Brahmacharya Dharma Talk

Video Transcript:

Brahmacharya or honoring your life force is the fourth yama. Welcome! We are working our way through dharma talks on the first two branches of yoga: the yama and niyama. Today we will talk about the fourth yama, which is Brahmacharya.

According to Wikipedia, Brahmacharya (अस्तेयप्र ) literally means “conduct consistent with Brahman” or “on the path of Brahman”.

How we relate to Brahmacharya has changed over time. It is important to me to note that traditionally, and even in some current day lineages, Brahmacharya can refer to celibacy. I believe we should be respectful that people from traditions other than our own may relate to Brahmacharya as sexual abstinence.

When I first started practicing yoga over 20 years ago, I was taught that Brahmacharya meant “moderation” as in moderation of sexual behavior, moderation of alcohol, and so on. I recently learned those restrictions may have been based on casteist attitudes and that is why in more recent years …

… I have come to understand that Brahmacharya is also honoring our sacred life force. It can also be thought of as energy management, and the right use of energy. Using your energy and life force to increase care for yourself and everyone around you,  and especially without increasing harm to anyone else.

A very practical example of energy management came to me from a fellow yoga teacher in Australia, Kate from (@yogabranches). She shared that she always schedules at least 15 minutes between appointments, meetings, etc, exclusive of travel time. This includes even when the kids arrive home from the school bus — to wrap up the previous meeting or activity, 15 minutes before their arrival and be ready, energetically to invite them back home. I tried this and it was life changing. That was over 4 years ago, and I still do my best to always allow at least 15 minutes between appointments or activities (not including travel time). And, If I am the first one home, to prepare myself energetically to welcome everyone else home too.

Another way to recharge your energy and honor your life force would be to take a restorative practice on a weekly or monthly basis.

What are some ways that you practice the right use of energy in order to replenish and honor your sacred life force? We would love to hear from you at:

Photo credit: @JeremyBishop from