2.8.15

Seva Yoga in Kathmandu

Selfless service (seva also sewa) is an important concept in yogi traditions.Service others with humbleness is considered an essential devotional practice to indirectly serving the energy field around us.

"Living creatures are nourished by food, and food is nourished by rain; rain itself is the water
of life, which comes from selfless worship and service."  Bhagavad Gita 3.14


Most eastern spiritual practices have an embedded concept of "serving others" and this is no exception to Yoga. What is known as Karma Yoga is an expression of exactly that: serve others with what the exchange of energy puts forward into each other karma.
Photo credits to Julian Bound - Photogaphy



The pivotal concept embedded in all these philosophies is "karma".  Karma is a wheel of cause and effect, a fundamental perspective that sees all actions as deeds, or seeds, as a progressing path towards a better life in the next cycle of reincarnation. A spiral of words, thoughts, actions and exchanges with others, in physical or non -physical form which plays up like a credit of good deeds for reincarnation into a better person. Various schools of Buddhism have different views on whether this condition, based on a sort of "scale of merit",  is achievable in this life, this incarnation, or whether it is only a good wish for a future life. What is essential here is not so much the where and when, rather the whole outlook on this incarnation, this present physical form, this life, as being just part of a cycle. A temporary presence part of a spiral ultimately leading to becoming an enlightened being.  It also operates as a credit platform. There is no way of going backwards, what changes between individuals is the speed at which the good karma is accumulated and the residual credit from all past lives. This is a rather simplified form of explanaiton of Karma, though it expresses its essential process. 



From this perspective, Karma Yoga represents then a set of actions and an indication of how to overcome ego in all activities, ways of thinking and interactions. Karma Yoga is a practice aiming at perfection in action where selflessness allows for connecting services to others with action for the self and bring a state of lightness with flow of life; take no credit in action. Karma Yoga is one of the three (3) schools amongst the Bhawna Schools of Yoga - with Bhawna meaning Emotions - suggesting that together with   Jnana Yoga (based on Knowledge, research and inquiring about existence) and  Bhakti Yoga (based on Participation and Devotion).  Karma yoga means offering your time and energy to serve others with your skills.  In a traditional Indian ashram it would perhaps mean, waking up an hour earlier and be responsible for cleaning the Yoga Shala hall before class, or devoting some of the resting time to help in the kitchen for community meals. There are many examples. 

Travelling to Nepal three (3) months after the Earthquake and after completing 500hrs Yoga Teacher Training, the simplest activity I could offer is to  play yoga with a group of teenagers at ROPKA International - Street Children Home. The interactions are genuine, playful, and like anywhere in the world when playing with youth there is an abundance of authenticity. The substantial difference here, as most of them have lived in the Home for several years, they are used to live in simple ways, there is a tacit energy there that all that comes their way is taken with heartfelt gratitude. This is invaluable and distinguish itself from classes I held with other kids.

Namaste everyone !