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The Yoga of Non-Sex
The Sexual Energy, Celibacy and Transmutation

Sexual energy and creative energy are one in the same. What is sex's purpose, after all, but to create another living being? It is a belief, not just among Yogis but in many religions and spiritual paths, that casual sex wastes creative energy which can be used for other purposes. This is a common belief in sports, too - many a coach has warned his team off having sex the night before a big game. But in the case of spirituality, the creative energy is saved so it can be directed not towards winning at football, but towards union with the Divine.

(Article continued below.)

This makes a lot of sense, if you think about it. It is very easy to obsess over sex. Generally infatuation is more about sexual attraction than it is about real love. What happens when you are infatuated or "in lust" with someone? Don't you spend most of your energy focusing on him or her? All your efforts go towards being with that person and you have time for little else. Whatever it is that you consider to be God takes a back seat. The object of your desire becomes your higher power, so to speak. In other words, you have become lost in the sensual world and forgotten your true nature. Like any earthly pleasure, it certainly feels good - intoxicating, even - but almost always, in the end you are left feeling badly. Emotional hangovers are just as real as alcohol-induced ones. And too much of anything - including sex - saps you of your energy.

And the issue of energy waste goes even deeper. According to Yogic belief, there are three channels that follow the path of your spine, from its base up to your brain. The middle one is known as Shushumna. Winding up and around Shushumna are the other two channels, Ida and Pingala - think of the Caduceus medical symbol and that's kind of what they look like. Energy is supposed to flow up these channels, nourishing your Chakras as it rises. What kind of energy? The creative, or the sexual energy. How is this done? Most often through certain Pranayama, or breathing, techniques. The Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation are also said to do this. Transferring creative energy from the sexual to the spiritual is known as transmutation. Celibacy is pointless without transmutation - this energy is meant to be utilized, not stuffed. Certain Yoga styles, generally Tantric in nature, also use the control of ejaculation to transmute creative energy - pulling the energy inwards and upwards instead of downwards and outwards. Keep in mind that true Tantric sex is very, very rare - a lot of Tantra that is practiced nowadays, especially in America, is ego-driven and the focus is towards sensuality instead of towards spirituality. This is dangerous terrain for those who are looking for enlightenment, and not just a good time.

Brahmacharya is very complex, and within it is the true essence of Yoga, because it directs your energy towards something far greater than yourself. It is also the most personal Yama because, more than anything else, it impacts your relationship with your God. The level on which you choose to practice Brahmacharya can determine the quality of that connection. Sex can be spiritual and transcendental, but not if it is cheapened through promiscuity or attitudes that bring on feelings of guilt. Celibacy can be an option - perhaps temporarily, for a period of a few months - if you are able to practice it honestly, by channeling your energy into the more spiritual aspects of your Yoga practice. If you practice celibacy and spend the whole time bemoaning your lack of a sex life, that is not Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is foregoing the pleasures of the flesh for something that at first is wispy and ephemeral but that, as time goes on, becomes more tangible, more concrete. Brahmacharya teaches that the world of the senses is illusory. Brahmacharya is the key to reality.

Previous page >> Understanding Brahmacharya >> Page 1, 2

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