The 3 Pillars of Life: Brahmacharya


By: Gaia Staff  |  November 8, 2013

Over the last few months I have been exploring the theme of the 3 Pillars—right diet, sleep, and brahmacharya—in my classes and personal practice to help ease into this new fall season with a stronger commitment to my self-care and Ayurveda. My first article in this trilogy emphasized diet and introduced you to the Ayurvedic term agni, which describes your digestive fire; it included a few recipes to enhance your digestion if it is weak or irregular. The second article highlighted sleep and offered some practical tips on how to improve your sleep with self-care practices and diet.

This month, I will shed some light on brahmacharya as well as creativity and their role in upholding the three pillars. Brahmacharya is traditionally a practice that emphasizes management of one’s sexual energy. From the yogic perspective, excessive sexual activity will weaken or exhaust your vital energy. Now just to be clear, the idea of brahmacharya is not to make us all monks or withdraw completely from all sexual activity—it’s actually to raise your awareness that engaging in too much sexual activity will reduce your shukra (sexual energy, reproductive fluids), which is necessary to build ojas. Ojas is the word Ayurvedic practitioners use to describe the most refined by-product that is created by the food we consume after it is digested to build up our tissues (dhatus: fluids, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nervous system, reproductive fluids). Excessive sex and stress will deplete ojas in the sperm and ovum as well as curtail ojas from entering the heart. Ojas is technically not considered a tissue of the body; it’s more like the strength or quality intrinsic to a tissue that gives you vigor, strengthens your immune system, provides stability to the body and mind, and keeps you juicy and plump like a newborn baby.

The Ayurvedic yogis believe that reproductive fluids are the final step in a 30-day process that creates the dhatus; as noted above, these fluids are one of the dhatus and are the ones that are produced last. Unfortunately, during the thirty days, many factors can compromise the production of the dhatus; if this occurs then it will lead to a depletion of ojas, contributing to the reduction of vigor, immunity, radiant glow, and longevity we naturally desire. Yet, if all goes well through the stages of food to dhatus transformation, our tissues will be strong and we will feel a surplus of energy that moves us to create or be creative on a regular basis.

What creative outlets do you have in your daily life? What do you love to do in your free time? In my opinion, responding to the urge to create when it arises is one of the most loving things you can do for soul. If brahmacharya is part of your regular practice, there will be a surplus of energy to explore in life, perhaps to ignite your next poem, photograph, or song. With too much sexual activity or stress it’s not uncommon to lose your libido or urge to be creative. As daunting as it might sound to add one more practice to your already busy life, I find that the rhythm of daily creative practice becomes its own habit and therefore grows easier over time.

As we head into the cooler, darker fall and winter seasons that invite us into the warmth of our homes, we’re provided with a great opportunity to evaluate our relationship to brahmacharya and creativity. Trust that whatever amount of creative time arises each day is the right amount. It’s the intention that counts. Trust that there is room in your day to practice and that you deserve this creative time. Antoine de Saint-Exupery has said, “A single new habit can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us.” This was my personal experience as I discovered and danced with this beautiful new stranger, who was truly none other than creative facets of the unexplored me. If you are ready to meet and embrace the creative divine in you, I invite you to undertake a daily creative ritual. Just as much as we need good food and sleep to be healthy and productive, I believe we also need to have space to do what we love in order to feel our best.


 

Melina Meza

For the last 18 years, Melina Meza has explored the art of nutrition and yoga.

She utilizes her knowledge of Ayurveda, Hatha Yoga, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle promotion to create what she calls ?Seasonal Vinyasa.? Every yoga class, retreat, and workshop emphasizes alignment with nature and the crucial importance of sequencing. In addition to asana practice, Meza?s works include understandings on physical health and nutrition as well as how to inspire self-knowledge that allows for the conscious adjustment of day-to-day choices.

Exuding in her love of yoga, Melina Meza?s colorful and hopeful perspective on life, originates from her devotion to yoga and eating well, to teaching and nutritional counseling, and to traveling and experiencing different cultures.

Until December 2011, Melina Meza was a yoga teacher in Seattle, Washington at 8 Limbs Yoga Centers, when she moved to Oakland. At the 8 Limbs Yoga Centers she was the Co-Director of the 8 Limbs Yoga Centers 200 and 500 ? Hour Teachers? Training Program. She continues to grow as a teacher, and is influenced by studying with numerous teachers, including Dr. Robert Svoboda, Scott Blossom, Sarah Powers, Jin Sung, Gary Kraftsow and Seattle’s Kathleen Hunt. Meza believes that retreats and sabbaticals are vital to her personal practice and bring her deeper reflection and inspiration.

Melina Meza is the author of the Art of Sequencing books and produced the Yoga for the Seasons video series, which premiered in September 2009 with the release of the Fall Vinyasa DVD.


 

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