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Oo-ee-oo-aa-aa-ching-chang yama-yama ding dong!

YAMAS

REVIEWING the 5 “SUGGESTIONS” from the yoga master on how to function properly in society…

Living life as best we can is important. So. Live LIFE as BEST we can.    PLEASE. Lets stop faff-ing around and making excuses for why we can’t put a little more effort into our daily lives to make changes. We can all use some more change. Have you reached your absolute potential? Hmmmm… I know I  haven’t.  It is true that we are exactly where we are supposed to be today. However if we don’t set the intention to be our better selves and put it out in the universe while making a deliberate effort… it isn’t going to happen. We need to reach for it ourselves. We can’t become better though osmosis, not on planet EARTH at least.   BE the good. Create it. You can be the beginning!  Little steps at a time. This is why I am here, on this blog… to a) remind myself of this simple truth and b)remind you of this simple truth. We can all be better people one step at a time.

This is why we have been discussing Patanjali. He is the yoga man. He wrote down all the “highlights” from HUGE volumes of Vedic texts and oral verses that had been passed down generation to generation for centuries. He did this so we could all benefit from what the ancient Brahmins were told by the cosmos on how to live the life most fulfilling. The composition he put together, the Yoga Sutra is GOLD. It doesn’t matter if you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist or Agnostic, there are so many valuable things to be taken (and SHARED) out of the sutras. He clearly outlines eight steps to enlightenment (the discovery of our own true nature). Eight. The first branch of action steps are called “the YAMAS”. Moral restraints, they explain how to live in harmony with society. We have already discussed them in detail, and now we will review and re-iterate.

1. Ahmisa: Non-Violence

Don’t hurt any living things, including yourself. Try being NICE to yourself. Also, avoid eating poorly treated animals. Or animals at all, up to you to think about it and to practice, please at least think about your relationship with meat… no good avoiding an issue because it is uncomfortable for you.

ahimsa1

LINKS TO AHIMSA:

http://taozitreeyoga.com/2013/01/04/start-talking-to-yourself-nicely

http://taozitreeyoga.com/2013/01/06/dont-eat-me-i-love-you

http://taozitreeyoga.com/2013/01/13/meet-your-meat

2. Satya: Truthfulness

Don’t lie to others. But also, don’t hurt them. That means, don’t go around “being honest” if it is going to hurt others. Unless you are a reporter for an entertainment magazine, avoid telling “truths” that are going to cause pain. Ahimsa trumps satya. At the same time, don’t run around lying to people to make them feel  good about themselves, a nice gesture, but wrong none the less… also don’t fib to make yourself look better then you are. Be right sized. Honest. Satya.

satya

satya1

LINKS TO SATYA:

http://taozitreeyoga.com/2013/01/25/does-my-butt-look-big-a-yogi-responds

3. Asteya: Non-Stealing

Non-Stealing seems pretty obvious but we might be thieves without knowing it. Just because we aren’t “bad” people, doesnt’ mean we are the best we can be, thus robbing others of our own best selves… this can be changed by 4 simple actions…

1)not taking advantage of people, at all

2) really listening to people when they are talking to you and giving well thought out, helpful feedback (or just a genuine pair of ears)

3) SMILE at those around you in life, the people on the street, the road, the train, the grocery store… where ever. And lastly…

4) Stop comparing yourself to others and be NICE to yourself. Use the voice in your head to create joy, not to kill it.

asteya

LINKS TO ASTEYA:

http://taozitreeyoga.com/2013/02/05/thieves-arnt-we-all

4: Brahmacharya: Harness your Desires

It’s not ALL about sex, but sex is a large part of it. Brahmacharya is about resisting in a spiritual genuine fashion, all things that we may lust over. Brahmacharya can be practiced around anything we may be overly attached to in the physical realm. These things all take away our potential energy to achieve the INCREDIBLE.

brahmacharia

LINKS TO BRAHMACHARYA:

http://taozitreeyoga.com/2013/02/10/sex-money-gandhi/

5: Aparigraha: Non-Hoarding…or LET GO

Let it go, let it go, let it go. Live life with open palms so all things enter and exist effortlessly. The post “Live with Open Palms” is a must read, and a must DO to really live a fulfilling, happy, life…

aparigraha

LINKS TO APRIGRAHA:

http://taozitreeyoga.com/2013/02/22/live-with-open-palms

*All photos came from Pinterest 🙂

So, those are the yamas. 5 behaviors suggested by Patanjali to maintain a balanced society. 5 concepts that make sense and can create magic in our lives, and our relationships when practiced diligently. The good news is its only the beginning. Only the 1st of 8 steps! For now, be the best that you can be (forgive the cheesy-ness, but please…do it!) Next up… the Niyamas…

be your best

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Sex. Money. Gandhi.

hanuman

“How did Hanuman become powerful? It is with this weapon of Brahmacharya that he acquired unsurpassable strength and velour.”

Sri Swami Sivananda

Brahmacharya=Don’t have sex.

This is a common misconception. Gaining the strength and vigor to the likes of the monkey god Hanuman is all about restraining our physical (human) urges. Sex is a large part of this, but not the only part. Here starts our discussion on Patanjali’s 4th social restraint BRAHMACHARYA.

It is not all about sex…money, beer, cigarettes, television, the sofa bed, lolly pops, fast cars… high heels. All things that we may lust over. Brahmacharya can be practiced around anything we may be overly attached to in the physical realm. These things all take away our potential energy to achieve the INCREDIBLE.  I personally believe that the things we struggle with most as individuals are the areas that have the greatest capacity to create change. For example, an alcoholic that gives up the drink will see a tremendous change in their life. An over eater who learns to eat right and live healthily will become a different person. You may be thinking, “But I don’t have any of those problems.” Well… think again. Make the road narrower. Just because you may not have any obvious problems doesn’t mean you don’t have unhealthy attachments to the material world. You know what your thing is. Maybe it’s your kindle, Facebook, or your crockpot. I don’t know… but you do. Anything that takes away your capacity to reaching your MAXIMUM potential. I am guilty of falling victim to plenty of material things. Trust me. My point is that Brahmacharya is not only about sex. It is about anything in the physical realm that takes up too much of our energy, ultimately taking away our ability to transcend—

worldly things

The following comes from http://www.yoga108.org

Brahmacharya has two main meanings. In the broad sense it means control of the senses or indriyas. More specifically it refers to celibacy or chastity. Like all traditional spiritual traditions, yoga advocates restraining from indulging in sensual gratification. One of the many reasons is that practicing the higher limbs of ashtanga yoga – dharana, dhyana, samadhi – requires a tremendous amount of energy or prana. This energy is built up through the practices of yoga such as asanas, pranayama and japa but is dissipated during sensual enjoyment. Of all the sensual activities, sex is the one that will be the most depleting to the psychic and nervous system. Most people don’t like to hear this but, like the other yamas, everyone should practice brahmacharya to the best of their ability. It is a fact that the more people gratify their senses, the less energy they have and the less ability they have to meditate on the absolute.
 
The more broad definition of brahmacharya also includes conduct that leads to the realisation of the Self, or Brahman, study of the Vedas and scriptures, and contemplation on Brahman.

Practice of Brahmacharya gives good health, inner strength, peace of mind and long life. It invigorates the mind and nerves. It helps to conserve physical and mental energy. It augments memory, will force and brain power. It bestows tremendous strength, vigour and vitality. Strength and fortitude are obtained… He who is established in Brahmacharya will have lustrous eyes, a sweet voice and a beautiful complexion.

Swami Sivananda

Brachmacharya is considered one of the cornerstones of a serious yoga practice. The conservation of energy that comes from practicing celibacy is converted into Ojas and Tejas (spiritual energy). Eventually yogic powers can also manifest by the perfect practice of brahmacharya. There are many famous yogis and spiritual leaders who were established in this yama. Some of them are Sankara, Jesus, Gandhi, Hanuman, Lakshmana, and Bhishma from the Mahabharata. From their practice of brahmacharya they had incredible amounts of energy, will-power and thought-power to do great works for the world.

Gandhi_smiling_R

Many people mistakenly believe that practicing brahmacharya means suppression of the natural sexual instincts. Suppression is not what is wanted, because anything that is suppressed will eventually be released with redoubled force when an opportunity arises, the will becomes weak or when sadhana slackens.

*** Let me intervene here for a moment if I may. While discussing this subject at Tattvaa Yoga Shala in Rishikesh India and also at Rishikesh Yog Peeth we discovered a disconcerting pattern. Why is it there seems to be so many problems among certain groups of powerful people (priests, rabbis, even yogi brahmins?) It is possible that it is because they are held to the  standard of suppressing their sexuality, the energy becomes distorted and malformed eventually coming out in horrific ways. For some practicing sexual brahmacharya is too spiritually advanced, and for some it isn’t….***

The proper way to practice brahmacharya is to sublimate these natural urges into Ojas by a strong yoga practice that includes meditation, asanas, pranayama, japa, kirtan, satsang, and reading of scriptures or yogic texts. Contrary to some popular ideas and incorrect psychological beliefs, celibacy improves health and all aspects of life when practiced in the proper context.

*PLAY, sing, PRACTICE, LOVE, meditate, READ…*

This is a good begining.

 

Brahmacharya for Householders (Normal People)

Swami Sivananda recommends that for householders moderation should be practiced. He recommends self-control in order to have one or two children who are healthy and strong. He advocates living a more selfless life of charity, goodness and kindness, including worship of God. Marriage should lead the husband and wife upwards in the spiritual path towards a life of spiritual partnership. When this is accomplished, much spiritual progress can be gained.

It is beyond all doubt that a life of Brahmacharya is glorious and marvellous. At the same time, a life of moderation in the household life is equally good and helpful for spiritual growth. Both have their own advantages. You must have great strength to tread the path either way.

Swami Sivananda

lucky

for more on this subject see also:

http://taozitreeyoga.com/2012/12/09/tantric-sex-on-a-saturday-night