“Wise Use of Energy” Introduction
The primary question I had regarding this experiment was how brahmacharya could be practiced by yogis in the context of a married relationship. Although celibacy is certainly an option for married couples, it does not seem conducive to a more loving union, nor do I think it is a moral prerequisite for practicing brahmacharya. I feel that it is important to make an attempt in understanding the context in which Patanjali authored his aphorisms in order to understand this yama. It may also be important to investigate how the historical-cultural context of the Yoga Sutras, relate to contemporary western society.
Another matter of investigation is the universality of the Yoga Sutras. Many religious texts claim universality and timelessness in their teachings, yet they are colored with the culture and historical context in which they were born. I feel that Atha yoganusasanam must always emphasize the “now” to ensure the relevance of the text to our embodied experience. Therefore, forming a definition of brahmacharya is more than simply taking the transliteration “celibacy” as the only way to investigate this essential yama. Fortunately, I discovered that well respected yogis have enumerated upon brahmacharya from an integral perspective of ashtanga (e.g. B.K.S. Iyengar, Desikachar, Michael Stone). In simple terms, this means that brahmacharya is essentially about the wise use of energy and control of the senses. These explanations helped me develop ideas for the experiment which, inevitably, required the consent and creative cooperation with my wife.