4th Yama Bramacharya explained-
BRAMACHARYA : MODERATION
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras ii:38:
Brahmacharya pratishthayam virya labhah:
Upon being established in brahmacharya, there is the attainment of vital energy.
Bramacharya has different translations 1 of them is ‘celibacy’ . You probably think uuuh?? Nope, not for me..(I know I did!!) but then I got to know other translations: ‘moderation’, ‘right use of energy’ or ‘keeping your vitality’. Ok. I can work with that!
Bramacharya is about getting to know our desires and the excessive things in our lives—food, sex, work, social media. These typically lead to imbalances, leaving us with low energy and high frustration. Brahmacharya, or moderation, can help us. Half the battle, is becoming aware of where we’re going into excess and why we’re doing it. Then we can make changes and our vital energy does not get wasted..
Desires come in many disguises.Perhaps we long to take a vacation, or maybe we are yearning for a pay raise. We may crave sex, shopping or maybe we just need a cup of coffee. Different though they may seem, they have one thing in common—for a moment, however fleeting, when we get what we desire, a sense of peace and joy overcomes us.
Think about how much time and energy you devote to various obsessions and quests. Now think about what would happen if that time and energy was freed up and available for use in other things – like doing more meaningfull things, helping others or the spiritual journey? Wasting time and energy on excess and obsession of any kind takes us further away from our path and our goal.
WE HAVE A CHOICE If we realize there is an alternative to being driven by our desires then we have a choice in how we act. And it does not mean that we must abandon all pleasure and lead silent, boring lives! Instead moderation can be our guide. If we choose to indulge, let us have it be a choice and let us be honest with ourselves regarding our motivation.
The practice of yoga provides us with many opportunities to become conscious of our habitual actions. We use asanas (postures) to find habitual strengths and weaknesses in our physical bodies. We use meditation to find habitual actions and tendencies in our minds. Over time, we are able to become aware of increasingly subtle habits and sensations.
So next time you are checking your facebook, do online shopping or when craving for a coffee arises, reflect on the source of that feeling. Reflect on what needs would be met by indulging in that desire. Ideally, this process can grant us more control over our desires, and lessen the control that our desires have over us.
Yoga is a process of self-knowledge, and in this way moderation and discipline are great allies.