Tag Archive | brahmacharya

Don’t Be a Sex Fiend.

Brahmacharya: Chapter 4 of Yamas and Niyamas for “Normal” People

WAIT, COME BACK!!!!!  This is not the time to swear off yoga and head to more sinful pastures.  Bear with me here.

So here’s the thing: Brahmacharya has several different interpretations, one of which is abstinence.

But that’s not all; another interpretation is the idea that you don’t waste your seed, so to speak.  (Are you going to make me say it?  This is a family show, guys!)  What I mean is, if you are aware that there are 100 fields and 100 rows in each field, maybe you shouldn’t visit each and every field with your wild oats.  Maybe you should be more selective about the fields and rows you choose.

And along those lines, I think one interpretation of Brahmacharya is that you are not violating that principle if you and your partner are sharing that time together as a way of honoring God with your monogamy and faithfulness to each other.

But truly, I do not think the focus of Brahmacharya is supposed to be sex.  The point is that you should not be so addicted to the things that your flesh wants (e.g., sex, food, shoes, iPhones) that you take your focus off of God.  For example, one translation of Yoga Sutra 2.38 (the Sutra from which this yama originates) says this about Brahmacharya: “When walking in the awareness of the highest reality is firmly established, then a great strength, capacity, or vitality is acquired.”  

In English?  You are strongest when you put all of your focus on God (or your Higher Power of choice).

So, Alex, are you saying that you can’t think about God and sex at the same time?  Umm…Simultaneously?  That’s between you and your Higher Power, I suppose.  Don’t get me wrong; I am absolutely not suggesting that people who like sex can’t have a strong relationship with God.  At the same time, while I truly believe that God is omnipresent, I don’t think that means He’s encouraging you to meet Him in the strip club, or the bedroom, or backseat of the car parked in a dark field, or whatever.  You know.

What I’m saying is, focus on God, not……um….sex.

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The Yamas and Niyamas for “Normal” People

Ok, I just said that to get you here 🙂
As part of yoga teacher training, we had to spend a bit of time on the Yamas and Niyamas.  The Yamas (practices for adjusting your interactions with other people) and the Niyamas (practices for adjusting your relationship with yourself) come from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  Well, that could be a month-long blog session in itself, so let’s stick a pin in that one, ok?  But suffice it to say, this the Yoga Sutras are very important to yoga students, and I’m a yoga student, so we’re going to talk about them!
Now, the Yamas and Niyamas are:
Aparigraha
Saucha
Santosha
Tapas
Svadhyaya
Ishvara Pranidhana
You know what’s fun?  I’m not going to tell you what all of them mean right now.  Just click on a word that appeals to your mental palate and go with it!  I find that when you are drawn to something naturally, you learn it much more permanently than if you force it upon yourself.  So check out the list at your leisure and see what strikes you.  (And I mean “strike” in a totally non-harming way.)
Before we jump into this adventure, I’ll share with you what prompted this.  As I read about each principle, I found that many of them seemed rigid, or lofty, or otherwise impossible to execute while living in America with a full-time job and a family and bills.  So what’s a yogini to do?
I’ll tell you what.  Jump in and figure it all out!   I am hoping that over the next couple of weeks, we figure out together how to make them work in our lives.  The point isn’t that we “attain” or “perfect” any of these skills or principles; the point is that we continue to explore what they mean for us, and how we’re going topracticethem every day.  So, let’s begin, shall we?