What does Brahmacharya mean?
Does Brahmacharya really mean no sex for Yogis? The issue is quite debatable. According to Swami Sri Sivananda, one of the world’s most foremost authorities on yogic values, the answer is yes. The answer really depends on answering the question: what does Brahmacharya mean?
Brahmacharya, is more than just celibacy, Swami Sivananda said. Considered a saint among Hindus, the Swami called Brahmacharya the “sum and substance of Yoga” and said spotless chastity is the “best of all penances”
To hear him speak of celibacy in his book “The Practice of Brahmacharya” would much be like hearing a Catholic priest or fire-and-brimstone Baptist minister talk about lust. He speaks of boys going off to college and being self-victimized by “sexual excitement and lustful intoxication”. He even includes Jesus in his list of great, celibate authorities. But he also equates celibacy with great power as well as freedom from “sin” as we know it.
Everything In Moderation….Including Moderation!
Brahmacharya as a fundamental value has more to do with moderation through yoga practice, which helps a person voluntarily steer away from lustful indulgences, as different discussions on the subject point out. To equate it solely with celibacy appears to be a reflection of Western scholars taking the term out of context.
“Suppression is not what is wanted, because anything that is suppressed will eventually be released with redoubled force…”
say authorities from the Advaita Yoga Ashram. Moderation disconnects a person from lustful indulgence that leads to acts that don’t foster true personal growth, say authorities who take a less-extreme approach.
“I don’t think one needs to be celibate in order to progress”,
A New Understanding?
Yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD said in an article about yoga and celibacy. Lasater, author of Living Your Yoga, among other books, has been teaching yoga since 1971. She adds that clarity and sincerity are necessary when it comes to sexual decisions because of sex’s power to change one’s life.
Literally, celibacy was the only way to prevent parenthood back when the Yoga Sutras were written, and parenthood was the most-serious challenge to one’s private spiritual practice, Lasater explained. Furthermore, the ritual nature of sex, even when it is casual, requires one’s undivided attention in order for it to take place, which can also detract from a spiritual practice that progresses from self-restraint. That will likely be among the key reasons that modern yogis who remain celibate choose to do so.
Yogasync Me! A bit of restraint is well worth it…not only for the spiritual considerations. There will be a rush of hormones when you do connect which are fabulous for health and wellbeing. In between connections, try this intermediate practice: