Brahmacharya is as "going after Brahman." (Supreme Reality, Self, God). In India, Brahman is the Supreme Reality, Self, or God and is a concept with various context-driven meanings.
In one context, Brahmacharya is the first of four Ashrama (age-based stages) of human life, with Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (forest dweller) and Sannyasa (renunciation) being the other three Asramas. Brahmacharya (bachelor student) stage of one's life, up to 25 years of age, was focused on education and included the practice of celibacy.
In Indian traditions, it connotes chastity during student stage of life to learn from a guru (teacher), and during later stages of life to attain spiritual liberation (moksha).
In another context, Brahmacharya is a virtue, where it means celibacy when unmarried, and fidelity when married. It represents a good lifestyle that also includes simple living, meditation, and other behaviors.
Among the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist monastic traditions, Brahmacharya implies, among other things, mandatory renouncing of sex and marriage. It is considered necessary for a monk's spiritual practice. These characteristics mirror the Western notions of the religious life as practiced in monastic settings.
"Practice of Brahmacharya gives good health, inner strength, peace of mind and long life. It invigorates the mind and nerves. It helps to conserve physical and mental energy. It augments memory, will force and brain power. It bestows tremendous strength and vitality. Strength and fortitude are obtained... He who is established in Brahmacharya will have lustrous eyes, a sweet voice, and a beautiful complexion."- Swami Sivananda
Practice of Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya is considered a vital part of a yoga practice and meditation since the conservation of energy that comes from practicing celibacy is converted into Ojas and Tejas (spiritual energy).
Brahmacharya is one of the five Yamas in yoga, as stated in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. It is considered a form of self-restraint and its meaning for the individual varies. For the married practitioner, it means marital fidelity, and for the single practitioner, it means celibacy.
Sandilya Upanishad includes Brahmacharya as one of ten Yamas in Chapter 1 and defines it as "refraining from sexual intercourse in all places and all states in mind, speech or body."
Patanjali in verse 2.38 says that the virtue of Brahmacharya leads to the profit of Virya or virility.
Another definition, as explained by Pada Chandrika, Raja Marttanda, Sutrartha Bodhini, Mani Prabha and Yoga Sudhakara state that Brahmacharya must be understood as the voluntary restraint of power.
In the Epic Mahabharata, in Book Five Udyoga Parva (the Book of Effort), Brahmacharya is described to be the Brahman, which leads one to union with the Supreme Soul. It embodies the practice of self-restraint, the ability to overcome the desire to learn, discover truths (in Vedas and Upanishads), understand reality, pay attention in thought, chant power-mantras, word and deed to the guru (teacher).
The famous yogis who practiced this Yama are Sankara, Jesus, Gandhi, Hanuman, Lakshmana, and Bhishma from the Mahabharata. From their practice of brahmacharya, they were said to have unbelievable amounts of energy, will-power, and thought-power to do great works for the world.
5 types of mala beads
A meditation mala https://japamalabeads.com/ is a string of 108 beads used for meditation and chanting mantras. Almost every spiritual tradition has a type of prayer beads used for focus, concentration and granting wishes. Meditation malas can be made from many different types of beads and usually have knots between each of the beads. The knots create a space between the beads which is helpful for some people when using for chanting a mantra. Check out this great infographic showing the 5 main types of mala beads.via Tumblr https://ift.tt/2Hpp7G6
Top Buddhist Mala Mantras
There are hundreds of different sacred mantras https://japamalabeads.com/mantras/ used in Buddhism and many are very long and complex. We have found the following Buddhist mantras to be both very accessible and easy to pronounce as well as potent and powerful in the spiritual powers. In this beautiful infographic, we share 4 of the best Buddhist Sanskrit mantras for meditation.via Tumblr https://ift.tt/2sE6XLm
Meditation can be a challenging area for the lifestyle we have. To fit in a time where you are simply closing your eyes can also feel like a waste of time. But meditation has much deeper meaning and benefits that can be written in words. You have to experience and understand the overall benefits of meditation for you know to start the practice.
Meditation is the only way you can bring your mind to the present moment. Only sitting practice does not mean meditation. All that which brings your awareness to the present moment is meditation. When all the awareness is in the present moment mind is naturally calm and concentrated. The mind is clear and bright It is devoid of past and future thoughts. Mediation helps you to create space within. When your mind is well rested, even for the shortest time it rejuvenates and will regain its power of efficiency.
The mind is the most powerful tool, which only humans can use with intelligence. Like any other tool in existence, it needs care and proper handling. When we know how to operate this tool properly, it can give us benefits beyond measure. Although before we use our mind for the maximum benefit, it is crucial that we get to know the mind. How it operates, how it can be performed. After you become familiar with its functions, then you can handle with ease. The mind is in service to you and no one else.
Mediation is a medium through which you can get to know nature of the mind and body. It is the only way this human subject can be experientially studied. Once you see the nature of mind, the most powerful object in this world. You can be master of everything. This is the purpose why meditation is practiced.
For some people, meditation happens naturally. They need not attend to any meditation class for instruction, but for those who are not able to experience meditation on their own, it's recommended that they participate in a few meditation classes till we can practice on our own. In the meditation classes, you attend you can learn the techniques and discipline needed for the practice. Then meditation classes can be attended only when you feel the need. There are a few different types of meditation classes you can explore such as mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation and walking meditation.
Mediation helps clear the mind hence the overworked mind calms down resulting in stress release and lower blood pressure. The clear and calm mind will enhance your ability to make precise decisions, handle a difficult situation with right reflections, etc. Meditation will bring harmony to your physical, emotional and mental state.
The benefit of mediation goes far beyond when practiced regularly.
I haven’t always been good at being happy. In fact, I spent much of my life feeling like someone who things kept happening to, instead of someone who made things happen. There was a shift in my life when all of that started to change—a time when I started to feel happy, although the feeling was touch and go. I still thought life was something that was happening to me, rather than something I was making happen. It wasn’t until I realized that I could choose to be happy—to continuously seek out joy, to stop letting external circumstances dictate my mood—that I felt like I owned my happiness.
Like I was in my power.
What does it mean to be in your power? For me, it's an exhilarating feeling, like you’re on top of the world, everything is going your way, and experiences and opportunities you’ve been wanting are lining up for you. It feels like you’re fully supported by yourself, others, and the universe. It's when the magic happens when you feel like you’re free, and anything is possible.
Being in your power feels great, but sometimes we could use some help getting there, or even staying there. Here are five steps to help you step into your power when you feel yourself wavering.
1. Stop giving your power away.
Sometimes we feel victimized by circumstances beyond our control, things that happened in the past, or are taking place in the present. Notice your thoughts on these situations. If perpetual thought patterns keep surfacing that leave you feeling powerless, stop replaying those stories in your head. Thinking about things that don’t feel good may seem natural, but it's a choice. When those thoughts pop into your head, you can choose to think about something else. Change the subject, purge those stories, exorcise the demons, and take back your power.
2. Overpower your limiting beliefs.
There’s power in words, including the ones inside your head. Outdated thoughts can get in your way. When you hear them telling you that you can’t do the things you want to, reframe the statement. If you hear “I’m not good enough/smart enough/rich enough/whatever enough,” turn that mental story around. Remove the negative charge and put a positive spin on it. You may not go immediately from “I can’t” to “I CAN,” but you can take baby steps to get there. Change the statement to: “I’m open to believing I can.” That spin can help you start to shift your thoughts and create a more empowering belief system.
3. Power down your brain.
We all need to get out of our heads from time to time. One surefire way to shut off the monkey mind is to do something that requires your full attention. Find something to focus on. Teach yourself to paint, learn a new instrument, plan a mountain climbing expedition, practice yoga, chant a mantra, or sign up to volunteer for your preferred cause. When you do things that get you out of your head, it gives your brain a much-needed vacation that can recharge and renew your spirit.
4. Stay positive.
Just like negative thoughts and adverse environments, experiences and influences can take their toll. You may need to eliminate specific practices, like talking about things that bring you down. Avoid situations, subjects, places, or people that leave you feeling drained, at least until you know you can stay in your power in these situations without getting derailed. Seek out more positive environments and uplifting experiences that help you maintain a positive vibration.
5. Believe in the power of possibility.
As you step more and more into your own power, you may begin to believe in yourself more, and in what’s possible for you. You may find yourself more open to the idea that you can have, be, or do whatever it is that you desire. When you find yourself in this expansive creative space, work it. Meditate on what’s possible. Visualize it happening. Feel it in your body. Now is the time to start writing that book, develop that business plan, ask out that hottie, or do whatever it is you’ve been dreaming of. When you believe it's possible, obstacles dissolve, and opportunities arise.
Standing in your power is an awesome feeling. Getting there—and staying there—can be a balancing act. Sure, there may be opportunities to fall out. Get right back into it as soon as you can. If you work these steps like it's your job, I guarantee you’ll see positive changes in your life in no time.
How have you learned to live in your power?
The benefits of yoga and meditation are seemingly endless.
From the somewhat evident and widely-reported physical benefits to the researched and documented healing powers, to the mental and emotional benefits—a lot of good can come from these mindfulness practices. So, when we look at yoga's effects, especially on the brain, it's not exactly surprising to find that there are benefits there, too.
According to research, yoga and meditation could have the potential to slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease, and possibly help as a preventative measure. A quick visit to the Alzheimer's Association website will show you just how many people in the world are touched by the disease. According to the site: “An estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease in 2015,” and “Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.”
The progression of Alzheimer's can be slow, and a diagnosis or recognition of symptoms can be stressful, depressing, and emotionally taxing. The Alzheimer's Association suggests that: “Enhancing your spiritual life can help you cope with challenging feelings, find meaning in your diagnosis, and live your life more deeply.”
While it may not be the cure, we're all hoping for, with the help of meditation and yoga those suffering from the disease can work toward an improved quality of life.
It is understood, though perhaps not easily accepted, that as we age our cognitive function changes, and even declines... We may not like it, but it's a fact of life and a normal reaction to the aging process. Another normal reaction? The desire to hold off the inevitable, for as long as possible, however possible. Emory University's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center touches on “certain interventions [that] can sharpen cognitive processes,” which include: “reducing stress, maintaining good health, keeping mentally stimulated, and using active strategies (strategies that can be helpful to facilitate memory).”
A study discussed in ScienceDaily from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center honed in on the power of meditation concerning the progression of mental deterioration. The research focused on finding a correlation between meditation practice and stress relief, and its effect on the speed at which Alzheimer's and “other dementias” progressed. The study participants were adults ranging in age from 55 to 90, and 14 of them had already been diagnosed with “mild cognitive impairment.” Broken into two groups, one used meditation and yoga as a form of “Mindful Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR), while the other group received normal care.
With the use of neuroimaging, the authors of the study were able to visually monitor the impact of both forms of care on the groups. Most importantly the researchers could view the influence on the hippocampus (“the part of the brain responsible for emotions, learning, and memory”). According to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the study found that: “Both groups experienced atrophy of the hippocampus, but those who practiced MBSR experienced less atrophy.”
Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, the first author on the study, said: “MBSR is a relatively simple intervention, with minimal downside that may provide real promise for these individuals who have very few treatment options.”
Breathing and the Brain
All yogis know that breathing is a fundamental part of practice. But did you know that this "yogi breathing" can prove beneficial to your brain and brain function?
The deep breathing that comes with a yoga practice can help to increase levels of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), an essential protein that, according to Huffington Post reporter Elaine Gavalas, “protects brain neurons.” NGF has been found to be much less abundant in those living with Alzheimer's disease, but as Gavalas writes, “for the first time, breakthrough research reveals NGF can be increased with yoga breathing.”
You know yoga makes you feel good. But it’s even more satisfying striking a pose and practicing your breathing when you know there are researched health benefits behind them. So make time for your breath, and your practice, it’s not only good for your soul and body but your mind as well
There are so many small treasures to discover when on a walk. Perhaps you live in a place where jasmine flowers line the streets, or when the leaves change and begin lining the sidewalk in warm colors. Too often these things are never even noticed.
Most meditation is done in a seated position. This is nice; it allows for one to settle the mind, draw inward, and notice his or her thoughts. Walking meditation is not as well-known, but it's a delicious way to feel present and enter a state of tranquility. Rather than draw inward, you are asked to focus on your surroundings. Notice the earth: are there any interesting plants or flowers? What about the people you pass? Our worlds are filled with tiny details that are too often ignored, and walking meditation allows us to absorb their simple, profound nature.
I invite you to take advantage of this walking meditation. At thirty minutes long, it asks that you set aside a manageable chunk of time to go outside and wander. As you walk, you'll be asked to notice how the earth feels underneath your feet and encouraged to wish peace on those you pass.
Whether it's in the park, down a road, or through the forest, a walking meditation can leave you feeling grateful and alive. Simply pop in your headphones and stroll.
What do you notice on your walking meditations? Have you tried a walking meditation while chanting with a mantra?
My mom kept urging me to try out a meditation tape, in hopes that it would help ease my anxiety, but I had a preconceived fear that it was going to fail—just like the rest of the coping skills I had tried. I eventually did try it, however, and I still remember the moment I decided. In my quiet bedroom, I turned the meditation DVD on and just listened to the directions while I closed my eyes. The next thing I knew, the man’s voice guided me to open my eyes.
I couldn’t believe the results: I felt calmer and more peaceful than I had in a very long time.
Many people can find a comfortable—if not "traditional"—meditation place that works perfectly for them, whether it be their home, car, or work. Meditation is not governed by a set of rules, but more specifically, a set of beliefs. And no, you do not have to be a pretzel-bending yogi to have a successful and empowering meditation practice.
To keep it realistic, not everyone will have these results immediately. Some people may not even believe that meditation can help you find a peaceful place. From my personal experience, however, I will say that it requires making the practice a habit—not just a one-time thing. Taking up a meditation practice can be daunting, so here are four practical recommendations to help make your meditation practice a successful habit.
1. Start Early
Put on a five minute YouTube video or other recording as soon as you wake up. Your phone is probably sitting right there, so instead of checking Instagram, grab some earbuds and make your way to meditation land. This will help start your day out from a peaceful and grounded place.
2. Set the Mood
Light a candle or some incense. Put on some soothing music. These simple actions will makes you feel somewhat peaceful, and it can certainly set the mood for a meditative state.
3. Let It Flow
Do not worry about having other thoughts, and don't try to empty your mind. It is entirely normal to have many thoughts while you are meditating—that is fine! Do not have a mindset that you are taking nothing from it if you can't slow your thought stream—just allow the thoughts to come in and go as they please. Eventually, with practice, they will settle.
When you've finished meditating, take a long stretch at the end. Stretching your muscles allows you to loosen up and get the blood and breath flowing again. Stretching is a great way to end the practice and start your day. While stretching, bring to mind something that you are grateful for and keep in the back of your mind for the day. Let that thought be your anchor to your meditation, and to your peace.
If your mind is overly active or if you have a hard time focusing and concentrating, you can experiment with chanting a Sanskrit mantra. Mantras are sacred sounds that captivate the mind and make meditation easeful. Mantras also are a great way to set and link your intentions and goals with your meditation practice. You can use a set of meditation mala beads to help you count the mantras in sets of 108.
This is an excellent meditation to follow if you’re stuck in an awareness that’s too overly focused on yourself and your thoughts. You might be feeling stressed, frustrated, confused, or just downright agitated because your state of consciousness is narrow and restricted. Typically, when we’re in a less than a blissful state of being, we’re overly focused on ourselves. Perhaps we’re wholly fixated on a particular drama that’s going on in our lives and going round and round in circles trying to fix it or make it somehow better. If you’re caught up in this kind of mental state, it’s always a good idea to get out of it—remember, you can’t fix a problem from the same level of awareness from which it came.
That said, take a moment to get comfortable and find a meditation seat. Close your eyes and begin to focus your attention solely on the breath. As you breathe deeply, become very still, drawing your focus inward. Now, take a moment to consider what it feels like to be you, experiencing the particular drama or life situation that’s got you “hooked,” as Pema Chodron would say. Whatever it is you’re experiencing in this moment, bring it into your body and into your awareness. How does it feel? You might even want to exaggerate these feelings a bit, to make them big and clear within your state of consciousness. Even if it feels icky and sticky, take a moment to feel into it, with all your senses. Allow yourself to feel totally and entirely constricted by your mind stuff.
Now, bring your attention back to your breath and use your inhalations and exhalations to begin to release all that constricted tension gradually. Just begin to let it all go. As you do this, notice how your body starts to relax. Perhaps your shoulders fall down from your ears, and your face begins to soften. Just allow your body to continue relaxing and releasing the stress and tension that’s there. As you do this, start to notice the environment around you. Notice the space that surrounds your being. In other words, slowly begin to move your awareness outward.
Connect yourself to the room or space in which you’re meditating. Allow your exhalations to lengthen a bit, as you continue to expand your awareness outward, bringing it to the space outside—to the elements of nature around you. Think about the entire continent upon which you’re sitting. Can you bring into your mind’s eye all the living beings going about their daily business, with all their struggles and all their happiness and everything in between?
Continue to expand your awareness outward to the many continents beyond this one. Think about the planet and all its sentient beings. Imagine what it might be like to walk in their shoes for a moment – rather than your own. See if you can connect to all of them, as you continue to breathe deeply. Offer everyone and everything inner peace and unconditional love. Breathe deeply as you offer this love and feel it is given back to you.
I was first attracted to mala beads because I thought they were beautiful and super adorable! After using and wearing mala beads for a while, I found out that they can enable me to adapt to the pressures and stress I had in my everyday life. Seeing how powerful mala beads are, I don't understand how these beads aren't better known. They have the ability to help with prayer, meditation, mindfulness, as well as stress and anxiety relief. From my research and explorations into mala beads I've put together a little guide for where mala beads originated from, how they were initially used and how you can use them into your everyday life today.
What are mala beads?
A Japa mala (also known as mala beads, prayer beads, Buddha beads, Buddhist rosary, mantra beads or yoga beads) alludes to chanting beads utilized in the meditation practices of both Buddhism and Hinduism. Recitations of prayers, mantras and affirmations are tallied bead by bead on a Mala. Buddhist and Hindu malas usually have 108 counting beads, but a mala bracelet will only have 18 or 27 counting beads.
The use of mala beads began over a thousand years prior and was first utilized by Buddhist priests amid their prayer and meditation time. Each series of beads comprises of 108 beads that are separated in 4 areas of 27 beads. You can see that each area of 27 beads is isolated by a bead of an alternate color or type of material. Best of all, you can likewise purchase littler mala beads with just 27 beads on them! These are an awesome thought on the off chance that you are next beginning with meditation or in the event that you need to enable your more youthful kids to start some simple meditation methods. For priests, each bead was utilized to invoke a prayer or to chant a sacred Sanskrit mantra. Today malas can be utilized in the same way using common meditation mantras.
Some of the most common intentions for mala beads are as follows:
Mala beads can be made of any material, however, they are customarily made from Rudraksha, lotus seeds, yak bone, Bodhi seeds, or wood. Semi-precious gemstones are also used in malas, which come with their own healing properties.
Where you can find mala beads?
You can find a wide assortment of mala beads in many different places. Locally, a new age shop or yoga studio might carry them. For online shopping, Amazon is my go-to source for malas. Unfortunately these malas are often cheaply made and break easily.
You can also find an enormous assortment of mala bead creators on Etsy. These are very small shops that have a limited number of designs so it may be frustrating to find what you want.
On the off chance that you yourself are helpful with making, at that point gathering some of these beads and modifying them to your loving is effortlessly done too. Me, I lean toward mine to remain in one piece and maintain a strategic distance from the cussing that joins making when I attempt.
Here is a video on how to make your own mala beads: