What is Karma Yoga – How to Practice – Benefits & Goals
Yoga has its origin in India and it has been practiced here for ages. Yoga basically means ‘spiritual discipline’. Yoga is not just a set of different postures, which increases the flexibility of your body. It is much more than that. It focuses on physical together with mental and spiritual aspects so that you get eternal peace as well as a healthy body and mind. Karma yoga is practiced to get permanent peace.
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What is Karma Yoga?
Karma yoga or the ‘discipline of action” is a yoga that is bases on the sacred Sanskrit scripture of the Hindus, ‘Bhagavat Geeta’. It is one of the tree paths to realization and is considered as the perfect way to achieve perfection in action. This yoga is a part of nature. Karma means action, which includes all the actions done by a person from birth to death, and it says that a person must always choose the path of action and do the right thing in life. According to the principles of this yoga, you must do service without expecting anything in return. This advocates selfless service. Such actions provide you eternal peace and happiness. When you do service as your duty, fully focused on it and expecting no reward for it, it will bring you fulfillment and freedom.
How to do Karma Yoga?
Meditation is an important part of yoga and you must practice it regularly. It is the first step when you learn yoga asana. When you practice yoga, you need to concentrate on it completely. Karma yoga is regarded as the basic step of all forms of yoga. So, if you decide to learn yoga, you have to learn karma yoga first. This will help you to attain divine wisdom. Unless you follow the principles and guidelines given for Karma yoga, you cannot perform other yoga asanas well and all your efforts in doing other forms of yoga will be of no use.
Some of the negative qualities in human beings like jealousy, ego, hatred, superiority etc are totally removed from a person’s mind and soul when he practices karma yoga. So you can say that karma yoga takes you through the path of Nishkam karma, which means performing actions without any desire. You will not be able to achieve these good qualities all of a sudden. You need constant practice and will power to achieve this. You must speak kindly and sweetly to others. If you are proud and expect others to respect you, you are not the right person to do service to people. Once you feel close to God with each and every action that you perform, you can be sure that you have learnt Karma Yoga completely.
The second step in learning Karma yoga is that you need to have courage. As you know, to go along the right path and to do the right actions you need lots of courage. You must be courageous enough to face the truth and stick to it. So, when you practice karma yoga, you need to keep up a balance between the society and your actions that are firm and true. This is not at all an easy task and every person practicing this yoga may not be able to reach his goal easily. To achieve your goal, you need to have a strong will power and full confidence in yourself that you will be able to achieve your goal. You also must have the power to make the right decision at the right time and follow it.
Goals of Karma Yoga Practices and Meditation:
- Meditation is a must. Develop a discipline of mediation even if you are very busy and could hardly find any time. Take some time off from your busy routine and sit peacefully in a relaxed position. Once you feel yourself relaxed, close your eyes and pay full attention on your breathing. This action is also called “Prana Dharana” in yoga. This will help you to forget all your tensions and anxiety, and your hectic and busy schedules. So you will be able to concentrate on yoga and feel completely relaxed.
- Learn and follow the principles of Karma yoga. Serve people and God selflessly, without expecting any reward for your service. This will fill you with peace and happiness. When doing good to others becomes a part of your life, you will never have any selfish motive in doing any actions. You start taking immense happiness in serving others and doing good deed for others. This will provide you an inner spiritual strength that will never be seen in others.
- Try chanting the mantra ’OM’. This will provide you eternal peace.
- Try to develop a friendly relation with God by serving people and chanting prayers in your free time. This can greatly change your life for the better.
By doing service to people and all living beings, you will purify your heart. Egoism, jealousy, hatred, sense of superiority etc will be completely removed and you will be filled with good qualities like pure love for fellow beings, tolerance, sympathy and mercy. You will achieve a liberal and broader look on life and begin to feel oneness and unity. Finally you will reach a stage when you realize one in all and all in one. Once you have achieved this, you are a true Karma Yogi.
In this busy world, where you have no time to spare, karma yoga is the only way that you get closer to God. As the saying goes in Bhagavat Geeta, ‘thy right is to work only, but never with its fruits; let not the fruits of actions be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction .As the ignorant men act from attachment to action, so should the wise act without attachment, wishing the welfare of the world”.