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Refill Your Cup with Self-Care

Too much of a good thing

Are you familiar with the uncomfortable feelings of overindulgence? Whether it be excess eating, working or sleeping, many have felt the pains of overdoing it. In yogic thought, there is a moment in time when we reach the perfect limit of what we are engaged in. Practicing Brahmacharya, the fourth yama of nonexcess, helps one discern this moment of fulfillment before excess.

Brahmacharya teaches to tune into the needs of the body and differentiate between those needs and the stories of the mind. Using food as an example, quite often the body feels full and satisfied, while the mind tells you you “need” that second helping of dessert.

From rising obesity rates, overflowing landfills, to the number of hours spent binge-watching television; it is not difficult to find examples of overindulgence in our society. It is important to note that nonexcess is not about nonenjoyment.

Brahmacharya is actually about enjoyment and pleasure in its fullest experience. While we need nourishment from food to survive and outlets for stress release, it is all too common to partake in excess. Brahmacharya reminds us to enjoy life without going to the extremes of addiction, excess and overindulgence.

I believe mindfulness is a critical tool when it comes to enjoying to the fullest without slipping into overindulgence. Remaining aware of the feelings and sensations in the body in the present moment provides valuable information if we can hone the ability to tune in and respond based on our findings.

I like to use eating as an accessible place to start since the human body requires nourishment from food. If you haven’t tried it before, the mindful raisin exercise heightens awareness to how often we eat while on autopilot, not even tasting our food, let alone listening to cues of satisfaction. After working with the raisin, you may try applying mindfulness to one meal per day, or while having drinks with friends.

During the following few days, I invite you to become conscious of knowing what is enough and stopping there. Practice pleasure without excess.

Next week we will wrap up the journey of the yamas with Aparigraha, nonpossessiveness.