It’s ironic that I’m writing about my weekly karma yoga project and posting about it on social media, because technically it then doesn’t classify as karma yoga anymore. I’ll tell you why. I’ll talk about it and take my chances.
Karma Yoga is one of the 4 main paths of yoga. Karma means action. It is the act of doing a good deed for others and not asking for nor expecting anything in return; no monetary, social, nor any other gain. It should be done in silence and with great love and integrity. * “To drop the doer from the action is karma yoga. To see oneself as a mere tool of the divine and to offer the fruit of our actions to the divine is karma yoga. Karma yoga is an expression of divine love, of the unity of everything that is yoga. Karma yoga means to help, heal, and share.” The International Sivananda Yoga Centre defines karma yoga as ** “the Yoga of Action. It is the path chosen primarily by those of an outgoing nature. It purifies the heart by teaching you to act selflessly, without thought of gain or reward. By detaching yourself from the fruits of your actions and offering them up to God, you learn to sublimate the ego.”
The 4 main paths of yoga are: **“Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Each is suited to a different temperament or approach to life. All the paths lead ultimately to the same destination - to union with Brahman or God - and the lessons of each of them need to be integrated if true wisdom is to be attained.” You may interchangeably use the word “love” or “truth” in place of “Brahman” or “God”. To each their own… and its really however you want to interpret your own yoga.
So, karma yoga happens when you volunteer your time to actively do something good for your community. Doing community service hours for a certain program where you earn points or recognition does not count! Your service must come from the heart and from a place of complete selflessness.
My yoga teacher friend, Nadine and I are doing our karma yoga at a veteran shelter every week. We connect, discuss and practice yoga with the men that live in the shelter. In many ways, it’s more fun and rewarding than teaching my regular classes that I get paid for at a yoga studio. I leave the class feeling lighter, lifted up and ready to conquer the world. The men are so thankful and excited every week we come for class and I think I am just as excited as they are.
Decide what you would do for your karma yoga. Remember, it does not have to have anything to do with the physical practice of yoga. It could be planting trees or picking up garbage off the beach or going to a soup kitchen to feed the homeless. Choose anything that is considered volunteer based. You can make up your own project or join one that already exists. It can even be as simple as helping an elderly person cross the street or as complex as starting your own non-profit. And remember; don’t go blabbing about it on social media like I did J
With much love and light,