Thursday, January 7, 2010

January's Class Theme: Brahmacharya

In the past months we've been investigating the five Yamas, or ethical practices, of Yoga. They were most famously described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. He considered them to be an essential foundation for the practice of postures, breathing and meditation. In January, we consider the final Yama: brahmacharya.

This term is often translated as "chastity", and sexual abstinence may indeed be part of a professional yogi's practice. For us householder yogis, brahmacharya may be more usefully understood as "moderation". Swami Kripalu comments: "A person practicing moderation is able to channel his or her full energy towards activities that support growth and transformation." He particularly emphasized moderation in our pursuit of pleasure.

Another perspective is offered by Mukunda Stiles: "By abiding in behavior that respects the Divine as omnipresent (brahmacharya), one acquires an inspired passion for life." (Yoga Sutra II:38)

January is a month where we can all use a little inspired passion as we set about putting our resolutions (for growth and transformation) into action. Join us as we explore this powerful and elusive practice.

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