Meditation and masturbation… You read me correctly! Two words I’m guessing you don’t read together in a sentence that often, but indulge me for a moment. I want to share with you my latest journey in yoga, which is about both sex (yep!) and me, myself, as an individual.
The term Yoga means ‘Yuk’ or ‘to join’. As tlfw readers and members will know, there are all sorts of way ‘to join’ in life – from sexual relationships to changing jobs to the mind/body unity of yoga. At a more spiritual level, yoga seeks to unite the individual with the universal.
I decided to embark on a challenge, one of self-discovery. From the age of 16 to my current 34 years I have gone from relationship to relationship. I have lived with four partners and three of these I have been with for approximately 4.5yrs (it seems as if this is my itch). For the past two years I have noticed an unhealthy pattern emerging and I didn’t need a therapist to tell me to change. I decided to start a sex sabbatical in the hope of breaking my pattern and finding mySELF.
Abstaining from sex isn’t something new when it comes to Yoga. There is the myth that Ashtanga Yoga was actually created for pre-pubescent boys in India to give them something to do (with their…ahem hands?!). And then we have the ten ethical guidelines of Yoga tradition – the foundations of yogic thought. They consist of the Yamas and Niyamas. In Yogic theory, these provide us with the toolkit for creating a successful life. The tools provided help us with thought, attitude and action. The Yamas are the restraints (or ‘don’ts) and the Niyamas are the Observations (the dos). The third Yama is Bramacharya meaning moderation of things. This refers to controlling the senses and includes celibacy or suppression of our natural sexual instincts…Eek! Fret not, we do not have to live like nuns or monks to be into Yoga (yah!)… And actually suppression is not recommended as anything suppressed will boil to the surface at some point and be released when opportunity presents. Therefore the proper way to practice Brahmacharya is to use your urges and channel them elsewhere…meditation, pranayama, asanas, reading etc. There are also guidelines for people to practice Brahmacharya within their personal relationships and that is simply moderation (phew!). So in my case, the moderation was with my Self. By conserving my energy by restraining from a sexual relationship with another my spiritual energy (Ojas and Tejas) should be flowing by November!
It is beyond all doubt that a life of Brahmacharya is glorious and marvelous. At the same time, a life of moderation in the household life is equally good and helpful for spiritual growth. Both have their own advantages. You must have great strength to tread the path either way. – Swami Sivananda
My goal was three months and August and September have come and gone and we are now in October. My ‘Man-tox’ is almost complete. I am getting through it…meditation and masturbation is the key (and deleting numbers from my mobile). A fellow compadre from The League of Fabulous Women assured me three months is nothing and suggested to try her two years…I almost spat my Yogi Tea out at this thought!
Learning to meditate is hard. My mind is busy. Whilst doing my Yoga teacher training we would meditate at the start of the day with Mala Beads. Being forced to meditate is not how you should go about it. Some people like guided meditation but I prefer to meditate in my own way and in my own time. This can be simply done whilst going for a walk, a run or doing the dishes. You don’t need to sit cross-legged on a sheep skin rug with a statue of Ganesh to look at. Choose your own meditation path.
Meditation is mental training,controlling your own thoughts, instead of letting them control you. You need to have discipline. Scientists say that meditation is a positive thing and can actually change your brain and body in very positive ways. It can lower your blood pressure, boost your memory and strengthen our empathy.
In my Yoga classes we start the class in Savasana and I explain to my students the purpose and try to guide them to clear their mind trickier than one might think! All the little voices keep creeping in telling you what is happening later that day or the week ahead, what you are going to eat, thoughts of work or focusing on your pants riding up your crotch. I find it helps to repeat a mantra along with the inhale and exhale of the breath or focus on the third eye. There is an old Zen saying ‘You should sit in twenty minutes meditation a day, unless you are too busy and then you should sit for an hour’. The person who said this obviously didn’t live with two dogs, have a full time job and a second job teaching Yoga!
Although I haven’t completed my three month stint (yet) my mind is a lot clearer and I am focused. I do believe the fast and meditation have worked. I would like to create a union with someone – connecting our minds, bodies and our breath. However, I am in no rush. As Charlie Chaplin said “Your naked body should only belong to those who fall in love with your naked soul”. I now say “simple things will come first like flowers before condoms”.
Want to discuss sex and relationships? If you have a dilemma you would like to share and get some support with don’t forget we have a forum thread for dating and relationships.