May Newsletter – Brahmacharya – Nonexcess or Abstinence
May Newsletter – Brahmacharya – Nonexcess or Abstinence
Apologies for writing this late.
This month we look at the practice of Brahmacharya. The word Brahmacharya is Sanskrit and can be translated as meaning the following. – God Like, ethical conduct like God, Relating to another with unconditional love and integrity, without selfishness or manipulation, celibacy, chastity, complete and total abstinence from all sensual pleasures.
Brahmacharya is the practice of abstinence in hopes the practitioner will foster relationships based on the spiritual nature. It means that we act with responsible behavior with respect of our goal in moving towards truth. Practicing brahmacharya can be channeling excess energy to regenerate our connection to our spiritual self. It also means that we don’t use this energy to harm others and that we relate to others with unconditional love & integrity. Brahmacharya is the practice of sexual abstinence, restrain from sexual misconduct towards ourselves and others and avoidance of any type of lustful behavior. Brahmacharya also encompasses overindulgence, food, drink, luxurious comforts, etc…This does not mean that these things should not be appreciated, it means self-restraint in these matters so that sensual pleasures do not become predominant.
In the Light of Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar – Brahmacharya means life of celibacy, religious study and self-restraint. The concept of brahmacharya is not one of negation, forced austerity and prohibition. A brahmachari (one who observes brahmacharya) is a man who is engrossed in the study of the sacred Vedic lore, constantly moves in Brahman – God, and knows that all exists in Brahman. In other words, one who sees divinity in all is a brahmachari. Patanjali, however, lays stress on continence of the body, speech and mind. This does not mean that the philosophy of yoga is meant only for celibates. Brahmacharya has little to do with whether one is a bachelor or married and living the life of a householder. One has to translate the higher aspects of Brahmacharya in one’s daily living. It is not necessary for one’s salvation to stay unmarried and without a house. Without experiencing human love and happiness, it is not possible to know divine love. He should not renounce the duties of his profession, caste or rank; but let him perform these as an instrument of the Lord, without any thoughts of the results. When one is established in brahmacharya, one develops a fund of vitality and energy, a courageous mind and a powerful intellect so that one can fight any type of injustice. The brahmachari will use the forces he generate wisely: he will utilize the physical ones for doing the work of the Lord, the mental for the spread of culture and the intellectual for the growth of spiritual Life. Brahmacharya is the battery that sparks the torch of wisdom.
This month we can explore the following questions in our physical practice:
- During physical asana, are we capable of withdrawing the senses that promotes pratyhara and Brahmacharya?
- How does the physical state I am currently in relate to brahmacharya?
- Can one person in a couple live in moderation without his or her partner agreeing to it or sharing it?
- Are you capable of practicing pleasure without excess?
- Do your beliefs and judgements limit your ability to see God or experience God in things?
- Are you capable of seeing God in the ordinary?
- Are you willing to be sacred? What are practices that connect you to sacredness?
- Are you able to balance and bring moderation to; eating, television, physical pleasure, work?
Everything in moderation. I feel like I’ve been burning the candle at both ends as of lately. I’m doing a little soul searching as to why I’ve taken on so much. And in the interim I am letting some things go. I’ve been through some life changes, normal stuff, but still a little to rough for me. No growth can occur with out challenges. And as we are faced with the day to day challenges of life, can we hold fast to our beliefs and our practices? Will we turn towards the things that help us numb the pain of growth? Will we try to shut out change and override the pain that’s involved? Will we ignore the call of our soul for change? Can we turn towards our sacred beliefs and practices to help guide us to the source of the pain? Change is happening whether we want it or not. Change is the only constant in life. The soul aspires to grow. In order to grow we need that change.
“A grand adventure is about to begin.” – Winnie the Pooh
I’ve made some changes to my schedule and have let go of some classes. Below is my teaching schedule for the rest of the month:
- Tuesday May 5th Dynamic Fitness 7:30 PM Yoga Class
- Thursday May 7th Dynamic Fitness 7:30 PM Yoga Class
- Saturday May 9th Sun Salutations 7:30 AM Joy Yoga Washington Ave. Heights
- Saturday May 9th 9:00 AM Basics Joy Yoga Washington Ave. Heights
- Saturday May 9th Beginner’s Workshop 12 Noon – 2:00 PM –Joy Yoga Location – TBD
- Sunday May 10th Sun Salutations 7:30 AM Joy Yoga Voss Rd-West Houston
- Sunday May 10th 9:30 AM Basics Joy Yoga Washington Ave. Heights
- Saturday May 16th 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM JYU-VOSS (Closed Training)
- Sunday May 17th 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM JYU-VOSS (Closed Training)
- Tuesday May 19th Dynamic Fitness 7:30 PM Yoga Class
- Thursday May 21st Dynamic Fitness 7:30 PM Yoga Class
- Saturday May 23rd Sun Salutations 7:30 AM Joy Yoga Washington Ave. Heights
- Saturday May 23rd 9:00 AM Basics Joy Yoga Washington Ave. Heights
- Saturday May 23rd Beginner’s Workshop 12 Noon – 2:00 PM –Joy Yoga Location – TBD
- Sunday May 24th Sun Salutations 7:30 AM Joy Yoga Voss Rd-West Houston
- Sunday May 24th 9:30 AM Basics Joy Yoga Washington Ave. Heights
- Tuesday May 26th Dynamic Fitness 7:30 PM Yoga Class
- Thursday May 28th Dynamic Fitness 7:30 PM Yoga Class
- Friday May 29th 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM JYU-VOSS (Closed Training)
- Saturday May 30th 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM JYU-VOSS (Closed Training)
- Sunday May 31st 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM JYU-VOSS (Closed Training)