BRAHMACARYA = CONSERVATION OF VITAL ENERGY July 31 2015
YAMA #4 BRAHMACARYA (conservation of vital energy)
Brahmacarya tells us that when one is established in continence, vigor is gained.
When we read the sutras and we get to this yama, it basically tells us to keep our dicks in our pants. Most of its translations speaks directly to the "proper" ways of sexual conduct- or even more severely, straight up abstinence. This is not uncommon in the spiritual practices of many different faiths. And when you hear a yoga teacher speak to theming their class on this yama, you can easily assume they are just going to speak to it as "everything in moderation" and that is a perfectly reasonable way to approach the practice of brahmacarya, cause that is a great discipline to practice and explore. But when this was written, it was directly related to sexual relations and so thats the way I am gonna speak to it here.
I love this yama, because when you are coming from the lessons of the first three (non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing) you have basically rooted yourself in a place of total awesome energy and it is real power. Not like money power, or fame power- its bigger than that- IT IS YOU- what your soul is meant to express and be in this world. This is a powerful place to be. So of course brahmacarya is up next, cause its all about using that energy in the right way.
Sex is super powerful. Its so powerful it can make us act crazy, get us off, and most importantly, it is one of the most powerful creators as it is how we all EXIST. Life comes from sex. Some translations of this yama speak directly of the power of seminal fluid- and I think anyone who has ever practiced sex magic (guys and gals) for sure knows how incredibly potent that energy is. So the point in brahmacarya is to use it respectfully and with the knowledge of its purpose. One has to be rooted in ahimsa, satya and asteya to do this.
Like I said, sometimes in class I will have a teacher theme their class on this yama, and mostly its all themed around moderation. And that is fine- but I think when in personal study it goes way deeper than that. I think brahamacarya recognizes and highlights our incredible power and ability to create in this world- whether it be chaos, destruction or love or whatever. We have to take ownership of that reality- plain and simple, we create reality. So again, when rooted in the first 3 yamas, we have set ourselves up to harness this amazing experience in life through the practice of brahmacarya.