Lent Begins: Ash Wednesday, Fasting and Abstinence and Yoga

Today Lent begins for Catholics, but regardless of your Religion or beliefs,self restraint can benefit everyone.

When we abstain and focus on self reflection we learn to appreciate the things we have.  We learn to be present and to live intentionally.

In yoga we practice Bramacharya– moderation in all things.

There are several ways to approach Bramacharya, it’s really about living your life without being ruled by dependence on one thing.  It’s restraint that that gives us freedom.

A few years ago, my husband and I realized that slowly over time we became addicted to having the TV on.  It became a habit.  Come home form work, turn on the TV for company, sit on the couch and zone out in the evenings, we would even fall asleep with the television on.
We decided that we would give up TV just for one day a week during lent.  It was a challenge at first.  We had to hang signs on the TV so we would remember not to turn it on.  As the six weeks past, we read more, we talked more and we had more conversation, we went to bed earlier and slept more.
It was a great idea.  It broke the whole cycle of turning on the TV for no reason.  When lent arrived the next year, we gave up TV  three days a week. Again, we needed some reminders.  And this posed a bit of a struggle when there were several ‘Snow Days.’ At the time I was a field photographer and traveled over our five surrounding counties. The TV had the best closing schedules, but I restrained from using work as an excuse to break my TV fast.  The six weeks went by and we were successful.  We found that during the next year, TV didn’t have a hold on us anymore.  We consciously chose what to watch prior to tuning the set on.  No more randomly flipping through the channels.  By the next time lent rolled around, we hardly noticed the TV.  It would be off for weeks at a time.  The lent season was like making a  New Year’s resolution, it offered the perfect time to change bad habits and develop new ones.

We can all learn something by showing restraint and moderation.

My husband is a meat eater, and he gives up meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent.  This isn’t really a big sacrifice for him, I am a vegetarian and he doesn’t generally eat meat at home.  Giving up Meat on certain days made him take notice of his habits.  It helped him to make a conscious choice at a restaurant and opened him up to new foods he may have not tried if a hamburger was not off limits.

There are so many ways to practice Bramacharya or observe Lent:

  • Give up Food or Drink – alcohol or meat, candy, soda or coffee
  • Stay Home-reduce your social engagements
  • Spend less Money
  • Drive less-ride a bike, walk or carpool
  • Text Less, talk more
  • Refrain from Multitasking
  • Spend less time surfing the web
  • Spend time with the sick or elderly
  • Start a new practice of prayer or meditation

The Church’s official position concerning penance and abstinence from meat during Lent…CLICK HERE

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One Response to “Lent Begins: Ash Wednesday, Fasting and Abstinence and Yoga”

  1. Beware the Ides of March Yoga Themes « 2nd Star To The Right Yoga Blog Says:

    […] History Month…(Celebrate your inner Goddess Post Here) Lent Began on March 9…(Fasting, Abstinence and Yoga Post Here) Yesterday was Pi Day…(Pi day….1/2 Circle Yoga Pose Post Here) […]

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