Sophrosyne is the Greek concept of an ideal of excellence of character and soundness of mind, which when combined in a well-balanced Yogi utilizing Asana, Pranayama and Meditation leads to other qualities, such as temperance, moderation, prudence, and self-control.
In English there is no word that has this simple equivalent. We sometimes translate this to mean prudence, self-control, moderation, or temperance. In Latin as continentia (continence and moderation) and sobrietas (temperance and sobriety). In Hindi this word is known as Brahmacharya.
Brahmacharya is outlined in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This 2000 year-old guideline translated from Hindi provides a fundamental source towards the practice of yoga and has a long tradition of passing form teacher to pupil, practiced and repeated.
The second chapter of the Yoga sutras 2:30 says "Ahimsa-satyasteya-brahmacaryaparigaha yama". Brahmacharya is the sanskrit word equivalent of sophrosyne.
Ahimsa-satyasteya-brahmacaryaparigaha yama" is the basis of the last three weeks of focus and interpretation towards the Yamas. I obtained a copy of my book listed just to the left in my first teacher training many years back and it sat untouched for many years because these teachings had to percolate their way into my life. I encourage you to get a copy of this book.
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“You only lose
what you cling to.” ~Buddha
“Brahmacharya pratishtayam veryalabaha” — Essentially means continence.
Through further investigation, I found that Continence is an old English word for chastity which means nothing lost from the body; In recent years yogi scholars have reassigned meaning to be a looser term which is of a non-sexual, broad, nebulous interpretation of "staying to your purpose".
If continence means nothing lost from the body; Incontinence would mean lack of restraint lack of self-restraint. When we loose self control we destroy our interior, our power of concentration and strip away our creative being.
So your prayers are your conversation with the divine, meditation could be listening. You might have experienced feeling light as a feather in your meditation and Yoga practice. These are the moments you realize you are not just the body. The more joyful you are, the more you are in tandem with your infinite consciousness, the lesser you feel the tension of the physical weight of the body.
This is practicing Brahmacharya in Yoga. A person who is small minded is always succumbing to the cravings within the body. This person might seek satisfaction through stimulation of the senses by taking up bad habits. Forget getting caught up in the senses by taking refuge in your self by coming back to your nature. This heat gets trapped in the head skewing vision and blurring our perception.
We humans are attached to sensual pleasures, which generates suffering when those sensual pleasures cease or become lost. Sensual pleasures also create enslaving tormenting addictions. Furthermore, sensual pleasures cannot bring true permanent happiness, which is why people get bored of and continually search for & acquire new sensual pleasures. This sure seems like a never ending cycle of suffering. ॐ
Like so many others in the West, I began to practice yoga for its health and fitness benefits, and the deeper practice followed naturally. I doubt if it would have happened for me any other way; had someone tried to push “Eastern” thinking on me, I would have recoiled. It was a slow, internal process, a growing awareness, the cumulative effects of regular asana practice that awakened my interest in spirituality.
—Stephen BIson ERYT500
low. Comparatively you can get a sense of this when your vibrational energy is high. This thick and dull vibration weakens the mind and tis evident in loss of vigor, loss of vision and commitment to life.
So what does it take to practice this Yama?
Try not indulge in sensual pleasures like sex or taste, smell. You are more than the body. Once Brahmacharya is firmly established in you, you will become vast and powerful.