Full disclosure: I’ve been avoiding this one. It’s a touchy topic, one that can drive even the most serene people to use near screetching tones. “You think what?!”
Because Brahmacharya, another yoga yama, or best-life behaviour tip, refers to celibacy, or avoiding all sense pleasures: mental, vocal, or physical. Are you already feeling defensive? I’m not here to lecture anyone.
Here’s my take, as I’ve learned to interpret this yama, and I offer it as just that: an offering–from a regular human.
Dr. Usharbudh Arya has commented that Brahmacharya, part of Patanjali’s Sutras, can be practiced without taking an oath of celibacy. Essentially, it can be put into place this way: when we’re having sex with our partner, we are there in that moment, fully and completely, but when we’re not, we’re not. We don’t fantasize, we don’t get caught up in desire or daydreams, we stay present in whatever other activity we’re doing.
So what’s the point? Basically, our need to please our senses comes from our ego and our mind, not our true nature. If we feed our ego, it grows, and we get further and further away from our true self. Our true self knows that contentment and happiness comes from within, and that we can discover this by going without.