Karma Yoga: Acting Out of Love

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by Juan Villegas, E-RYT® 500

The Fruits of Your Actions

The principle of karma has been embodied in many ways. The movie Back To The Future II had a deep impact on me as a child. Firstly, I grew up believing that the release of Hover-boards was just around the corner, and secondly that our smallest actions have repercussions that are invisible. The movie demonstrates the Butterfly Effect, the theory that the flap of the wings of a butterfly can cause the formation of a hurricane.

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The greater task we face as yoga practitioners is how to find these connections off the mat, to not become reliant on asana practice to be connected to ourselves, but to use the tools we develop in class to further enhance our lives and allow us to live fully connected.

In yoga we call this idea Karma, the fruits of our actions. It is a yoga that can be practiced in every moment of your day. Our modern culture makes is difficult for us to sometimes see the ripples of our actions. A comment online can feel anonymous when we’re not present to witness its effects, and similarly our interactions with those in our community with may seem insignificant but go beyond our sight. In The Yoga Tradition Georg Feuerstein states that it is “the art and science of “karmically” aware and responsible action and intention”.

Asana practice and meditation help us develop perspective so we are less reactive in our actions and able to act responsibly. Knowing that every action generates a reaction can help us be socially and environmentally thoughtful in our interactions. The notion that every action generates karma could make a person afraid to do anything, leaning towards inaction. Karma Yoga has a solution for this and asks us to perform action selflessly, not to be attached to the outcome. If you act out of love, understanding the vast interconnectedness of life then you do not need to fear what ripples you generate. The moments in our lives when we act out of love with no thought of the return are the most nourishing.

How does Karma yoga show itself in our teaching? Karma yoga is rooted in our desire to share our passion with others. Teaching without worry of being liked but of sharing the healing gift that is yoga. Acting out of love for others takes care of the rest.

Gandhi is a modern example of a karma yogi, and his words “be the change you want to see in the world” perfectly embody the idea of Karma Yoga. Act in the world, your community and family with love and allow the rest to unfold.

Have you noticed the karma of your actions today?

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