The Yoga Tutor

Sexual Continence

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 299 ]

The yogis consider the complete refraining from any and all sexual activity a necessity for higher states of consciousness. It is through various yogic techniques that one endeavours to channel or conduct the sexual potential, transforming it gradually into other forms of energy such as vitality, inner dynamism, pure love, mental force, etc. This is all accomplished without any sexual or erotic experience.

But as was also pointed out, sexual abstinence alone may solve anything. There are many reasons why someone may not have sex, and certainly not all of them are healthy. For this reason, simply refraining from the sex act doesn't mean that one has in any way gained some powerful spiritual benefit. Stopping the loss of this powerful energy, via uncontrolled sexual activity, is indeed the crucial first step. However, the next is learning what to do with that energy -- how to transform it and to make it work for you in a positive way.

Therefore, brahmacarya must be done actively. One must engage in yoga and use (transform) this energy for higher purposes. This is the yogic path.

Sexual abstinence is a common notion in the spiritual/religious world. The religious Fathers perhaps understood the importance of not having desire-driven sex (or of conserving the sexual energy), but maybe they did not know how to explain it to people. As a result, all sorts of dogmatic restrictions against it were created (such as "it is a sin", etc).

Though these "little white lies" were intended to save the masses the pain and suffering that would be caused by engaging in destructive sexual behaviour, the lack of logical explanations (and hence proper understanding) of the reasons for this restrictive behaviour often served to create an environment of oppression.

Sexual repression, of course, leads to all sorts of trouble, and there has been no shortage of newsworthy episodes to re-enforce that fact -- from assaults to all sorts of deviant behaviours. But problems from sexual repression manifest on a much larger scale than what is visible on the front pages of the newspapers. It has, in the most insidious of ways, lead to domestic abuse, disharmony and dysfunction, to some degree or another, in nearly every corner of every home in America today (and most everywhere else on the planet as well).

And repression ultimately leads to rebellion... Enter the second age of ignorance -- the 'sexual revolution'. If oppressive religious dogma stifled generations of creative potential, the age of "sexual freedom" is quickly extinguishing the remaining fires of that potential.

New generations have grown up with an arrogant ignorance of sex and sexuality -- smugly regarding sex as merely a personal possession and an individual's own right of pleasure.

Although the major battles of this sexual revolution are long over in the West, the fallout continues to rain torrentially out of control. This sexual freedom has done more than anything else has throughout the ages to push people off the spiritual path and bind them further to a life that is controlled by primitive, sensual yearnings. What a bogus 'freedom' it is indeed!

We now live in an environment where both of these influences (religious oppression, and pseudo-sexual freedom) are in constant battle for superiority. But does the sensible person seek the lesser of two evils? Or does she/he strive for deeper understanding and wiser choices?

As an aspiring yogi, one must indeed rise above mundane attitudes and strive for purity and greater understanding. Preservation and transmutation of the sexual potential within the being is of utmost importance on the spiritual path. It is precisely this sexual energy, transformed, which allowed the Buddha to sit under the bodhi tree for so long on his way to ultimate realization; and it is this same energy that allows all great spiritual practitioners to perform their meditations and other spiritual practices...

“…. a hero (is one) who can accomplish voluntarily what is demanded by repression.”
~ Carl Gustav Jung


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.

"The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of

leather binding and an honored place in the
finest libraries in the world 
... It is indeed a masterful work."


Dr. John Michael Christian


Learn More About
The Science of Yoga Course

Yoga Affiliate Program
Free Yoga Lessons
Get Your Free Copy
Yoga in India
The Yoga Masters Course