Updated: Mar 31, 2021
Brahmacharya translates to chastity and was traditionally understood as restraining sexual energy. In the modern tinder world, I'm sure this statement alone may not sit with some.
When we brake this word down, it is constructed of both
Brahma = "God"
Charya = path or walking with
We can therefore understand this teaching as walking with god or in gods path.
I like to think of Brahmacharya as as expending the right amount of energy. By walking in the path of God, the road road offers us the elusive mental, spiritual freedom which comes with equanimity.
In the Western world we have an abundance of stimulus, tasks and distractions. Our energy is scattered, distracted, unfocused and divided. Our escapisms include evenings of Netflix and chill, repetitive scrolling and boozy nights out.
Using social media is great to connect with friends however I would argue that aimlessly scrolling is not an appropriate amount of energy expenditure. We can apply this to over-exercising, over (or under) eating, over working, over achieving and perfectionism. By constantly striving due to a lack mentality, toxicity is curated and seeps into in many aspects of our lives. We never truly rest, nor do we fully put our attention into things which hold value to us.
Regardless of your religion or whether you are an atheist, taking time to self-reflect and consider how you expend your energy is healthy. Whilst I recognise it is difficult striking a happy middle, living out with so many stimulus' comes with immense pressure. Joy, peace and fun are not experienced in stolen moments only.
Yoga: Think of applying bramacharya when you are in a mixed ability class, do you strive to push into the most difficult variation without listening to your body or do you shy away from this and not go out of your comfort zone? In both cases we are not expending a balanced amount of energy.
Rest: Do you truly ever rest or is your to-do list never ending, moving from one stimulus to the next? What are you avoiding by not fully engaging in that sacred time with yourself?
Drishti (Gaze): In yoga our drishti is our gaze point. By drawing our attention to one point we develop concentration, stability and focus within our practice. When we scatter our gaze, our focus (or energy expenditure) is not on the present moment as it is moving from one point to the next. This can also be applied to our lives, when we scatter our focus, our energy is unravelling like a domino effect. We are never truly in the pose or the moment.