What is Karma Yoga?
The word “Karma” means action, so Karma Yoga is the Yoga of Action or duty.
Karma yoga was first outlined in the Bhagavad Gita, where the text highlights the importance of selfless action, in which service is offered from the heart, with full attention and awareness, and without any attachment to the outcome. Karma yoga teaches us that the pleasure is in the doing, rather than the end result. Through karma yoga we learn kindness and compassion without an expectation of gain. This practice is believed to aid us in purifying the mind, dissolving our ego and freeing us to move one step further on the path to oneness and enlightenment.
Karma yoga invites us to do our duties at our best, without any involvement of ego or attachment. Attachment to the outcome of our actions is said to bring suffering, particularly when something is expected in return.
When we become involved in the outcome or consequences of an action, we bind ourselves to the wheel of karma. Practicing Karma Yoga helps us to diminish the ego and dissolve any sense of separation between self and other. Karma Yoga connects us to something bigger than ourselves, to the divine, and brings us back to the philosophy of union. Union of the mind, body and soul. Union of the self with the divine. The concept of oneness, of each individual being a part of a universal consciousness.
3 Steps To Begin Practicing Karma Yoga
To practice karma yoga in your daily life, try these simple steps:
1. Make a list of all duties/roles you have in your life. There might be some roles in it which you don’t like to fulfil but you must think and write all the roles you have.
2. Prioritise these as per their importance and understand the importance of your role in them.
3.Start to fulfil them on daily basis.
5 Tips For Karma Yoga Practice:
1. Self-Service - Be The Change
If you want to change the world, begin with yourself. Do daily tasks with full awareness and you'll find ways and means to change the way you live. Even if you are doing household chores or job-related tasks, take on the journey to nourish and nurture yourself. When you live your life with awareness, you carve a path to nourish the universe that in turn nourishes you. If you are not healthy in mind and body, you will not have the capacity to truly help others.
2. Nature Lovers - Enviromentalism
Taking care of and respecting nature that surrounds us should be taken into consideration. We are one with nature and it is our duty to protect and conserve it. The smallest of actions, such as closing the tap while brushing our teeth, can be significant in conserving water for example. Respect nature and pay gratitude for how we are sustained by nature every single day of our lives.
3. A human, being - Make a contribution
This isn't limited to monetary contribution or volunteering our time, though those things are great. We can also contribute by being a listener or just being there for someone in need, sharing someone’s happiness or celebrating their success.
Help an injured stray animal, pick up litter from a park or beach, help someone struggling with their heavy bags, offer your seat to someone who might need it more. There are so many ways to being a human that benefits the world around us.
4. Duties and Tasks - Active Meditation
When we meditate, we are only focused on the action of meditation. We remove all sorts of distractions to calm our minds. In a similar manner, if you are performing a task, immerse your mind into it. For example when cooking a meal, do not start make plans for the coming day, thinking about a past incident, or imagine the praise of your cooking. Just be present in the moment and enjoy the process of cooking itself.
Building this habit makes it easier to be detached from
the results of our duties.
5. Be Authentic and Genuine
Bring your authentic self to the table. It’s easier said than done and, at times, painful. Many of us are scared to live our true nature for fear of not fitting in, being taken advantage of, or ridiculed. By living our true nature and not faking what society demands, we raise the bar of the collective world consciousness.
Karma Yoga teaches us that all actions, even the most mundane, can become part of one's spiritual path. It is considered the attitude to the action, rather than the action itself, which makes something karma yoga. Practicing karma yoga involves fully accepting our dharma (duty in life) in order to let go of selfish desires. Those naturally drawn to the path of karma yoga may find themselves in professions in which they can care for others and the planet. The path of Karma Yoga purifies the heart and mind, and ultimately leads to spiritual liberation. An ancient practice that uses the law of karma to guide us to being a better person and make the entire world a happier and kinder place!