What is Brahmacharya in Yoga – Brahmacharya or Celibacy is the fourth Yama described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It defines the yogic principle of practicing ‘celibacy’ or ‘chastity.
Brahmacharya is made of two words ‘Brahma’ which means ‘absolute consciousness or the divine,’ and ‘charya’ means going after or ‘mode of behaviour.’ So, Brahmacharya implies ‘to move on the way to Brahma or the absolute consciousness.’
Traditionally Brahmacharya ( Celibacy ) was only meant to encourage those involved in yoga to conserve their sexual energy in favour of using that energy to further progress along the yogic path.
The Traditional Meaning of Brahmacharya
Traditionally, Brahmacharya was meant only to empower those engaged in the practice of yoga to practice sexual purity and conserve their sexual energy to use in advancement along the yogic path to connect with the infinite.
The real meaning of Brahmacharya
However, the real meaning of Brahmacharya, as referred to in the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, encompasses a more comprehensive aspect of a holistic lifestyle that helps attain sacred knowledge and spiritual liberation.
Brahmacharya is a means of diverting our energy from all external desires and abstinence from certain activities and foods. Besides, it includes inducing ourselves to focus on simple living, cleanliness, and meditation.
It helps channel all energies to practice yoga and find peace and happiness. In short, Brahmacharya is about living according to our natural state and fulfilling life without compromising our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Why is Brahmacharya so important?
Brahmacharya helps us develop self-discipline and learn to live harmoniously with our bodies and mind. When we practice Brahmacharya (celibacy), we build physical and mental strength, allowing us to live a more fulfilling life.
Conserving sexual energy and directing it for right use can enhance creativity, develop focus, empower consciousness, and ultimately facilitate the path to self-realization.
How to practice Brahmacharya in daily life?
By subduing desire, the practice of Brahmacharya or self-restraint enables us to exercise self-control. The practice of celibacy can help in attaining spiritual enlightenment and peace. According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Brahmacharya, is the fourth Yama among the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga.
The goal of Brahmacharya is to achieve a state of balance and equilibrium between body, mind, and soul by controlling sexual and other urges. You can do this through various techniques such as meditation, breath control, and daily routines. There are many ways to practice Brahmacharya in daily life, some aspects of which are given below:
Brahmacharya and Intentions
The first and foremost way to practice Brahmacharya is to have a firm and pure intention to overcome impulses of excess in all areas of pleasure in your life. Rather than forcefully controlling and manipulating intentions, willing intentions lead to Brahmacharya, which helps one connect with the higher self.
Brahmacharya and Yoga
Nurturing Brahmacharya in our lives can be achieved through the dedicated practice of yoga and meditation. Regularly engaging in asanas, pranayama and meditation helps increase awareness, control the nervous system, and reduce sensitivity to stimuli.
It helps you to identify your feelings and thoughts, control your emotions and balance hormonal activities. Meditation also helps us cleanse our minds and soul from negative influences.
Brahmacharya and Relationships
Practicing Brahmacharya or celibacy becomes easier when you focus on your company. Seek the company of pious and positive people, study scriptures to understand the importance of yoga and meditation in life, engage in service-oriented endeavours, selflessly help others and actively engage in yoga practices. All these activities can open the way to attaining supreme consciousness.
Brahmacharya is not limited to abstaining from any particular activity; it combines many practices you can regularly incorporate into your daily life. That’s why it’s important to find the best method that works for you.
The perfect practice of Brahmacharya provides great intellectual and spiritual strength that leads to a more balanced life.