Self-reflection through the Study of Yamas and Niyamas: Introduction

Yama/Brahmacharya:  To consist of (not totally limited to): Life of celibacy, religious study & self restraint—continence, abstinence, self-containment & moderation.

Niyama/Santosa: Contentment has to be cultivated.  A mind that is not content cannot concentrate.  Contentment and tranquility are states of mind—these are present when the flame of the spirit does not waver in the wind of desire.  Feeling of being content with what we have—“contentment counts for more than all sixteen heavens together.” (Sutra commentary).

Realization:  I live my life with Brahmacharya and Santosa present.  This experiment is very compelling on a number of different levels—self reflection being the cornerstone.  This is akin to peeling back the layers of the onion for greater self examination.

Facts:  These Yamas & Niyamas continue to occur and present themselves without any dramatic lifestyle modifications, changes or adjustments—the following observations and discussion points were not intentional lifestyle modifications, they are actually how I live my life on a daily basis.  I had no knowledge of the concepts of Brahmacharya or Santosa prior to this Axis Yoga YTT course.  With this newly acquired knowledge, it is evident that I have practiced the primary component of Brahmacharya (abstinence—Life of celibacy) since April 2008.  This is a function of my personal situation, decisions and relationship with my life partner.   I am comfortable with what is currently happening inside me. I continue to work with my life partner on our personal situation(s) and all components of the very complicated relationship equation (currently we are in relationship counseling through the Graduate School of Psychology at the University of Denver).  Not to be overlooked, at the age 18 (as my memory best serves me) I made a conscious decision that I wanted no children—no desire to procreate.  As a total aside, it is my humble opinion that age needs to be considered when evaluating and understanding Brahmacharaya –as we age (I am 55 and my life partner is 57) the sex drive diminishes and becomes less of a priority, generally speaking.