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Karma Yoga sustains a higher level of spirituality

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The third in a five-part series on yoga paths

Jessica Sanders and Amal Karl
Kapiti Coast and Auckland, September 17, 2022

Karma yoga is one of the spiritual paths based on “working yoga”.

Karma is an action and a consequence of that action. What we experience today is the result of karma created by previous actions, the concept that you reap what you sow.

All of us tend to act with anticipation of future results.

From a spiritual point of view, our desires can be unsatisfactory and often unattainable, which invariably leads to feelings of disappointment. In our desire to satisfy our own expectations, we create new chains of cause and effect that can eventually weigh us down.

With the help of Karma Yoga, we have the power to break this pattern and open us up to experience more happiness and contentment.

Principles of Karma Yoga

a job: The first principle is a commitment to work for the benefit of others and our community. When we go down this path, we will notice that our relationships with people will become more positive and harmonious.

fortuity: To do an activity without being preoccupied with or obsessed with personal rewards is to perform actions with a neutral attitude towards outcomes. This separation from the results of the procedure will dissolve the seeds of karma.

If the results are as expected, we should try to remain balanced in our emotions, so as not to be too euphoric. On the contrary, if the results are not as expected, we should not feel sad.

Life becomes a celebration through Karma Yoga (Image Source)

As we continue down the path of Karma Yoga, we will find that our desires for what we want to obtain from our world will move from demands to expectations, to preferences, to just wanting to try something new. When this happens, our satisfaction and the joy we experience in life grow.

Meditative awareness: Karma yoga is dynamic meditation yoga and is about performing each task with meditative awareness. Being at work and watching but not responding to distracting thoughts is key here. With this mindset, we can see thought, speech, and movement to be part of the action.

Swadarma: The practice of one’s dharma, which includes one’s unique duties, responsibilities, and goodness based on one’s lifestyle. This is unique because we are all born with our innate traits, nature and abilities – the closer we coordinate our activities in this direction, the happier and more luxurious our lives will be.

poise: Maintaining a balance of mind and emotions in success or failure, praise, criticism, or any other positive or negative life situations is essential to the harmonious conduct of Karma Yoga.

Positive attitude: We can strive to show our positive attitudes and ignore the negative ones. One way to do this is to “count our blessings” or practice gratitude.

If things are difficult, remember that they can be much worse. Adopting pranayama (breathing exercises) can help balance the flow of air between our noses, which helps in adopting a balanced posture.

When air flows through only one nostril, the cerebral hemisphere on the other side is activated, and the hemisphere on the same side is deactivated. Activating the left hemisphere makes us feel optimistic, while activating the right hemisphere makes us feel pessimistic.

We strive for excellence: Whatever we do, we must do our best. As we work our way up in karma yoga, excellence will naturally result as our focus, observation, and expansion of consciousness evolve.

Non-ego state: Realizing that we are not doers, we are not indispensable.

When we instill humility in our actions and reduce our attachments to the ego, a wonderful feeling is revealed – the action flows as if it were propelled by a higher power. One finds that whatever is needed for the job comes our way, and everyone who needs help comes at just the right time. Some call this divine grace.

At first, the practice of Karma Yoga can feel confusing as it combines several concepts of thought and action as mentioned above.

However, even small incremental changes have a ripple effect.

Since the future is not set in stone, it helps to know that we can change the course of our lives the way we exercise our choices, thoughts, and actions today.

Karma yoga based on selfless action is the ultimate stress resistance which enables us to reach a higher level of spirituality. Through Karma Yoga, all life becomes a celebration, becoming one at such a high level with Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.

Karma yoga is a yoga lifestyle – it provides a deeply satisfying way to live every waking moment of our existence.

Jessica Sanders is a physical therapist, herbalist, and yoga teacher (RYT-200). She lives on the Kapiti coast. Amal Karl is Group CEO of FxMed New Zealand, NaturalMeds New Zealand, RN Labs Australia and Director of Other Companies. He lives in Auckland.