Yoga in real life: Bramacharya

Updated: Nov 24, 2018

This week we're continuing on our path of bringing yoga into everyday life with the idea of bramacharya (brah-mah-CHAR-ee-ya) which is about moderation. You can check out tips and ideas over on Instagram.

Let's just start by acknowledging that this concept is traditionally about asceticism, or abstinence, particularly with sex. So, if that speaks to you, you can absolutely start by going down that route as a way to purify and conserve your energy. Sexual energy is very powerful, and the ancient yogis believed that by conserving it rather than, well, expending it

they would be able to pull the energy from their lower chakras (or energy centers) up to the crown chakra where they could use it for connection with the divine.

Having said that, modern yoga philosophy doesn't assert that abstinence is the only way to practice this yama. Instead, we look at bramacharya as a call to avoid dependence and over indulgence in all things. And when you think about it, as you connect deeper with your own intuition, there's a difference between doing something fun and savoring it, and doing something fun with a frantic, out-of-control feeling. It's different to eat an entire box of cookies intentionally, enjoying every single one, versus eating the entire box and not even realizing it's gone because you've disassociated from your body and your actions.

To be clear, it's not about judging either of those choices. But it is about realizing what brings you joy, and to what level of it feels good. And then stopping when it's time to stop. And that goes for "healthy" choices, too. There's a difference between consciously choosing to exercise every day or eat "clean" versus feeling that if you don't do those things you're going to be emotionally or physically punished. It's about releasing your dependence on the outside work for feelings of validation, joy or worthiness, and instead using that energy for more constructive things.

This is a practice of presence and awareness.

So for this week, tune in to yourself. There isn't much to do beyond just notice what makes you happy, what feels good, and also what you're doing expecting it to feel good out of habit, but maybe doesn't actually have the same impact that it used to. And if you liked journaling from previous weeks, then that's a great way to help you reflect on what's working and what isn't.

Let me know how it goes!



© 2019 by Libby Meis

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