KARMA YOGA by ELIZABETH ANANDA
WHAT IS KARMA YOGA AND WHY YOU NEED IT IN 2015
Taking some time to set my intentions for 2015, one thing that clearly dominates my wish list for next year is more Karma Yoga. At this point you may ask, what is Karma Yoga and what ‘do I eat it with?’.
Karma Yoga is an action in which you are not seeking for joy. It is an action in which you are already joyful and seeking to do your best to extend that joy to others. Karma Yoga is an outflow of your true being, which is celebration, perfection and caring about others. Whatever roles you have in life, be that of a teacher, student, friend, mother, doctor, engineer, etc., you always have two choices: you can play your role mediocre or you can try to be the best version of you in all the areas of your life, going that extra mile to make this world a better place.
It all starts with small things. Let me give you an example: my gym has two Zumba teachers. The first teacher clearly doesn’t care about the group that much and it seems that she is leading the class just because she is getting paid. She is doing Akarma Yoga. The other teacher, on the other hand, clearly cares about her group and does everything to make sure we really enjoy ourselves. Even though we all have good and bad days, the second Zumba teacher always motivates us, makes us laugh and sweats with us. I don’t know what is happening in her life the moment she leaves the gym, but as soon as the class starts, she gives her 100% to us.
The notion of Karma Yoga is closely related to ‘Seva’, a Sanskrit word which means serving the society or volunteering. It is doing something without expecting anything in return. Here are 5 reasons why serving others is cool, as outlined by my Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
#1 It is an antidote to depression: Sri Sri says that the recipe to get depressed fast is to sit and only think about yourself, repeating ‘what about me?’, whereas volunteering allows you to transcend yourself and your problems. By giving joy to others, you inevitably become happier and life gets a purpose.
#2 It allows you to discover your talents and learn new skills
#3 Builds up character: a boost in discipline, strength & confidence guaranteed!
#4 Being in the position to give allows you to understand how blessed and fortunate you are
#5 Allows you to live with purpose and joy and makes you feel more alive!
And this is my favorite part: serving others can be so much fun and such a creative thing to do! The beauty about serving others and the spiritual path is that the Universe doesn’t ask you to be someone else to make things on this planet better, the world just needs more of You and Your authentic truth. Here are my 3 favorite examples of Karma Yoga/Seva that prove that it can be sexy, cool, and F-U-N!
#1 My Zumba teacher organizes an annual Zumba masterclass in which women shake that booty and all the stress away, plus by doing so they are raising money to support a local orphanage. Bringing sexy back with a positive impact!!!
#2 My hairdresser who is an inspiring young lady with countless piercings and tattoos once a year goes to an orphanage with her team and make sure that the kids get the latest haircuts. They also do things like manicure for girls so they feel like little princesses. It is very touching and kids in the orphanage are loving it!
#3 My friend who is a psychologist and a member of an electronic band has a very unique hip-hop recording studio. It works like this: he reaches out to teenagers in the social risk group and invites them to make their very own hip-hop record in his studio, if they agree to have a psychological consultation. The end result: everybody wins, as making music gives confidence to the youngsters while the consultations help them deal with emotional turmoil and any challenges they may be facing in their lives.
Conclusions? Let us get creative and do something amazing for ourselves and others in 2015!!!