Brahmacharya, the fourth Yama
Yoga Sutra 2.38
Traditionally this YAMA is often thought of as celibacy – the idea being that the yogi conserves their sexual energy so that this energy is used to progress along the yogic path. Another interpretation of Brahmacharya is working toward using ones energy wisely. Drawing our energy away from fleeting pleasures, which often tend to satisfy physical yearnings temporarily, and moving our attention toward finding inner happiness and union with the divine.
Our sexual energy is special. Our body is special. It should not be offered lightly.
This is not to say we all need to live in caves and meditate forever never touching anyone… Or that sex is bad. Damn… It’s actually pretty awesome when it’s with the right person done for the right reasons. Being able to experience and participate in our world, society, relationships and parenthood whilst applying Brahmacharya and the other YAMAS will make fine yogis of us all that’s for sure. We will understand the world from our experience. We will know that true happiness does not lie in worldly trappings, or at the hands of another. Happiness comes from within. “Brahmacharya is the battery that sparks the torch of wisdom.” If we put energy into things like worrying about the way we look and pushing toward ultimate fitness for vanity rather than health, this could also be considered unwise use of energy.
How could you start working to apply Brahmacharya in your life?