Arriving to the fourth Yama, which is Brahmacharya - the right use of energy.
To recap the 5 Yamas (restraints) suggested by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are:
- Ahimsa - non harming/non violence
- Satya - truthfulness
- Asteya - non-stealing
- Brahmacharya - moderation, right use of energy
- Aparigraha - non-coveting, non-craving
For further information please read previous blogs on the subjects (8 limbs of Yoga), (Yamas), (Ahimsa, the 1st of the Yamas), (Satya, the 2nd of the Yamas). (Asteya, the 3rd of the Yamas)
The Yoga Sutras Chapter 2.38 relating to Brahmacharya states 'The celibate acquires the benefits of vitality.'
Photo credit: chedyer.com
Now originally this Yama was related to celibacy, but that would not apply the to the 'household Yogi' - us, going on in our everyday life. What it means, that we use our energy rightly, as not to over indulge in sexual impulses.
Another interpretation of this Yama from the Yoga Sutras (which I personally identify with) is: Moderation in ALL our actions. Controlling not only the sexual impulses but also the emotional and physical ones that span from eating habits to the use of money.
Moderation is the key word here, finding the balance in anything we do, say and think!
As in if we eat enjoying our food but stop at being 2/3 full we will not have the 'food coma' and be energized, (providing we eat food with nutrition in it rather than empty calories). If we over indulge on the other hand, even from healthy food, we may end up laying on the couch for a few hours unable to do anything other than digesting. As they say: 'Eat less, taste more.'
The same applies to where we spend our energy. Being dedicated to our work is wonderful but being a workaholic and not knowing when to stop is not beneficial for anyone involved. I recently got even more familiar with this Yama, having scheduled so many classes, now I am testing what my, and my family's, limits are and will cut back according to where my balance is as going beyond is as bad as falling short.
Is there an area of your life that you are over indulging or spending more energy than you can afford on? Just take a moment to check in and be mindful of cutting back in the future.
A regular Yoga practice helps with being aware of how our energy levels are faring.
A great affirmation for establishing the right us of energy from the Kripalu Center:
'When my energy becomes scattered I come home to my Source and to the primary relationship with myself.'