By Jennifer Kelleher
Yoga is a 360° practice that extends far beyond the physical asanas (postures) that we often move through during a yoga class. In fact, many of the ancient texts written on yoga focus very little on the asanas and more on how to live a spiritual path toward enlightenment. In today’s article, I offer a sneak peek into Ocean Bliss Yoga’s focus of April: Brahmacharya.
Brahmacharya is the 4th Yama (moral discipline) of Patanjali’s text on the Yoga Sutras, and it refers to the ‘right use of energy,’ or the ‘behavior that leads to the divine.’ Take a moment to reflect on how you use and manage your energy. Do you feel exhausted in your day-to-day life? Can you pinpoint specific things in your schedule that deplete you? Are there certain people or interactions that are especially tiring? Do you spend a lot of time worrying or stressing? To practice Brahmacharya, survey your life and notice the areas that are running you down. Then, land in your heart and ask what you can do to create balance? Sometimes, little things like three deep breaths or a walk around the block can be enough to refresh your energy.
When actions are soul-driven, efforts and energies are naturally reciprocated and replenished. Energy flows fluidly and freely, without blocks to hinder the exchange. This allows our cup to stay full and increases the amount that we are capable of giving without feeling sucked dry.
Something that is mentally or emotionally charged on the other hand, lacks meaning, leaves you feeling drained, and is unsustainable. For example, “I should do that HIIT class because I want my body to look a certain way.” If you are not motivated to attend the HIIT class from the level of the soul, it is likely that it will leave you feeling exhausted and ravenously hungry, for example, as opposed to energized and balanced like you may have been hoping for.
So, what are some more ways to practice Brahmacharya in everyday life?
First, redirect your attention away from fleeting external desires and pleasures and onto finding peace and happiness within yourself. Focusing inward reminds us of our natural abundance and removes any personal agendas that may have been present. This shift in attention clarifies our priorities and simplifies our lives, guiding us to do what is essential in any given moment.
Next, listen to your body. In many ways, we are individual creatures with individual needs. What is good for me may not be good for you and visa-versa. Similarly, what worked for you a year ago may not work for you today. In order to be the best version of ourselves we have to constantly listen to, trust, and honor what our bodies need.
Finally, intentionally direct your energy toward positive things each day. If your pattern is to naturally jump into fear, worry, or other dense areas, make it your goal to occupy yourself with more of the things that help you to feel light, happy, and stable. Doing this will naturally start to balance the energy through all areas of your life.
We invite you to revive and balance yourself at Ocean Bliss Yoga. Discover new April classes and workshops for adults and children on our website at oceanblissyoga.net. Join Catherine McQuaid and myself in the studio on Wednesday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m. for a dive into April’s astrology and to learn what the upcoming eclipses mean for you in your life!