With Diwali having just gone and Christmas just around the corner, this year as every other year is drawing to a close with a lot of buying, spending, giving and expectations!
Having just returned from time with family for Diwali, (the Indian festival of lights, beautiful bright shining lights), I was reflecting on how much emotion and effort goes into, not just the celebration but also the anticipation of what you are going to receive and how your gifts are going to be received. This lead me to think about Karma Yoga and its role in our society today!
Karma Yoga is the yoga of selfless action. Its roots originate from the ‘Mahabharata’ when Arjuna is in battle with the Kauravas; his cousins who are being led by his guru, Bhishma Pitamaha. Arjuna goes through remorse and sorrow regarding the imminent battle involving his family and friends on both sides. Arjuna does not want to go into battle and Krishna advises him, to do his duty and surrender the results of all his actions to the supreme being (Krishna himself) rather than surrendering the action itself.
That was in the mythological era. In today’s day and age, a renowned yogi has explained Karma Yoga beautifully. He says if you put great effort in your activity, that activity is just Karma, if you do it joyfully without expectations then it becomes Karma Yoga! He further explains that with the various activities we perform in everyday life, we create impressions and get entangled in the process of life. Some even believe that these impressions are not just part of this life but also of our previous lives, our ‘Karmas’. We get bogged down and involved in the whole process of action and reaction. With the approach of Karma Yoga then, these impressions or entanglements can slowly be dismantled. Karma Yoga is not just service, its true meaning comes to us when we try and use it in our every day life, every act we do.
Now reading and writing about Karma Yoga is the easiest step. Trying to practice it in everyday life however, is a completely different ball game. There are many approaches to this. Making Yoga a part of one’s lifestyle will help in disciplining the mind. One can start by doing a service to someone who needs it most. In every day life, we can try and do our duties selflessly without expecting any form of reward. Our duties as mother, brother, husband, wife, child, whatever role we play in our family and even in society. Some Gurus say chanting a ‘mantra’ whilst doing a task helps focus on just the task and not the result of the task. It is not the type of activity that defines what Karma Yoga is, it is how you are performing the activity that makes the difference and that is liberating!
Diwali has come and gone, Christmas is at our door step, but do we really need a festival to give or do a good deed. I saw a beautiful post on Facebook just today. It was a Christmas advent calendar with random acts of kindness each day leading up to Christmas! What a superb idea! then I thought to myself, why wait till Christmas, I can start today! Maybe we can all do the same, just do an act of kindness however small, wherever you can make a difference. Say hello to a stranger, help someone cross the road, pay for someone’s coffee, whatever you come up with, do it just because its an act of kindness without expecting the person or the action to give you anything back and see how that feels!
At Total Yoga, in our endeavour, we teach yoga to the less priviledged women, at the Vidya Foundation, Bangalore. Total Yoga teacher, Sima, says about teaching at Vidya: “I feel ‘real life’ when I teach at Vidya and the true sense of Yoga during each section of the yoga class. The giggles and laughter of the ladies when they practice is their few moments of liberation”
Total Yoga teacher Deepika teaches yoga to children at Cheshire homes, Bangalore and she says “Teaching at Cheshire homes is a Treat! Everytime I go there, there is so much enthusiasm in the children, it is contagious. There is a lot that we learn from them. Even though they cannot voice their excitement on doing an asana, their eyes and laughter says it all. I become a kid when I am with them. Its a humbling experience”
We also collect clean used clothes, shoes and any other items for charitable/NGO organisations.
If you have details of any organisations that we can teach in or want to donate clean used items, please contact us.
Total Yoga is a balanced style of Yoga that focuses on Fitness training and Mindfulness practice equally.