didn’t listen to it, and kept driving on the highway determined to get to my destination. Then, out of nowhere a deer struck my car. Although I wasn’t hurt, my car was totaled and I now have some injuries to my neck and back.

In both of these scenarios, the teaching of non-stealing of the Yama’s from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali can be applied. The examples demonstrate how energy is being stolen. The first example is when we are not taking into account the outcome our actions will create for others or what another needs, i.e. creating a chaotic day for another person and stealing their energy, even unintentionally. The second example is when we mistakenly think we can pull energy out of the air to accomplish more in a day than is possible, and when we don’t listen to our own body, we are stealing our own precious energy and causing undo stress to ourselves.


Barbara Neiman is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Yoga and Mindfulness teacher, Body-Mind Centering Practitioner, and a National Presenter & Educator. She is the author of The Adopted Teen Workbook, My Calm Place Card Deck and Mindfulness and Yoga Skills for Children and Adolescents.   She offers courses and coaching online and in-person to schools and agencies around the country.

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