Theme of the month – Karma Yoga- Just Be a Good Human.
“The meaning of Karma is in the intention. The intention behind action is what matters. Those who are motivated only by desire for the fruits of action are miserable, for they are constantly anxious about the results of what they do.” -The Bhagavad Gita
There are a million ways to practice Karma yoga in our everyday lives, from menial housework tasks to going to work or volunteering. Every single action, every single day can be Karma yoga. It’s all in the motive, you see. Do something because it needs to be done and because you are in a position to do so, do it to the best of your ability, give it your full attention (yes, even when that thing is doing the dishes) Oh, and don’t stress the outcome…
When I first started to teach yoga, I felt icky about taking money for teaching. I just wanted to teach for free, because, well, Karma yoga says to do good and let go of outcomes. There was also a bit of a self-worth thing going on but that’s another story. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to volunteer your time and services for free, but hey, a girl’s still gotta eat and kindness doesn’t cover the mortgage. After a lot of internal debate on this topic, I made the decision that it is actually completely ok to be paid for your work, including teaching yoga, but I accepted this concept with a few self-imposed conditions.
1- I’m not teaching yoga simply as a way to earn money. For me, teaching yoga is a way to serve and to share what I love, it will never be ‘just a job’ or solely about earning money.
2- I do good things wherever I can- for example donating some of my earnings to emergency appeals or giving to local foodbanks and charities.
This isn’t in any way supposed to be a post about what a good human I am, please don’t take me telling you this in the wrong way, I do these things quietly and privately, not for reward but because I am able to. That’s what karma yoga is, doing what you can, because you can, and for no other reason.
Karma yoga is not about helping others at all costs, people pleasing or making sacrifices. You certainly don’t need to be a hero. It also isn’t “an eye for an eye.” It’s not “do good things and be rewarded, do bad things and it’ll come back to you as bad things.” Karma yoga is simply seeing that we are all connected, and treating everyone with the kindness and respect that you would like to receive. It is helping where you can, speaking up and taking action when you need to, because you can, not because of what might come your way as a reward.
And so the theme of the month at the studio is all about karma yoga…so what can you expect? Maybe some teachers will chat about the concept of karma yoga, share some readings from The Gita or other sacred texts. You may also hear teachers talk about the causes they are passionate about, because after all at the very root of yoga is radical activism! But maybe that’s a blog post for another time.
So in a nutshell, Karma yoga is about being a good human being. So if in doubt, let’s do that! See you on the mat everyone.
Love, Emma x
Thank you for your comments about karma yoga, very interesting and thought provoking.