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Karma Yoga Day

August 2, 2010

There is a movement for peace growing around our world. Yogis are coming off the mat and reaching into there communities on all continents. The first annual International Karma Yoga Day is now building and bringing yogis from all schools together. Yoga is about union. It is about seeing the connections between people and the entire web of life by penetrating the illusion of separateness (maya) created by our minds. Karma yoga attempts to assist us in this by having us reach out with our actions to a world in need of community and healing. For too long yogis have quibbled over minor differences in theory and practice. These differences are natural and compliment our uniqueness as human beings. International Karma Yoga Day seeks to unify Yogis around the globe for a day in fun and friendship, and then asks us to turn our awareness outward to the many people and ecosystems in need of help.

On the second Sunday of each September (September 12th in 2010) yogis are putting together community events in cities and towns around the world. These events are free or by donation and serve to cross pollinate ideas, assistance and friendships within and between schools. Some of these events are also geared to raising funds, whether a lot or a little for community projects either local or international. Finally they are used to inspire and assist personal giving through our simple actions to friends, family, and community both national and international.

So what is Karma Yoga? The best place to start to understand karma yoga is to think of it as the yoga of action. Yoga means union, and karma yoga seeks to bring union through our actions. Actions include our thoughts, words and deeds… so karma yoga gets us out into the world BEING kindness, being assistance, being peace builders, being intelligent, and being love. When your yoga includes your all of your actions, your practice is every minute of every day and it naturally turns outwards in compassion to the world, as well as the inward opening of the heart and the stilling of the mind that comes with it.

Thus, Karma yoga is one of the best and most important practices we have. As the yoga of action, it teaches us to move into the root layers of our subconscious to affect the underlying forces which create our own unique perception and our behaviour. Therefore, Karma yoga is the root of many of the most profound practices we have because it brings us to the heart of yoga… putting us directly in touch with what our consciousness is in any one moment and exactly how is it being expressed into the world. This is the dance of creation that we all are every moment… when we are paying attention and even when we are not!

Directed socially based Karma yoga is an outgrowth of this understanding. Many people think that the volunteer element is the whole process, which as described above, it is not quite true. That said, it is extremely useful to reach out into our world with concrete actions based in love and kindness! The reality is that yoga can and often does unintentionally create self-centeredness in the individuals that practice it… “I want to be healed!”… “I want to be beautiful!”… “I want to be wise!”… “I want to do a perfect headstand!”

Although these are generally good intentions and are needed to have a serious practice, they can sometimes be dangerous by creating intensive focus on the betterment of the self. This can slow things down and end up causing a lot of discomfort for a yogi because the self is exactly what yoga is designed to relax and release.

Karma yoga works to disable this problem by putting the emphasis on others. “What can I GET from yoga” turns into “what can I GIVE to the other beings of this world”. This, combined with other important practices, really helps to take the pressure off the ego and create a sense of expansiveness. At high levels it results in a feeling of profound connection and service to all beings.

In other words, Union.

International Karma Yoga Day is without cost and does not support or depend on any particular school. All are welcome to contribute and participate. We are very much hoping that it will be of some assistance to the yoga movement in Africa, and also to some of the pressing social and environmental concerns there. Currently there are no African events occurring. We, the yogis of the rest of the world care and hold out our friends in friendship. If you would like to help organize and International Karma Yoga Event in your city or town, or would just like to participate in a year round worldwide community via internet, we invite you warmly.

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Russ Hazard is the Field Director for the World Shamanic Yoga Institute in Peru. He is also the international coordinator for this year’s International Karma Yoga Day. If you would like to become a regional coordinator, participant, or just get in touch with the community you can write to Russ at wanderingadept@gmail.com. You can also visit the website at www.international-karma-yoga-day.org or connect with either Russ or the new International Karma Yoga Day community on Facebook.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Harshad permalink
    August 3, 2010 5:06 pm

    Excellent practice. This is one of the ways in which yogi’s may give back to society. This is GOOD karma practice.

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