The Yoga Tutor

The Life Force

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 296 ]

~ Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Translation: On being firmly established in sexual continence, vigour is gained.

In yoga, we consider the sexual energy to be tied to the 'energy of life', or the basic subtle energy of the human being. It is also considered then, that there is a very intimate relation between this sexual energy and one's ability to cultivate the higher mental and moral achievements within the yogic discipline.

Sexual energy can be seen as perhaps a gross form of the more subtle energy known as ojas, or ojas shakti. Certain texts refer to this as "the vitality of the being." It is the primary energy of transformation, the driving force behind self-development.

Every day we use this vitality in minute amounts through our physical and mental efforts. Some activities expend much more than others do. The yogis tell us that sexual indulgence is the greatest thief of this precious vitality.

All humans that have an atypical 'inner force' also have a powerful sexual potential. This phenomenon has been known for a long time and it has been evidenced throughout the ages. Many great kings and leaders, warriors, visionaries, masters of science, artistic geniuses, and influential figures alike have all had an innate understanding of this vital strength and the value that its mystery yields.

Great spiritual persons can take this energy, move it and transform it to accomplish great things. They are adepts at putting the sexual energy to work in a transformative way. Yoga endeavours to harness that very same power for evolutionary ambitions, knowing full-well that it has the ability to enhance our lives profoundly.

Many, however, are living out their existence on such a primitive level that they have become victims of these powerful forces within them, instead of masters of them. The uncontrolled practice of sex leads to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Upon becoming firmly established in brahmacarya, one regains a powerful potential for transformation. But as I.K. Taimni reminds us in his Science of Yoga:

"Brahmacarya is not so much a matter of abstention from the sex act, as (it is) a control of the thoughts so complete that not the slightest stirring of our (primiative) sexual instincts is possible at any time. It is only under such conditions that the grosser energies of the body can be sublimated to serve the higher purposes of the soul."

It is clear that the negative effects received through the status quo (i.e., 'primitive' sexual interaction) have dreadful implications upon one's spiritual, emotional and physical health, and must be avoided. One who has already spent years recklessly losing their energy through sex has an even greater imperative to salvage and rekindle this vitality.

It should also be noted here, if the point remains unclear, that merely being married or in a committed, monogamous relationship has little bearing. A loyal partnership itself does not necessarily imply that one has gained further mastery over their primitive, sensual urges than any other person...


NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

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