14a787d1bf1493d5f6da257cc17bc3d6Brahmacharya is the fourth Yama (guidelines for living). Its literal translation is celibacy… but before you get concerned, understand that there are a variety of interpretations according to different belief systems. Most agree that a deeper understanding deals with remembering who we are, that we are spiritual beings. We are not the body. We are not the mind. We are not the emotions. We are, in fact, spirit and all else is fleeting and temporary.

The heart of Bramacharya implores us not to carelessly waste our precious spirit energy but to have a reverence and respect for ourselves as spiritual beings. Balance and moderation are offered as well as wisdom and understanding. Having self control from overindulging in fleeting pleasures keeps us from squandering energy and then later needing to recover, whether we are talking food, alcohol, sex, sleep, shopping, exercise, TV, work, etc. Too much of anything is unhealthy. Some of us feel ‘out of control’ with some of these activities. When we use sex or any pleasure as a drug to try to feed our emptiness, it doesn’t last. Learning boundaries, triggers, and moderation bring conscious control and healthy balance to our lives. Practicing Brahmacharya helps us to let go of chasing past memories of pleasures and to mindfully experience each moment.

The root meaning of Brahmacharya means to walk with God, being conscious and aware of our inward spiritual path. The experience of God is an awakening within the self, realizing God in all things and beyond all things. We do not need to push away or judge sexual experience. As we see God in all things, we respect the spiritual nature of sex and pleasure. We can revere it.

Sexual energy that is stored through celibacy has been said to bring forth a higher awareness or enlightenment. Sexual energy that is shared can be a sacred spiritual act, a unified state of bliss. When we are able to find wholeness within ourselves, we can share our energy without weakening another. True wholeness, comes not from our mate but from our Higher Source. Sharing our wholeness brings emotional and spiritual nourishment. We bring a balance to one another and amplify our energies. 

“Devoted to living a balanced and moderate life (Brahmacharya) the scope of one’s life force becomes boundless.” (Sutra 2:38 translation by NJ Devi, The Secret Power of Yoga)

Read more about the 5 Yamas