Karma yoga – is a way to exercise selfless duty. It involves carrying out benevolent actions while you detach from your ego. Although the idea sounds simple, perseverance and strong intentions are required, and the process isn’t easy. Here, Russell Jack, Southland-based yoga and mindfulness teacher, explains karma yoga and gives tips on how you can get started practicing it.
It’s no easy feat to withhold your ego when you serve people. An ego-driven critical voice in your head insists you impress others and strive to gain respect by protecting your facade. When you practice karma yoga, though, it’s necessary to let go of self-serving behaviors and thoughts as you focus on people’s needs.
Much of the time, your mind is occupied by thoughts. One leads to another on autopilot. When you practice karma yoga, however, you are aware of your thinking process.
An autonomous being ready for enlightenment dwells beneath your ego. You can get in touch with that part of you and help it rise to the fore. You’ve probably dropped your ego frequently, but not for a long period or on purpose. To enjoy a sustainable egoless state, you must understand how to practice mindfulness.
You focus on a thought or action when you are mindful, recognizing ego-related thoughts or those unrelated to your task and letting them go. You’re present in the moment as you concentrate on what you do and think.
You concentrate on helpfulness and bring your attention back acting selflessly if your mind wanders. Acknowledging, but not feeding unwanted thoughts with attention, means you don’t delve into them and stray from your path.
To help thoughts fade, imagine they don’t belong to you. Hear them, but consider them passing sounds to which you don’t relate. Note their presence, just as you would a car radio when you walk along a busy street but don’t think of them as significant. You’ll disassociate from mental chatter, and it will be easier to focus on kindness and service.
People often have a hidden agenda when they serve others. They might intend to be kind, but at the heart of their actions is a desire for recognition, money, accolades, or praise. They might feel pressure to make a good impression and be successful.
So, before carrying out an act of selfless service, adopt a noble mindset. Consider your intention to serve and focus on your physical movements as you engage in an action. Further, pay more attention to what you do at the moment than the outcome you want to achieve. See engagement in the task as more significant than an attachment to results.
Doing your utmost to generate desirable outcomes creates stress. It takes mental energy and comes with worries about making the grade. Karma yoga is valuable because it not only helps other people but is helpful for you too.
When you selflessly serve, the pressure to achieve goals drops. Many of your worries fade because you don’t need to accomplish results. There’s no need to consider what people think of you or criticize yourself. You are only concerned about your actions.
Feelings of compassion rise as you behave benevolently too. It’s liberating to serve people when you’ve no thoughts about what you might gain.
Karma yoga is a valuable pursuit because it trains the mind to focus on the present and drop worries while aiding kind-heartedness. You’ll find practicing beneficial if you want to develop a calm mind and assist others in a stress-free way.