Maybe you’ve noticed that some yogis wear a lot of white clothes, and there is a good reason why. Yoga is about raising your consciousness, which means you become more receptive and aware of things that you didn’t notice before. More and more of what- and how you do things become a conscious act, instead of a compulsive one. There is a change where your yoga- practice shifts from being something you do on the mat, to the very way you live your life. The things we do, we do it because we want to function at the best possible way. For instance, if your concern is only about surviving, then you can eat just about anything, but if you want to function the best possible way, you will eat only what is best for you. For a yogi, this is essential, because you want to live a full-fledged life!
So why does it matter what colours the clothes are? As you may already know, white light contains the whole spectrum of colours. If you use a prism, you can split a beam of light into the colours of the rainbow.(see illustration) Every colour has its own wavelength, and depending on the surface it hits, some of the wavelengths are absorbed, while others are reflected. So when you look at a red rose, the only reason why we perceive it as red, is because it absorbs everything but the colour red. Red is reflected, and so that is why it looks red. So when something looks white, it means it reflects all light. Same goes for energies. For a yogi its important to have integrity in your own energy. You don’t want your energies to be disturbed by your surroundings. So for yogis who want to live a relatively normal life within society, they use white clothes as a way of protecting the integrity of their energy. We don’t want to absorb everyones energies, so we’re very careful about wearing black for instance, which absorb everything and reflects nothing.
With that said, please do not take my word for it. Experiment for yourself and see.
Brahmacharya is the fourth yama in the 8 limbs of yoga. It means ‘right use of energy’, and often translated to celibacy. It actually translate to ‘behaviour that leads to brahman’ which in other words mean behaviour that leads to a higher power/the divine/god.
The second book of the Yoga Sutras, sutra no. 38 states:
“By one established in continence, visor is gained”
Brahmacharya means ‘the way to the Divine’. We are all looking for happiness and joy, whether it is consciously or unconsciously. When we do not find it, we often settle for pleasure. Pleasure can be beautiful but is very limited. The deeper we go into pleasure, the deeper we attach ourselves to it. If the thing or person you have attached yourself to is taken from you, you will be crushed. When we live in this way, our existence becomes one of great attachments, which creates a lot of suffering. When one practices brahmacharya, it means that we are not setteling with pleasure, but rather want to find the source of inner happiness.
In brahamacharya, it is the sexual temptations that are most talked about. Maybe it’s because they are the hardest temptations to resist, or maybe it’s because it’s the biggest pitfall. Many people associate brahmacharya with celibacy, but it is mainly about having self-discipline to resist pleasure because one has a desire to achieve something greater.
Brahmacharya challenges us to make more conscious choices and to be more present in what we do and why we do it.
The reason why sex can be a big pitfall is because here one will be very deeply involved and therefore it creates very large amounts of karma. By conserving our sexual energy, we also preserve not only physical energy, but also mental, moral, intellectual and spiritual energy. When this energy is preserved, it is transformed into a subtle energy (ojas), which tones the whole personality, builds nerves, improves brain power and calms the mind. This energy again is what becomes our glow or aura.