There are hundreds of paths to become happy, to attain peace or awaken psychic powers, but the simplest of all is the path of seva, selfless service.
--Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Karma Yoga is the yoga of action. It is characterized by selfless service. We at Wise Heart believe that our devotional practices must include an element of service to others. Satyananda yoga tradition affirms this belief. Here is advice on performing karma yoga from the book Sannyasa Darshan: a Treatise on Traditional and Contemporary Sannyasa by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati:
Karma Yoga: Selfless service is an integral part of your sadhana. Work out how much time you can devote to it each day or week. There are plenty of choices available, depending on your inclination and capability. Some of these include: teaching yoga; helping to organize yoga conventions, seminars and camps; writing books and articles on spiritual topics; it is also possible to perform different types of social service. For example, you can help out at adult education programs in your area. You can serve at hospitals and help the patients to learn some basic yoga postures, breathing and relaxation techniques. You can help the old and destitute. You can help in volunteer service during natural calamities such as flood, drought, earthquake, fire, and so on. While performing social service, do not think of yourself as the doer, but as the tool through which guru or God is working.
If you do every act mindfully and consciously, it becomes karma yoga. It is karma when you act mechanically. A karma yogi is aware that he or she is doing a particular action; this is karma yoga. When you act without mindfulness, your actions are karmic. Through the practice of karma yoga you will develop the attitude of detachment and not be affected by external influences. When you complete the work with detachment you feel peaceful. Karma yoga is the best method for developing detachment. Every thought, word, and action should be accompanied by perfect awareness. If you practice awareness, the quality of detachment will develop in you in no time. Success and failure, victory and defeat, pain and pleasure will not have any effect on your mind.
Our past Karma Yoga projects include:
- preparing and serving dinner at Sarah's Hope emergency shelter for women and children
- providing holiday gifts to families at Sarah's Hope
- making blankets for the Linus Project and for young women in the military stationed in Afghanistan
- raising money to help support the work of the Satyananda ashram at Rikhia with local children
Our current projects:
- Continuing our funding of the Satyananda ashram's work
- Making feminine hygiene kits for the Days for Girls project
- Organizing a Salute the Sun Wisely day in the spring to support the White Aisle Foundation's work in promoting melanoma awareness and research
- Participating in the Adopt-a-Family program at the Cathedral of Mary our Queen to provide a holiday meal and gifts to a family in one of the poorest areas of our city
Help support our projects:
If you can't be with us to participate in our Karma Yoga projects, consider helping to support them financially with a tax-deductible contribution:
Coordinator: Mollie Lange