Broad definition: Conservation of energy for the pursuit of spiritual goals.
Yogic tradition definition: conservation of sexual energy.
So often we're chasing, moving, talking - it's a go, go, go world and it can feel like a never-ending cycle. So how can we save our energy for what really matters in life? That's what this Yama is all about.
When we think specifically about the yogic tradition definition (sexual energy), we can think about the crushes we used to have on those kids in high school. How many hours did we spend crushing on them? How many phone sessions with best friends analyzing every.little.thing??? Based on my journals I can tell you for sure - ALOT OF TIME. This is of course natural for a person - especially of that age!
Regardless of HOW we feel it in our adult life, here are some things we can think about with Brahmacharya:
When am I feeling distracted and drained?
Am I feeling joyful by my own nature, or from other sources?
Am I focused on the task at hand, or is my mind/energy elsewhere?
How can I use my breath to bring my energy back to where it belongs?
Am I keeping my focus on myself, and am I staying loyal to those I love?
Brahmacharya guides us to take that energy and channel it into "God" (what that means to you) and the present moment.
I think of the focus our Ujayi breath brings us. We breathe in through the nose and out through the nose, we FEEL our prana (life-force) so strongly. When you feel your energy moving elsewhere, take an Ujayi breath. Pull yourself back into your strength.
I think of a personal principle I have, which is that my classroom is a sacred place where I stay focused on the students. I check whatever is happening in my life (and man it can be alot sometimes) at the door and SHOW UP. I use Brahmacaharya for this. I channel my energy into the divine, which for me in this scenario is my love of teaching and especially the BEINGS I teach <3 As I'm reading this over, I would be remiss if I didn't add that I also do this with my yoga classes! I have a post-it near where I teach that says: "Think of what you have to do as sacred, and it will become so." When I feel my energy pulling all over while teaching a yoga class, I remind myself of how important it is to be IN IT 100% as I lead you through your yoga practice. This is not ignoring my needs, this is channeling it into the right space and time. I can deal with other things later, in THIS moment, it's about YOGA. YOGA deserves my full attention, YOU deserve my full attention, I deserve my full attention.
How do you SHOW UP with your energy, for yourself/others? When do you feel your energy drained? How can you get back on track?
Share your thoughts with the JFY teachers & students as you experience Brahmachrya with us this month. Happy May! We've got this:)