06 Apr April: Brahmacharya
Welcome to the PY828 Philosophy Corner! Applied Philosophy is one of the four petals of Purna Yoga along with Asana & Pranayama, Nutrition & Lifestyle choices, and Heartfull Meditation. Last year, we worked our way through the qualities of the Mother’s Symbol for our applied philosophy study. This year, we’ll focus on the Yama, Niyama, and the Klesha each month as codified by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra.
This month’s focus is Brahmacharya, the fourth of the five Yama.
The Yama and Niyama are the first two limbs of the Ashtanga (8-limbed) Path and compose our yogic code of ethics. Brahmacharya is sometimes translated as chastity or celibacy, but in Purna Yoga, we prefer the translation: control of the creative force.
In Purna Yoga, we locate the creative force in the pelvis. The pelvis holds the organs of reproduction, is the seat of sexuality, and the home of our ambitions, desires, and primal drives. When the energy of the pelvis is out of balance, we can be greedy, possessive, overly-ambitious, needy, and ruled by our attachments and expectations.
When we talk about controlling the creative force, we are inviting ourselves to harness the energy of the pelvis – our creativity, our passions, our desires – and direct these raw forces with the wisdom and intuition of the Heart Center.
Here are a few ways to practice Brahmacharya over the month of April:
- observe your body in asana. is lower rectus abdominus (the Pit of the Abdomen or POA) engaged to keep the pelvic floor level and direct its energy up to the heart? are you overworking? are you holding back?
- how do you express creativity or engage in creative play?
- are you providing your body with the fuel it needs to move, live, be?
For your asana exploration, Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) is an excellent pose to practice engaging the core and levelizing the pelvic bowl as is Tadasana. We are finding creativity and creative play to be an excellent outlet during these unprecedented times. The craft tables are set up. We’re sewing, mod-podging, listening to music rather than podcasts, and dancing along (which is hard to do to podcasts). Learning how to turn our brick-and-mortar studio into an online production studio has been an exploration in creative problem-solving, as well as birthing something that has production values we are proud of while conveying the special feeling of a Purna Yoga class.
Lastly, are you feeding yourself everything your body needs at this moment to stay grounded, healthy, bolstered, hydrated, and supported? Cooking is a great creative outlet. But we’re talking about more than just food here. Make sure that you’re getting the imaginative nourishment you need.
And speaking of creativity, here’s a PDF of the poster covering this month’s philosophical theme, since you can’t see it hanging up around the studio. The old graphic designer in me really enjoys making these…