So, first I couldn't PRONOUNCE it, then I had to do a report on this somewhat elusive YAMA in yoga. A yama is a value in yoga (in easy terms it is a DO form of value).
I drew this yama to do a report on and Friday I shared that with my certification group!! When I first drew it the leader of our group that day was like, "ooooooohhh, that is kind of a tough one". (oh GOOD, I think in my head. PERFECT. It is probably something crazy that I will struggle to explain in my report, EXCELLLLENT).
So, I open my book on Yamas and Niyamas only to find this saying, "In the dark and muck, a golden lotus blooms-God's grace awaits us"-C.S. Lewis (Adele, Deborah, The Yamas and Niyamas).
(SCREECHING SOUND). Well, THAT isn't an accident right???
So, next comes my research and reading.
I FALL IN LOVE with this yama. Full on, heart bursting, can't shake it ENTHUSIASM.
Having many thoughts and concepts attached to this yoga value, it is most widely known for being related to celibacy and abstinence so on it's first go around I was like, "meh". As I read and research though, this yama comes screaming out at me.
It is about living with moderation...living not in “excess”.
So now I have to consider the things I do in excess to share in class...(SWEET. I wonder if this will come across as my own therapy session at this rate and should I PAY these people???).
I may have a FEW things I do in excess…like eating, drinking, shopping, worrying, not asserting myself when needed, having sugar, being lazy in my routine/not as disciplined as I need to be.
Well, I mean we all have SOMETHING we struggle with right?? (imagine me laughing out loud here).
And WHY?? Why do we do this type of thing?
The book by Deborah Adele spells out that certain behaviors are attached to feelings/emotions and so we go back to our behaviors to recapture an experience. I get that. I use some of the above stated things to COPE right? To connect with my mom I make sweets and learned to connect with others around food and sharing food. I miss her and so we EAT.
OH!! I forgot to mention excessive ANGER? Whoops! That was an accident (NOPE it wasn’t).
Have any of you responded in anger to COPE?? I know I have. My anger can be an IMPRESSIVE coping mechanism and deterrent from the situation/feeling at hand. I can use my anger to avoid being SAD. I can use it to argue you out of your position and INTO mine (and damn, if I’m not good at it. My husband can confirm this. Lol). Anyone else do this???
Okay, so that is all rather heavy, but let’s forge ahead…
We also DO things in excess because we live in a culture of SCARCITY.
We do not view our lives from a lens of ABUNDANCE so we go to that scared place of “not enough” so we hoard. We hoard our time, money, energy, love, resources and ENERGY.
Due to our fear we TAKE (or GIVE depending on how you look at it).
I always recommend that when we want to change something or live our lives in a more peaceful way, we begin with AWARENESS.
This project encouraged me to take stock (and BOY, did I take STOCK and STOCK and STOCK).
Deborah Adele discusses that Brahmacharya is about an effort to “walk with God” and if we seek balance and awareness in Brahmacharya we can be more spiritually connected and present.
Her point is so beautifully written…
Doing everything to just “enough” is our goal.
Guess how we feel when we over-do it???
-Shopping; GUILTY. Disappointed.
-EATING. Uncomfortable, guilty.
-Worry. Exhausted. Low energy. Stealing from the present.
-Anger. Regret. Guilt. Disappointment and defensiveness.
Any of that sound good to anyone??? Lol.
NOPE. It all sounds terrible. And it FEELS terrible.
But any ONE of those things in moderation can bring TRUE joy, peace, contentment or authenticity. The right dress found for a special occasion??? ON sale?? #WINNING!
My eating food until I am full and not beyond?…Satiation. Feeling nurtured by my own chemistry.
Using coping skills like meditation, yoga, reading, hiking etc to cope with my worry?? Sharing it with my husband to check my reality against my thinking?? PERFECTION. I can more easily find a healthy way to either honor my stress or learn to release that which is not serving me…
Anger? I can workout! I can write it out! I can vent to a close friend (as long as I am not dumping it ON them). I can work on my awareness around the WHY of my anger so that I can honor the true and authentic feelings that are more easily covered by my anger.
So, you feel me here right? We can more easily “walk with God” if we are in moderation, aware of our proclivity towards excess, work on releasing this in new, healthy and honest ways…
And what say you of how this connects to ENERGY?? (WHAAAAAT???)
You all know I LOVE to tie everything into our energy!!
Is it a WISE use of our energy to OVER-EAT? To over-spend? To worry? You can see where I am going here. Our energy is a PRECIOUS commodity and currency right?
When we do things in excess it chews up our beautiful energy and leaves us ramped up, hyped up, sad, fatigued, depleted, angry, exhausted, disappointed). You can see that our behaviors/choices lead directly to our feelings/thoughts and this has ENERGY.
The best USE of our energy is our awareness so that we can determine what and HOW to address our Brahmacharya.
-Become AWARE of our excess (How are we in excess? What is this ABOUT?).
-Share this with a trust someone or community so we can be accountable and receive support!
-Define ways to balance this out (meditation, prayer, journaling, yoga, working out, hiking, reading, art, etc).
-Do things until it is “ENOUGH”
-Take time to be “celibate” from something in your life (sugar, laziness, anger, junk food, spending too much time on technology).
When we are in our truest selves and on our best path we do things that reflect our divinity and THAT my friends includes decisions/awareness about moderation and living our lives in the most conscientious manner possible.
SO. This is a biggie.
Like I said, I started off a little stumped and “put off” by this idea of celibacy, but the more I read and understood, the more I could see that our periods of taking time to “fast” from anything provides us a bold and brilliant perspective, uncomfortable perhaps, but BRILLIANT nonetheless.
Someone wrote about taking 30 days to go live without technology and even clocks so that their mind, body and spirit realigned in a natural way that set in and felt like mystifying equilibrium. Health, peace and JOY.
Now, we can’t all do this. I wish we could.
However, these concepts are available to us 24/7 and even working towards moderation in the moment, minute, hour, day, week is a HUGE benefit to you.
I am truly humbled friends.
This project took me to an uncomfortable place of some deep awareness. Some #truthbombs of my own that needed to be seen.
Now, I can work on it.
The last thing I have to say on this issue is THIS…
Be KIND and COMPASSIONATE in this delving in.
It can be easy to read ourselves the riot act, to call ourselves names and to disregard our worth when we are looking at the painful truth.
However, in all things, we work to “make friends” with it.
We are holy, even in our imperfections.
I’ve heard it said that “God doesn’t make mistakes” so whatever your spiritual leanings, you feel me.
I am created with a light AND a darkness and even THAT is moderation in it’s own right. RIGHT?
Allow the wisdom and insight to be there without the JUDGMENT. Giving into that notion is a form of excess. We can have excess in self-loathing too, can’t we?
We don’t need to go there.
So, this includes this installment of my “Oh My GOD” moments in my yoga journey.
There have been MANY and I will continue to be AMAZED by my exposure to this practice.
I am ALWAYS learning my friends. ALWAYS.
Peace and Brahmacharya!! XOXO