Yamas ~ Yoga guidelines to live by ~ Brahmacharya

July 17, 2015
Tanja Alexandra Kern


Today we look at the fourth practice of the “yamas” which is:

Brahmacharya ब्रह्मचर्य

Sutra 2.38: Brahmacarya pratisthayam virya labhah

This yoga sutra translates as:
“When the yogini is firmly established in moderation, vitality is gained.”
~ The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, Sutra II.38

Brahmacharya is frequently translated as celibacy, or faithfulness in marriage. Whereas faithfulness in marriage is what most of us understand and believe in, celibacy may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Another broader interpretations of Brahmacharya suggests (with the word “charya” translating to “grazing”) that brahmacharya means participating of the sacred while engaged in daily life.

I consider Brahmacharya as a reminder to retain energy by moderating stress and bringing balance, harmony and mindfulness to our lives.

Many of us have big work loads and are driving themselves toward states of burnout. We try to juggle work, family and social life and usually don’t allow ourselves any down time because we are just too busy and stressed. This way of life will definitively deplete your energy.
In addition some of us are expending energies by surrounding themselves with negative people, situations, or by eating junk food.
Experiment throughout your day when you start to tense up, feel nervous, irritated, sad or exhausted. What are those triggers?
If you are reading these lines and detect that some of this may be describing you, just take a moment to acknowledge yourself for becoming aware of your patterns.

By taking time for ourselves, we can recharge our energies and come back to a state of inner balance and harmony. Only when we feel content, peaceful and balanced, can we be of valuable support to others, be way more effective in what we do and at the same time be fully present. When we live in the “now” we are living our life to the fullest, experiencing every moment and may find that many insignificant situations can turn into magical moments when we take life in with all our senses.

If you believe in something higher, are religious or spiritual, Brahmacharya encourages you to align yourself with the Universe/God/Buddha/anything you believe in, and thereby move closer to the Divine.
As we remind ourselves of the gift to be alive, we can turn every breath into a sacred ritual, our yoga practice into a dedication, moments of stillness into meditation or prayer and fill our hearts with love and gratitude.

Here are some suggestions on how to (re-)charge your energy:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness practice
  • Walk in nature
  • Pranayama (Breath control)
  • Reading inspiring literature
  • Surrounding yourself with like minded people or your beloved pets
  • Laughing
  • Aromatherapy
  • Energy Work, e.g. Reiki
  • Massage

These are just a few recommendations for your consideration and I am sure you can easily add to the list.

As always I would love to hear from you. What does Brahmacharya mean to you and how to do apply it in your daily life? Please leave a comment on my website, Facebook page, or email.

Remember that you are unique and have special gifts to share with the world. So take good care of you!

May your life be balanced, harmonious, fulfilled, and happy!


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