Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of our special Holiday Yamas Practices! December is the holiday season for many worldwide nations, cultures, and religions, so this ties in with most other holiday seasons our Yogis may celebrate. I will continue my nerdy research through the month and tie in our practices with world holidays if they tie in with our daily practices… please contact me if you have any requests or suggestions!
Holiday Yamas Practice Schedule
We are on our sixteenth day of Holiday Yamas Practices! After counting down the first 5 Yamas with 5 days of Ahimsa (non-harming), 4 days of Satya (truthfulness), and 3 days of Asteya (non-stealing), we are now having a full week of Brahmacharya for the week of Christmas in the United States.. a time that I will enjoy the focus on moderation!
Today is the fourth day of a full week of Brahmacharya (moderation) practices. Today we will examine another translation of Brahmacharya as celibacy. I do not completely agree with this, I generally prefer to follow the middle path as we have discussed. In fact, I believe this middle path concept (and the emphasis in Buddhism on meditation) is the primary difference between Yoga and Buddhist philosophy. I myself consider this an evolution in the philosophy, and generally adhere to the middle path rather than any form of abstinence… I am the type of person where avoidance frequently leads to over-indulgence! I personally consider celibacy a goal or path only for monks, similar to perfect adherence to Ahimsa / non-harming which can be difficult or impossible in some professions (especially medical professionals). Some Yogis consider celibacy to be an extremely important practice on the path to enlightenment and I will admit my preferred translation of “Godlike” does tie in with this. Either way, Brahmacharya practice is typically related to the channeling and appropriate use of all forms of personal energy, which I do my best to practice. So, perhaps try a day of or set yourself up for a period of celibacy if you are interested in this practice – but remember this practice is not for everyone, and consider first non-harming with your partner if you are in a relationship! Or, you can focus on the practice of controlling and proper use of our own personal energy in its various forms.
In addition to moderating sexual energy, we should consider our mental and physical energy usage as well. A number of our past Brahmacharya practice days relate to moderation of food, which is an important practice in regulating desire for myself as a foodie… and the Buddha’s realization surrounding the middle path arose from considerations surrounding his aescetic’s diet. We frequently waste time and mental energy reading social media, or ruminating on negative thoughts, experiences, or fears. Most of us are prone to either lethargy or over-exertion physically. I am personally constantly trying to strike a better balance between work and personal time, and many of us are so busy with our day-to-day lives we do not have time during the day for even 5-10 minutes of self-care.. this constant business is not an ideal use of energy, and many of us experience burnout. I find mindfulness to be one of the easiest ways to practice Brahmacharya, both being present in the moment, and examining both our reasons for and our feelings with our actions or inactions.
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to examine Brahmacharya / moderation and the middle path in our lives with our own energy. We are in the middle of a full week of holiday Brahmacharya focused moderation practices. Although some Yogis translate Brahmacharya as celibacy and focus on redirecting this energy, we will examine proper use of various kinds of personal energy. I recommend practicing mindfulness with your actions and desires today, and evaluating whether you are using your mental and physical energy appropriately. Or, perhaps set yourself up for a period of celibacy if you are interested in this practice and it is compatible with your life.
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Please comment and share how your Brahmacharya practice went today. How did it make you feel? Always remember, be kind!