Yoga Off the Mat: Fourth Yama – Brahmacharya (Non-Excess)
-Mindfulness. Check in with your state of being and energy at the end of each day and assess how you are feeling. If you aren’t feeling ideal or complete, take time to note or journal about what you feel caused this. You can then use this awareness to make an adjustment to your day tomorrow. I use The Self Journal – a daily planner which also has sections for daily reflection. We have a special company code that gives you 15% off: goyogalove.
-Sleep. Make it a point to set yourself up for a good night’s rest. I find when I’m well rested, everything else in my day tends to stay more in balance – my mind, my emotions, my eating, etc. Things I’ve found or heard can negatively impact your sleep include: screen time before you go to bed, eating within 2-3 hours of bed time, alcohol consumption 2-3 hours before bedtime, a room that is not completely dark or is too warm. I’ve also found it helpful to gain a clearer understanding of your biology and the type of sleeper you are genetically made to be (yes, we all have a gene that dictates our optimal circadian rhythm). There’s a fun little quiz here to help you learn more.
-Fasting. I’ve found quarterly 3-day water fasts and also weekly intermittent fasting to be effective ways to re-set my energy and focus levels (and decrease cravings for the not so good stuff). Know that fasting completely from food is not for everybody, though, and if you have health concerns, it’s always wise to get perspectives and advice from a variety of medical professionals (know that there are varying opinions out there on fasting!). Beyond food, there are other things that eat away at your vitality that you can fast from such as: alcoholic beverages, social media (this is a big one!), news, gossip, complaining, criticism of self and others (try that on for just one day…it’s hard!), shopping, etc. Ultimately you have to pinpoint the few things that are having the greatest negative impact on your well-being and find your own sustainable way to do less of those and get yourself on the road to feeling your very best. If you do want a good read on fasting from food, check out Fast This Way by Dave Asprey.
–Gratitude. When we are grateful for what we already have and for where we already are, we tend to not long for more, more, more. That’s not to say more is not a blessing. With an active gratitude practice, though, we develop a healthier relationship with both our present situation and our desires for the future. I make it a practice to think of 3 things I’m grateful for each morning as soon as I wake up, before I get out of bed. This means the first things in my mind each morning are positive, helping to jumpstart what I hope to be a good mental state for my entire day.
If you want to explore the yamas deeper, check out my online Embodying Yoga Philosophy Series where you’ll be guided through 5 full length practices centered around each of the 5 yamas. Enroll here.
Alissa Rodgers, eRYT500, is a Columbus, OH based yoga and meditation teacher and the founder and co-owner of GoYoga. She’s been practicing yoga for over 16 years and within the past 5 years, has shifted her practice toward exploring the philosophy and mindfulness aspects of yoga on a deeper basis. This has positively impacted her life in many ways and it’s a true gift to get to share these powerful tools of yoga with others! View her in person and livestream teaching schedule here.