◀ All Blog Posts

Brahmacharya & Self-Care by Julie Parvati Hillman

By Santosha Yoga

SUN DEC 12, 2021

Brahmacharya is about moderation. And with the holiday parties and gatherings, there are not many other times that this would be so difficult to practice. We are bound to over-indulge at least once during the season, whether it is food, beverage, or staying up too late. To practice Brahmacharya as self-care we can follow simple tips.

  1. Don’t stuff yourself at the holiday dinner. Use smaller plates and try to limit conversation while you eat so that you can be thoroughly present for your meal. When we are distracted, we tend to eat more. You can also have a small snack before the gathering to keep yourself from feeling famished.
  2. Limit alcohol. Try drinking a glass of water between alcoholic beverages. To feel extra fancy, drink sparkling water from a champagne flute.
  3. Be time aware. It’s a party and you’re going to stay out late; but when you start to feel sleepy, head home. It’s your body’s way of saying “I’m done.” Driving home tired is not fun, or safe. Plus, when we are tired we are more likely to eat and drink more.
  4. Limit moderation. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but being super strict with yourself – especially during the holidays – is not fun. We all have known someone who adheres to a firm regimen, with no room for flexibility (maybe that person is you?). As one of my teachers once said, the practice of moderation includes being moderate of moderation itself. So, lighten up and have some fun!

And don’t be hard on yourself if you “overdo” it. Treat it like you would your yoga practice. Observe what’s happening in the body, be present to sensations – including the sensations that show up in the form of thoughts. Notice what happens in the body when you stay up too late, eat too much, or drink too much; and use this information to guide your future choices. Brahmacharya doesn’t teach us to not do these things; it teaches us to enjoy our lives without going too far on either side of the midline, and it teaches us to observe what happens when we do.

So, enjoy that dinner party. Have that glass of wine. Eat the cake. Dance and laugh and enjoy! All with moderation, of course.

Would you like to read more about the Yamas and Niyamas? You can find more of Parvati’s wisdom in her book, Becoming Parvati: A Modern Exploration of the Yamas & Niyamas.