Karma is our actions. Its what we do, not what we get back. Our actions are the roots from which karma grows. What we ultimately receive is simply a response to the things we did, or didn’t, do.
Karma yoga is one of the four main paths of yoga (the others are Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga — more on those later). It is defined as the Yoga of Action. “It purifies the heart by teaching you to act selflessly, without thought of gain or reward. By detaching yourself from the fruits of your actions and offering them up to God, you learn to sublimate the ego.”
Karma yoga is the practice of transforming everything you do into selfless service. There are many ways to serve. Helping at homeless centres or soup kitchens (especially at this time of year), visiting an elderly relative, shopping for some one with a disability, or checking in on a neighbour… are all ways to express your concern and kindle that human connection that can so easily get lost in our hectic daily lives.
Attitude and intention is key to karma yoga. Any interaction is an opportunity to practice karma yoga. If someone’s rude or upsets you; if the delivery’s late; or a colleague is slacking; or you really didn’t deserve that parking ticket… your response is karma. When you take life’s lumps with good humour and handle difficulties with grace you are truly practicing karma yoga.
Share your experiences of Karma in the comments!