We are continuously taking away thoughts and ideas of others, sometimes their words, and very quietly even their objects. And we have excuses! “Our need was so great, we had no chance to ask,” etc. An animal does not bother about the idea of stealing. But a human, as he gets civilized, differentiates between what really belongs to him and what does not belong to him. In yoga this concept of Asteya is one of the Yamas, one of the binding techniques.
You cannot progress in yoga if you have not controlled these tendencies. The discipline is very hard. Sometimes one wonders that these tendencies are so hard to control, and that if you go after them you might spend hours and hours. You have other important things to do, so why waste time after these ideas about not stealing, not getting angry, etc.? But then we have to understand that the techniques in yoga begin with them. The Yamas and the Niyamas are the starting point. And clearly the Yogi wants you to be determined to bring about changes in yourself. It is not just a half-hearted wish that we want to improve, that we want to change, and that we want to become better.
Some people maintain a diary. The first ten days they write something in it and then the diary is never attended to. This kind of an interest to better ourselves is not really a very strong one. Areas like our health, our mental development, our objective and purpose in life, are all hardly thought of.