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Life Without Sex?

Some ancient texts insist celibacy is a must on the yogic path, but few modern practitioners opt for such an ascetic lifestyle. That raises a sticky question: Can we really have our sex and your yoga too?

By Claudia Cummins

"Every time we get out of a habitual groove, we are training the mind, we are channeling the mind's energy in a more benign manner," he adds. "And that's really the purpose of all these yoga practices: to discipline the mind so that we are not driven by our biological or unconscious nature. We become mindful, and in that way we can attain great self-knowledge and also this wonderful thing we call self-transcendence."

For Lasater, it's not just our actions but also our attitudes behind them that really matter. "I could become a nun and lead a celibate life and still not have clarity about sexuality," she says. "Or I could even run from sexuality by being promiscuous. But what is considered promiscuous to my grandmother and what's promiscuous to my daughter might be completely different things. So it's not the action; it's the clarity.

"Brahmacharya is not an answer; it's a question," Lasater adds. "And the question is, How will I use my sexuality in a way that honors my divinity and the divinity of others?"

Claudia Cummins lives, writes, and teaches yoga from her home in Mansfield, Ohio. To maintain her balance while writing this article, she read both The History of Celibacy and Lady Chatterley's Lover.


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Reader Comments

Freaked

As a happily celibate man, I've always been aware that I was a little unusual, but this article, and the people cited in it, make me out to be a carnival freak. When did yoga and its practitioners become so judgmental?

Ashthangi

Does celibacy refer to refraining from sexual intercourse or all types of sexual activities like masturbation etc?

It's the most beautiful path

Practicing Celibacy has had such a beautiful impact on my life. If you feel the inner knowing that celibacy is for your next step in your journey, you will surely be blessed and fulfilled for your efforts. No words could express what a life of properly practiced celibacy offer. The energy needs to be transmuted rather than suppressed or denied. Channelling the energy upwards through meditation, exercise and/or creative activities such as writing, art and poetry is a powerful way to successful practice of celibacy and receive all it has to offer. Remember to keep a pure mental and physical environment. If temptation comes, get out of the situation immediately and reason about it later. Instead, use the energy in ways mentioned earlier. May you be blessed for your every effort. Enjoy the journey. Believe in yourself and keep on trying.

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