“The point in life is to know what’s enough.” ~Gensei

We are still strolling down our Path to Peace with a deep-dive into the Yama and the Niyama – the first two limbs of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga.

This week we focus on the practice of the Yama brahmacharya or non-excess.

Many definitions and explanations of brahmacharya explain it as celibacy and in some cases, fasting at times. But in reality, brahmacharya is much more than celibacy or fidelity (if you are married).

Brahmacharya is more about the concept of enough is enough or you can get too much of a good thing.

The essence of the meaning of brahmacharya: when brahmacharya becomes stable then the yogi gains great energy and power.

If you were honest with yourself, you know that excess is draining. Too much of anything is not a good thing. Too much sex, too much food, too much exercise, too much social media, too much sleep…this will drain you of the energy you need to sustain a happy and healthy life.

You’ve surely felt the excess of a bit too much wine the night before or the way your tummy feels after you’ve eaten too much—excess feels heavy and in some cases painful.

Excess is the result of forgetting the sacredness of life. Brahmacharya is a call to avoid greed and excess. It reminds us to greet each day with a sense of abundance rather than indulgence, treating our bodies as the sacred temples they are meant to be.

Americans are infamous for greed, indulgence and excess. Storage units, fast food at our fingertips, statistics on obesity, landfills full of trash and warehouse shopping are all (and just a few) examples of the incredible excess in this nation. It’s draining just to think about it.

We cannot seem to grasp the concept of “enough.”

For the next week try a few things to practice brahmacharya in your life.

  • Eat mindfully and slowly allowing your body to fill up naturally and stop when enough is enough.
  • Get enough sleep but not too much.
  • Cut back on anything you overindulge in – soft drinks, craft coffees, alcohol, fast food, shopping
  • Take note of life’s simple (and free) pleasures: a blue sky, a soft breeze, a baby’s laugh, a meaningful hug, a heartfelt compliment (given or received)
  • Know that you are enough and you have enough
  • Treat your body as a temple, feeding your body and mind just enough of healthy foods and thoughts.

Report back and let us know how this affects your week. Take the challenge, do the work, see the improvements. We all overindulge and we all have enough. Let’s practice brahmacharya together!