Karma Yoga is the branch of action and selfless service. Karma yoga involves doing, working, and giving of our time without the expectation of anything in return. The Bhagavad Gita emphasizes this form of yoga by saying, “Work alone is your privilege, never the fruits thereof. Never let the fruits of action be your motive; and never cease to work. Be not affected by success or failure. This equipoise is called yoga.” The book states that we must engage in action, but leave the rest to a higher power while releasing expectations.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to practice Karma Yoga every day. Karma Yoga can be implemented in both large and small ways in your life. Maybe you help a disabled or elderly woman load groceries into her car. Or perhaps you volunteer at an animal shelter. You may even start a non-profit organization of your own. Opportunities to practice Karma Yoga abound.
Simple acts such as letting a car into the lane ahead of you while in traffic or doing something nice for someone without expecting a return of the favor can help release you from the strong and sometimes negative pattern of expectation. Larger acts such as donating time or money to a charity on a regular basis will help you to take your karma yoga practice into your community.
The great thing about Karma Yoga is that it helps to melt away expectations. Once practiced on a regular basis, the simple joy of giving just to give will help fill that space that expectation once occupied. You likely already practice Karma Yoga in many ways in your life. This month, pay special attention to when you are giving and doing for the joy of giving and doing. Take note of how this makes you feel and how it enriches your life.