ENERGY, specifically our energy and how we deal with it is key in maintaining a balanced and content life. Brahmacharya translates to moving towards the essential truth. Yet, its application is controlling our perceptual senses and desires-TKV Desikachar. My translation is right use of our energy.
Brahmacharya is one of the yamas in the ashtanga (8 limbs) model of yoga. The yamas are the first limb in yoga and guide us in how we can interact mindfully with others and the world. Traditionally brahmacharya referred to abstaining from sexual behavior. As I was instructed in the teachings of Krishnamacharya, brahmacharya, when working with a householder (someone who has a regular life with a job and family as opposed to someone who lives in an ashram), brahmacharya refers to how we handle our energy. Here I am talking about your subtle energy body.
When I speak of energy, I’m not only talking about if you are tired or stimulated. I’m thinking of all of you-how you are physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Like when you walk into a busy store; you’ve said yes to additional work, yet you meant no; you receive unexpected feedback from someone or you’re driving down the road and someone pops out in front of you.
What do you feel? What do you do?
In each of those situations I mentioned above, most humans will react in some way. We might become agitated, angry, or upset. Then, what do we do? How we respond also has to do with how we are in that moment. If I’m driving and I’m tired, I will react differently if someone cuts me off than when I am awake and content.
The way I have learned to handle my energy is through a daily yoga practice that includes meditation, breathing, chanting and gentle movement. A lifestyle that includes a balanced healthy diet, rest and good sleep, connecting with loved ones, time alone, a creative outlet and other things that light me up.
Of course, there are many things that come up in our human lives that affect our energy—loss, politics, relationships, money, and other things that sometimes we have no control over. It’s important to handle the things we can and release what we can’t. I have often used the Serenity Prayer:
So here are a few tips for handling other suggestions your energy:
- Take 3 deep breaths before you respond/react.
- Consider a short meditative practice (in as little as 5 minutes a day you can change your brain chemistry).
- Be proactive. Take action when possible.
- Morning routine-prepare yourself before you start your day-whether it’s movement, exercise, a healthful breakfast, a mindfulness practice, pulling an oracle card, or prayer. Consistency counts here.
- Say no when you don’t want to do something and say yes when you do.
- Surround yourself with others whom you feel good around and maybe a few who you can laugh with.
- Make time for yourself every day.
- Release judgment of self and others.
- Cultivate a daily gratitude practice.
- Plan your day in a way that lights you up and includes self-care.
Of course, you choose the things that feel best for you and work for your life. Small steps over time create the best and lasting changes we desire.
What are you going to do today to balance and maintain your energy? I’d love to hear about it.