Eight Limbs of Yoga: Brahmacharya

Brahmacharya – Unconditional Love, Continence, Celibacy, Control of Desire

“Walking With God”

Brahmacharya invites us to practice living with the highest integrity, relating to one another with unconditional love, free of manipulation or selfishness. It includes practicing sexual moderation and chastity if chosen, because that is part of relating in the highest integrity.” YogawithKatrina.com

When we practice Brahmacharya we practice moderation in order to create balance. This moderation involves energy conservation. Why? Because the basis of Brahmacharya is to use our energy in a spiritual sense to connect to our Higher Self. When we distribute our energy impulsively on other things, and at times many things, we are depleting our energy stores. This means that we are taking away energy from our spiritual pursuit and giving energy to our desires. Sometimes, yes, this is of a sexual nature. Other times it’s other sensory desires. Brahmacharya enables us to live unbound by the senses, unbound by desire. When we are bound by desire we believe we “need” things in order to survive. This is generally not the case. We actually need very little in life to survive.

Brahmacharya is not a limitation; it is a choice to live moderately, enjoying life as it is instead of looking to the outer world or outer things to prove our worth or bring us happiness. When we look within and connect with our divine selves – we have all we need for happiness and our worth need not be proven because it simply is.

The true essence of this Yama is to see the divine in ourselves and in others – at all times. This means living in Namaste`: The Divine in me sees the Divine in you and I bow to you.

When we see this truth, then we are better able to release desire because we can put our energy toward our spiritual selves instead of our worldly, material wants, etc.  With this comes the practice of celibacy. In this practice celibacy is a key factor in spiritual growth in terms of energy conservation. This is very important to not only a yoga practice but to any spiritual practice. Conserving energy that would normally be put toward sexual desire enables one to utilize it for spiritual energy which can lead to deeper spiritual experiences, stronger will-power, and a greater connection to the divine – your higher self and cosmic consciousness. This doesn’t mean to suppress the natural human sexual instincts – rather, to practice them in proper context. That means that sex is utilized as a means of spiritual connection – not gratification. The more energy one expends on sensory gratification the less energy there is for spiritual awareness.

Brahmacharya teaches us to be mindful of our senses, mindful of what we eat, mindful of material distractions and wants, mindful of what we watch or hear, mindful of our sexual engagemetns. Brahmacharya allows us to act with a deeper awareness at all times of how we are reacting to our sensory wants and enables us to not be slaves to our desire but instead, masters of our selves living as the divine beings we are, seeing others as the divine beings they are, seeing life as a beautiful divine dance. When we take Brahmacharya into our lives with a deep yoga and meditation practice, we greatly expand our spiritual growth.

“We practice brahmacharya when we consciously choose to use our life force to express our dharma (our true place in the cosmic process), rather than to frivolously dissipate it in an endless pursuit of fleeting pleasures. Brahmacharya reminds us that our life force is both limited and precious. This yama teaches us to use our energy wisely so we can living a fulfilling and meaningful life.”- Robyn Hussa

 

Affirmation/Mantra/Prayer: 

*Bound Angle Pose – at least 5 minutes per day, in mantra meditation*

“I let go of everything not for my highest good.”

Journal Questions for Personal Growth: 

Does this serve my highest good?

Potential Ways to Begin Practicing Brahmacharya:

  1. Daily meditation, mantra and personal growth work.
  2. Keep the company of spiritual, like-minded people.
  3. Listen daily to spiritual, reflective, soothing music.
  4. Read uplifting books, quotes, affirmations etc. daily.
  5. Practice moderation in all things – create balance, not over or under indulgence.
  6. Avoid the company of people who are not like-minded, who have no interest in spiritual life.
  7. Avoid books, magazines, television, radio, and movies that are centered on materialism, sex, or that do not provide a spiritual uplifting.
  8. Avoid casual sexual associations.
  9. Avoid any person or thing that discounts your spiritual path or attempts to pull you from your path of inner peace.
  10. Avoid giving in to impulsive urges of the senses – the “want it now” factor.
  11. Abstain from drugs, nicotine, and alcohol – anything that could create a sensory shift.

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