To me, yoga was something physical, how people used their bodies to help center their minds. I never paid much attention to the non-physical aspects of yoga. In fact, I didn’t even understand what they were until fairly recently.
Then, I realized I was becoming a yogi, even though I don’t strike poses. I say “becoming” because it’s a practice, and I’m not sure I’ll ever get proficient. All I can do is practice it.
And can I practice yoga without posing?
Let me introduce you to karma yoga: the yoga of action. Stepping off the mat (or not even on to it) and serving the world around us. Doing something greater than ourselves to help unite us with the Divine. With universal consciousness.
Karma yoga is purifying the heart by providing selfless service to others. Without expectation.
I thought I was just doing random acts of kindness. But really, I’ve been practicing karma yoga for a long time. Kindness can definitely be part of it, but there’s more.
A big part is to act for others without expectation — and that can be hard for us humans. I know it can be hard for me. It means giving without judging how the gift is used, acting from pure intentions and letting go of outcome. It’s giving back for no reason except the giving.
Some friends travel the globe helping people in undeveloped nations in many ways. That’s a karma yoga practice. Others do volunteer work with animals or people. That’s also karma yoga.
Anytime you serve without expectation, you’re practicing karma yoga.
This year, I’d like to continue my own practice of karma yoga and maybe even expand it in new directions. I’d like to make it even more a way of life.
How about you?
Speaking of karma yoga, see our healing gifts, here. Definitely karma yoga.