Day 4: Use Your Energy Wisely

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Hi! Welcome to day 4 of the Yoga Anytime Self-Care Challenge. We’re so happy you’re here!
Today’s topic is brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is the wise use of our energy.
Today we will practice locating and beginning to repair the places in our lives where we scatter ourselves, where we leak life force. Your life force is precious, sweet one, and you must do everything in your power to preserve it. You are the only one who can.
Anytime we give our attention, our time, our love, our work to a cause that is not in alignment with our dharma, we are leaking prana. That’s not to say that we won’t be called upon to do things that we are not totally stoked on frequently or even daily, but those that are in support of your life, your work, your highest are necessary. Keep doing those. The electric bill needs to be paid even though writing the check may not feel like the most inspired activity.

“When brahmacharya is established, great vigor is obtained.” ~ YS 2.37

Brahmacharya has all kinds of useful, contextual translations and interpretations. Some define it narrowly as the continence of sexual energy, whereas some broaden it to mean general moderation. I paraphrase from Ravi Ravindra's translation: “to dwell in the vastness.”
It can be incredibly useful to notice the times and places where we are not wisely expending our life force in order to inform an awareness of when we are preserving and maintaining our prana. What do we give our attention to that diverts us from connection to the vastness.
One place we may look for leaks of life force are by following our emotions:
  • Lust
  • Pride
  • Obsession
  • Greed
  • Anger
  • Hatred
  • Worry or Anxiety
Not to get too heady here, but if you’re interested, you can connect these states of emotional distress to the kleshas we discussed yesterday. Lust depends on the belief that we are not enough as we are; pride is the food for our attachment to the ego-story; obsession and greed accompany our attachment to the objects of desire; anger and hatred stoke our attachment to past pain; worry or anxiety is the realm of attachment to the status quo. All of this prevents us from clear vision, or the state of yoga that allows us to flow with the rhythm of life, or to act with our dharma.
Some of these emotions are very useful at times, especially if we use them as a tool to dig deeper to their root or if they motivate us to take appropriate actions. If we let them hang out, however, they are just diverting prana from its highest flow.

Locating the Leaks

Personally, I like to practice occasional bouts of abstention from all sorts of activities and substances to get a handle on how much energy I’m giving to that activity and to discern the usefulness of that expenditure. For example, I logged off of social media for a month last summer. It was a really useful practice of locating leaks of prana. I find that frequently by sharing and responding online, I’m often making a positive connection and a high expenditure of energy; however, there are plenty of times throughout the day when the response feels like it pulling me away from my core. Being away from the media helped me get clear on how much energy goes into those interactions, and to be more intentional with my boundaries.
I would note that for many people, abstaining from something can create or exacerbate feelings of scarcity, which we talked about yesterday, which in turn causes hoarding or indulging or bingeing. On the flip side of that coin, the energy of abstaining can for some people be a bit addictive and the temptation can be strong to cut out more and more and more. Our work, my dears, is to get to know our own patterns around this and seek to align with the highest. Always. Let the wisest use of your own prana be your guide.
I can’t wait to hear how these practices feel for you. Be sure to keep in touch with your experience by commenting here or on social media. Tag us on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #SelfCareChallenge.
Join us for the 10 Day Self-Care Challenge with Kelly Sunrose.
About the Author

Kelly Sunrose

Kelly Sunrose is the creator of Yoga Anytime's Self Care Challenge. She teaches yoga in Portland, Oregon where she lives with her husband and daughter. Learn more.


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