21 Aug
2013

The Yamas: What is Brahmacharya? What is it to you?

What is Brahmacharya?

In recent posts, we’ve discussed many Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga, but what is Brahmacharya?

The Yamas are the first limb on yoga’s eight-limbed path. They are ethical disciplines Yogis live their lives by.

In the last few weeks we have wrote about the four other Yamas: ahimsa, satya, asteya, and aparigraha.

Today we focus on Brahmacharya.

What is Brahmacharya translated in English?

According to the dictionary brahmacharya means the life of celibacy, religious study, and self-restraint.

Our teacher, Rory Trollen, taught us that “Brah” means Creator. Macharya means “follow.” Rory said, “Brahmacharya is the fundamental source of our being. Since it is the source of our being, this is where our sexual energy comes from.”

We were all created by sexual energy and desire. A lot of our thoughts, as Nietzsche has elaborated on, have come from this strong sense of sexual desire and desire to reproduce. Our creativity comes from Our Source.

This Yama in yoga teaches us to use our energy to follow our Source, our Creator, and our God, whoever that may be, to you.

What is Brahmacharya in relation to celibacy?

A lot of teachers say that practicing brahmacharya is practicing a life of celibacy. Like all traditional spiritual traditions, yoga advocates restraining from indulging in sensual gratification.  One of the many reasons is that practicing the higher limbs of yoga – dharana, dhyana, samadhi – requires a tremendous amount of energy or prana. This energy is built up through the practices of yoga such as asanas, pranayama and japa but is dissipated during sensual enjoyment. Of all the sensual activities, sex is the one that will be the most depleting to the psychic and nervous system. Teachers say that one should practice brahmacharya to the best of their ability. Obviously there are more extreme yogis out there and less extreme.

What is Brahmacharya? How I Follow the principles of Brahmacharya

I use Brahmacharya to act as a discipline to follow God and myself. To get on the mat and practice. To listen to what we want, and to listen to what others want. To love.

Our teacher stressed to use Brahmacharya as a symbol to follow the great teachers. He told us, “Don’t be sheep. 95% of people are sheep adapting and subscribing to a social environment. They are impacted greatly by what others think of them. They are swadhisthana.”

What is Brahmacharya? Sheep sitting in traffic?

Have you ever felt like a sheep being herded during your daily morning commute? Become the Maripuna of your life! (image credit: veracityvoice.com)

Instead he told us to fight to be manipura. “Manipuras are the shephards. The ones who want to lead themselves. The ones who want to be themselves. The ones who want to love themselves. They are the ones who use brahmacharya to follow their path.”

What is brahmacharya to you? How do you use this Yama in your life?

We are learners. We would love to hear how others use this powerful Yama, beyond “Don’t have sex.” How does it make you? Change you? We hope to learn from every one of you who read all the way through to this. Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section of this post!

2 comments blevine32

2 thoughts on “The Yamas: What is Brahmacharya? What is it to you?

  1. Danielle says:

    Pattabhi goes into detail in Yoga Mala by describing “The interval between the fourth and sixteenth day of a woman’s cycle is regarded as the correct time for intercourse by scriptural experts. . . . Engaged in after the sixteenth day, as well as on the days of the new and full moons, the transitory day of the sun, and the eighth and fourteenth days after the full and new moons, sexual intercourse and the like are not related to brahmacharya.” He also includes the matter of day and night when determining the times intercourse should not occur.

    I am interested as to how these exact periods of time were calculated and decided upon . . Hmmmm

  2. Pingback: What Are the Yamas and Niyamas? - Lucid Practice

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