When we move past a place of “just enough” into excess, our energy and vitality is replaced with lethargy. Brahmacharya is the practice of using our energy wisely rather than over-indulging. Whether we are eating, working, sleeping or exercising, there exists a fine balancing act between greedy over-indulgence and peaceful ease.
Moving past enough into excess is typically triggered by emotional satisfaction or emotional disturbance. In other words, an emotion has been attached to a body need. As Deborah Adele writes “Without realizing it, we have acquired an addiction-like need for repetition of the feelings associated with that thing.” For example, it took me many years before I realized the reason I smoked cigarettes was that I associated smoking with relaxation. Once I understood my body’s need for greater relaxation, I began practicing meditation and asana, which are healthy means to this end. As relaxation and peacefulness became more prevalent, any need to smoke simply dissolved away.
Consider where in your life you are currently over-indulging. Coffee? Alcohol? Drugs? Food? Work? Sex? Sleep? TV? Exercise? Can you pair the excess behaviour to an emotion? What need are you attempting to satisfy? What healthy actions can you practice to regain your energy, vitality and joy of life? When we are living in joy and not in addiction and excess, we are practicing Brahmacharya. There is a sense of internal harmony energetically, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Overindulgence snuffs out the life force like too many logs on a fire overpowers the fire. Practicing non-excess preserves and honors this life force within us, so that we can live with clarity and sacredness. Deborah Adele
As you take each pose in the sequence below, open your heart to gratitude and wonder.
1) First, let your body relax into the shape, close your eyes, and then settle your awareness in your heart space.
2) After one or two minutes, ask yourself, “What am I grateful for right here, right now.”
VIPARITA KARANI (Legs Up The Wall) 10 minutes
– sit bones away from wall & heels resting into wall
SALAMBA SIRSASANA (Supported Headstand) 1-3 m
– 2 foam blocks or sticky mats on chair seat to support shoulders
– heels rest into wall; hands clasp front chair legs
NIRALAMBA SARVANGASANA (Unsupported Shoulderstand) 1-3 m
– 1 to 3 blankets under shoulders
– rest toes into wall
HALASANA (Plow Pose) 1-3 m
– 1 to 2 blanets under shoulders
– release thighs to chair seat
SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA (Bridge Pose) 3 m
– 2 double-folded blankets under the shoulders
– 2 blocks (1 low height, 1 high height) under sacrum
– back of lower legs rest onto chair seat
– belt upper thighs if front hips splay outward
SAVASANA (Corpse Pose) 5-10 m
– bolster under back of knees & lower thighs
– Repeat the following meditative chant silently to yourself:
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May you find the sweet spot between too much and too little. Namaste.