Loving greetings and a hearty welcome to autumn – my favourite time of year! At the moment, I’m writing an article for the Yoga Scotland magazine on ‘brahmacharya’, so I thought I’d make it the focus of this blog post.
The literal translation of the word “brahmacharya” is the “path to Brahman (the Absolute)”. In its richest sense, brahmacharya represents training your mind to resist the outward and downward pulls of sensuality that may disturb your yoga practice. This better enables you to transform your physical energy (ojas) into spiritual brilliance (tejas).
I’ve noticed that most modern yoga students have trouble relating to the simplistic interpretation of brahmacharya as celibacy. For yogis, being moderate is not primarily a question of morality, but of energy control. Brahmacharya may be better seen as nurturing a healthy respect for yourself and your partner(s). It is also about refraining from meaningless extravagances that deplete your energy. Decreasing the amount of energy you spend on sensory indulgences may include reducing your participation in forms of entertainment, such as TV and other aspects of mass media.
Some suggestions for brahmacharya in daily life:
- Refrain from gossip!!
- Notice what you tend to do to excess, whether it is talking, eating, watching TV, sleeping or your sexual pursuits. Choose one of your excesses and try to be more moderate in it.
- Practice mouna (silence, another sort of “fast”) one day each week – or for one hour each day. Voluntary silence is one of the most powerful techniques to assist you in purifying your mind.
- If you watch TV, give it up one day per week. Notice how much less drained you feel. Some people do a full ‘electronic fast’ each week – a full day of no internet, texting or tv!