Karma Yoga: Three of the Four Main Yoga Paths Explained
What is Karma Yoga? Karma Yoga is a yogic path that aims to find a connection with the divine through selfless service to others - the Sanskrit word karma means "action," or work. Its meant to renounce the results of our actions as a spiritual offering rather than hoarding the results for ourselves. Within the history of Hinduism, karma yoga was seen as a way to reach moksha (spiritual liberation) through work; it is rightful action without being attached to fruits or being manipulated by what the results might be, a dedication to one's duty, and trying one's best while being neutral to rewards or outcomes such as success or failure.
Karma Yoga has four major principles in which defines its practice: duty, ego, attachment, and expectation of a reward. In order to fully understand karma yoga, one must understand the principles that goes into it. Duty: the work that is expected of you. Whether they are chores around the house or being a proud member of society that helps an old woman cross the street, we all have duties that we are responsible to/for. In practicing karma yoga, it is important to prioritize your duties; to know which is most important and which duty should have more significance over the others. One must know that the highest duty that they can have is the duty towards themselves. Which means you should prioritize and take care of yourself first (mind, body, and soul) before you lend a hand to others. Follow what feels good to you, indulge in self-care, and honor the personal goals you have before you offer parts of yourself to others. Ego: all the ideas that one has about themselves and others. With everything we do, we question the outcome or the consequences that our actions will have on our image or how it affect our lives. The root of karma yoga is doing your duty without thinking of yourself; the purpose is to control and gradually let go of your ego. This is an essential part of karma yoga because an ego will only grow if you don't control and stop it, and with a growing ego, one will only see what they want to see and not reality itself. Attachment: doing your duty without attachment. One must always perform their duty without any kind of attachment to the process or the result. For example, if a teacher were to teach one student better than the other, this would be wrong. Expectation of a reward: when completing a task or a duty, one almost always expects a reward. When one does something without the expectation of a reward, the outcome of the action doesn't affect if and how one does the duty.
Karma yoga is a practice that must be done without ego or attachment, so the inclusion of either will greatly impact the results of this path of yoga. In order to reap the benefits of karma yoga, one must practice it regularly and the changes will gradually be shown within your life. Listed below are a few benefits to this practice:
1- Your priorities become clear: you start to understand your duties and your roles and you work to complete them with attachment or personal desire.
2- It helps remove negative things like ego, hatred, and jealously disappear.
3- You will look at life in a broader, more liberal manner.
Partake in karma yoga and watch the enhancements of your life begin to pour in. To start your journey with karma yoga, inquire about it with us by reaching us at 470-591-0167.
Peace & Blessings!