Well, here we are at week four of learning about the Yamas on our Eight-Limbed Yoga tree. This is divine timing after a Blue Moon Halloween, daylight savings ending, and the Presidential Election nightmare of 2020. This assignment couldn't have come at a better time. If anything, this year is teaching us about balance and moderation. Hopefully, this year we have discovered what is truly important in our lives and the things we can release that no longer serve us. It was time for a collective purge. We all had so much extra crap going on in our lives and it was the Universe telling us to cut out the fat. I don't think as a society, we could continue on as we were. As humans, there is only so much we can take on without feeling depleted at the end of the day. So, the Universe gave us an opportunity for reflection.
I had my own personal awakening back in 2016-2017. This was when I decided to ditch a career, some friends, and some bad habits that I no longer aligned with. I needed to find balance, which required me to evaluate what needed to go and what could stay. This idea of balance leads right into the fourth Yama of Brahmacharya. The definition of Brahma is "the right use of energy." The translation of Brahmacharya is to "go after Brahma," or "behavior that leads to Brahma." We want to conserve our energy for worthy causes, to practice moderation, and to bring life into balance.
One of the translations of Brahmacharya is abstinence or celibacy from sex. This would be more appropriate for monks or those serving in a clergy-type roll. For the rest of us mortals, it means to only have sex with someone who has strong feelings for us, are committed to us, and the feelings are returned. This means no one-night-stands and having sex with random people just to have sex. Sex is an exchange of energy. When the energy is mutual, no energy can be lost.
Another valuable translation of Brahmacharya is moderation. Don't eat the whole pint of ice cream. Don't drink the whole bottle of wine. Do not overindulge. We all know what it feels like to eat too much of something, even when that thing is good for us. We need to have a healthy balance in our diet, in our activity, and our rest. This reminds me of being in my 20s and burning the candle at both ends. I was always sick and nursing some kind illness like, tonsillitis, a cold, or a cough. Plus, I was smoking cigarettes and drinking like a fish. I was not practicing moderation in any part of my life. Which was why my life was so out of balance and my health was suffering. I'd stay up late and get up early. Not giving my body enough time to recuperate.
When we live life in a balanced and moderate way, we can come closer to peace. We don't feel tired or anxious as we have eaten well, slept enough, and have exercised our bodies in a healthy and safe way. When we live this way, we are living our yoga through Brahmacharya. All of the Yamas are guiding us to a way of life that will bring us closer to our true nature. How humans were intended to be and live.
Next week brings us the last of the Yamas: Aparigraha- Abundance and non-attachment.
Be well. Stay well.