Asteya commonly translates as non-stealing. Similar to Ahimsa that translates as non-violence, I have a hard time relating to the "non" language. It's easier for me to work with the teaching if it is switched into the positive. For example, Ahimsa as loving kindness instead of non-violence.
As it turns out, non-stealing is not quite so easy to turn into the positive. During our group discussion in class, we talked about compassion and respect being positive aspects of non-stealing. These are both close, but we all agreed, they don't really capture the spirit of non-stealing. When one of our Yoga Lab teacher's Clara Diamond came up with a beautiful and simple definition - a commitment to maintaining balance - most felt like this hit the mark.
What does non-stealing - a commitment to maintaining balance look like? Some examples are when I'm doing all the talking in a conversation without tuning into the other person in the conversation. This is out of balance. In a way I'm "stealing" this person's time. Or in relation to how I use my own time. If I am always striving to get things just right, I may be missing out on what is happening in the present moment. Reaching for some unattainable goal. Robbing myself of enjoying what's happening right here right now.
Test it out. See what non-stealing means to you.