top of page
Search

February 4, 2024-Brahmacharya-Lack of Excess-Positive Use of Energy-Balasana Happy Baby Pose – Julia Anne’s “Jedra” Lentil Soup




This week we focus on the fourth Yama, Brahmacharya.  It has many definitions ranging from the most traditional translation of celibacy; more generally it can be defined as the lack of excess.   


I was rereading the traditional definition of Brahmacharya understanding that this practice of conserving one’s sexual energy was practiced so that that energy could be channeled toward a spiritual life of meditation.  Some of the preeminent teachers of 20th century yoga, Iyengar and Desikachar discuss being a true and honest partner in a monogamous relationship versus pure celibacy.

 

Frankly, I believe that the celibacy aspect of the Yama is narrow, as do many present day practitioners. A more practical and wide-reaching practice of Bramacharya focuses on turning the mind inward, balancing the senses, leading to freedom from dependencies and cravings or excess. This can be subduing our craving for late-night gorging on social media, or perhaps learning moderation in eating junk food or drinking alcohol. We can think about conserving our energy for healthy, positive, and joyful endeavors and not draining ourselves with wasteful, exhausting habits.


My friends likely would classify me as “disciplined”, I have a healthy diet, limit my consumption of alcohol, floss every day and exercise. 😅🤣The truth behind that “control of excess” is an underlying personality of addictive or “excessive” tendencies. I am routinely struggling to practice brahmacharya. I cannot eat one potato chip; it results in the consumption of far too many. If I find a sale on great socks, I want 4 pairs instead of 1. More seriously, substance abuse runs in my family therefore I keep a tight rein on my tendency towards excesses of anything. So, while, yes, I am disciplined, maybe it is through a rigorous, conscious practice of brahmacharya that I obtain that discipline!


We can also think about brahmacharya in terms of conserving our energy for positive activities. T.K.V. Desikachar (in my favorite yoga book The Heart of Yoga) talks about brahmacharya saying the “word is composed of the root car, which means “to move”, and the word brahma, which means “truth” in terms of the one essential truth.  We can understand brahmacharya as movement toward the essential”.  He later says that brahmacharya “suggests that we should form relationships that foster our understanding of the highest truths”.


“Many illnesses can be cured exclusively by the remedy of love and compassion.  These qualities are the ultimate source of happiness, and we need them in our innermost being”.  – Dali Lama

 

For more on a more modern interpretation of brahmacharya and incorporating it into our lives, I liked this article from Ekhart Yoga.

 


 

Our Practice – Child’s Pose - Balasana



Child’s pose is a wonderful one for invoking Brahmacharya.   As we rest and breathe in child’s pose we can absorb the completeness of our day, the year, our life. There is no need for more, no need for excess. Allow yourself to be content.


This inward insular posture activates the parasympathetic nerve system and can be

(child's pose with modifications)


calming and restorative. This is enough. We do not need more, there is no need for excess, right, here, and right now all is good.

 

A variation we can try adds the prana mudra by extending your arms forward and bringing your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers on each hand to touch while lengthening the index and middle fingers. This gesture of Prana Mudra elicits the vitality that resides within our prana, or life force.


 Come into the pose:

  • Knees wide apart or together.

  • Possibly place a folded blanket under your hips if it is not comfortable to sink all the way down on your heels.

  • Perhaps place a block under your forehead if it does not comfortably come to the mat.

  • Breathe, sinking down and relaxing further

  • Add the Prana Mudra by extending your arms forward and bringing your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers on each hand to touch while lengthening the index and middle fingers. This gesture of Prana Mudra elicits the vitality that resides within our prana, or life force.


Child’s pose is restorative and restful, it also gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles. The pose can also be calming and help relieve stress and fatigue.

 

Meditating on Brahmacharya – Positive Use of Energy – Lack of Excess

 




If we understand that our energy, our breath, prana is what supports and sustains life, we also recognize that is the most precious gift that we have.  As we practice Brahmacharya, we focus on preserving and saving our creative, life sustaining energy to connect with our Higher Self, aligning body and spirit in harmony.

 

“Many illnesses can be cured exclusively by the remedy of love and compassion. These qualities are the ultimate source of happiness, and we need them in our innermost being”. – Dali Lama


“Rest when you’re tired. Take a break when life stales. Take time to recharge your battery. Energy isn’t something you have it is something you are. To give and give and give, to put out without taking in, depletes your battery. It drains you, runs you down.” – Melody Beattie

 

Nurturing with Food – Julia Anne's "Jedra" Lentil Soup

 




I have always loved the lentil soup local restaurant, Gansett Wraps (also formerly at Pick Pockets). For years I searched recipes trying to figure out the spices in their version and the right balance of rice and lentils. I think this is pretty close, I make it constantly and was surprised to realize I had never written it down or put it on the website. Hope you enjoy it!

 







Enjoy!

See you on the mat,

Namaste,

Julia Anne

 

82 views0 comments
bottom of page