Karma Yoga is often overlooked by all of us. In most Hatha Yoga teacher training programs, we tend to highlight it, but move on toward the concepts of physical mastery. Yet, physical mastery alone does not deliver complete happiness. In fact, happiness occurs when our Yoga practice becomes part of our life off the mat.
We know that Karma Yoga is mentioned within the Bhagavad-Gita and the Ishavasya Upanishad, but many students outside of India are barely familiar with it. If you ask a class full of students about the meaning of Karma Yoga, you would be lucky to get an answer.
Karma Yoga is often translated as, "selfless service," such as charity work or giving to others with time or money. Karma means "action or work," so it requires effort. Yoga means many things. Most often, we hear Yoga means: Union, Unity, or a Tranquil State of Mind.
Yet, Karma is often referred to as negative. Bad luck is bad karma, but good fortune is often thought of as an internal effort within our control, which occurred because of our effort. The law of Karma is complex, but easy to understand. Our actions will have a negative or positive result.
An easy way to test this theory is to observe and experiment in the laboratory of daily life. How many people wait for someone else to greet them first? Then they feel lonely, unhappy, and depressed because nobody says hello to them. This is "karma in practice."
Now, if the same person were to greet everyone one they meet, by waving, bowing, or shaking hands, with a smile - all of the energy created would be positive. The result of taking the initiative, with a friendly greeting, will be a state of happiness.
To go further, listening to others also makes them happy. How many people really listen to each other? The act of empathic listening costs us nothing, but it makes everyone happy when we listen. All that is required is to give a little time to someone else.
As we go through our daily routine of work and socializing with others, we cause small changes with our attitude toward others. When we are kind, charitable, and sociable, most people will naturally respond in the same manner.
There is no need to wait for someone else to be friendly first. By taking positive action, we are setting the wheels of karma in motion, and the end result is our own happiness.
Copyright 2008 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/member-offer.html