Observing chastity in thought and deed

Chastity (brahmacarya, pronounced brah-mah-chahr-yah), which is a highly valued virtue in all traditional societies, means abstention from inappropriate sexual behavior. According to Yoga, only adults who are in a committed marriage or partnership should be sexually active; all others should practice sexual abstinence. For many Westerners, this standard is very difficult.

Yogically speaking, you must extend the ideal of chastity to action, speech, and even thought. We leave it up to you to determine where, in your own case, you can change your behavior to bring it more in line with Yoga's moral orientation. Bear in mind that Yoga isn't asking you to go against human nature, which includes sexuality. Rather, Yoga invites you to consider your higher spiritual potential. The Yoga masters recommend chastity not for prudish reasons but because it's an effective way of harnessing your body's vital energy. The practitioner who is firmly grounded in chastity supposedly obtains vigor or vitality.

If you engage Yoga as a lifestyle or spiritual discipline, periodically taking stock of your virtues and vices can help you build toward achievement of your higher Self. When considering your sexuality, ask yourself these questions:

✓ Do I tend to use sexually suggestive or explicit language?

✓ Do I use sex for emotional security or for personal power?

✓ Do I know the distinction between sex and love?

✓ Am I capable of true intimacy, or do I treat my partner as a sex object?

Acquiring more by living with less

Greed is a vice that underlies much of modern consumerism. From a yogic point of view, greed is a failed search for happiness, because whatever possessions you may acquire can't fulfill you. On the contrary, the more you're surrounded by "stuff," the more likely you are to experience a big gaping hole in your soul. Intrinsically, money and possessions aren't "wrong," but few people ever master the art of relating to them properly. Instead of owning things, they're owned (controlled) by them.

Yoga holds high the ideal of voluntary simplicity — the choice to live simply. How do you measure up to it? Try to answer these questions honestly:

✓ Have you ever been called a miser?

✓ Do you accumulate money and possessions because you worry about the future?

✓ Are you overly attached to your partner or child?

✓ Do you like to be the center of attention?

✓ Are you envious of your neighbors?

Yoga encourages you to cultivate the virtue of greedlessness in all matters. The Sanskrit word for this value is aparigraha (pronounced ah-pah-ree-grah-ha), which means "not grasping all round." The Yoga practitioner who is well-trained in the art of greedlessness is said to understand the deeper reason for his or her life. Behind this traditional wisdom lies a profound experience: As you loosen your grip on material possessions, you also let go of the ego, which is doing the gripping or grasping. As the ego-contraction relaxes, you increasingly become in touch with the abiding happiness of your true self. Then you realize that you need nothing at all to be happy. You're unconcerned about the future and live fully in the present. You aren't afraid to give freely to others and also share with them your inner abundance.

Lose Weight Today With Yoga

Lose Weight Today With Yoga

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