Last month we discussed the third of the Yamas (universal ethics) in the yoga philosophy which was Non stealing.
We’ll move on to Brahmacarya this month. Known to some as celibacy, to others as sexual responsibility
The way I see Brahmacarya is (please feel free to take it or leave it!) is:
Regulated sexual activity
Sublimation to a sublime channel, not repression
Clear, aware and mindful activity
Having said that, even within a marriage Brahmacarya may not be practiced. Sexual activity that does not honor both partners, or that used to fulfill another desire within the marriage, or used as a weapon against a partner cannot be considered as Brahmacarya.
Some people choose the life of celibacy and have cultivated the fruits of celibacy from vitality, energy and better concentration. However, this is not possible for some of us. According to Iyengar
“..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.
Patanjali lays stress on continence of the body, speech and mind. Therefore, the yoga texts promotes Brahmacarya not for the act of celibacy itself but rather for what it represents: withdrawal from the material world, restraint and control of the senses, concentrated effort of the mind. It symbolizes the recognition of divinity in us all.
Siva Samita puts it beautifully
“Let him practice free from the company of men in a retired place. For the sake of appearances he should remain in society, but not have his heart in it. 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 thought of the results.”
Weam is the founder of Namaste. She had started a very deep and intense spiritual journey at a young age having refused to continue to suffer with the common challenges of her generation: depression, anxiety and being lost. She insisted that there must be more to life than the constant rat race she was in