What is a Karma Yoga Class?
Most yoga studios offer Karma yoga classes at a discount price or by donation that supports a local charity or cause seeking funding. The styles of yoga taught may vary depending on the teacher and students who attend the class. The class has no typical style of yoga so you never know what you're going to get.
It is a great class for a beginner to try out, and a nice roll of the dice for all yogis seeking something new in their practice. The karma classes are a great way to practice yoga on a budget while supporting a good cause and connecting with others on a deeper level of awareness.
Being of Service
When I began teaching yoga I decided to teach for free. I felt as I was an inexperienced teacher I did not want to charge too much money, but also, I felt that yoga in its original form was to be shared for free to whomever who sought the practice from a teacher. It was for good karma.
After a few months of offering yoga for free, my students started paying me anyways and so I sent the money to a local fundraising initiative through my yoga community. Not only do Karma yoga classes give you a boost in confidence as a yogi and a teacher, they also connect and create a community. My students got together in communication to offer payment, and then I made the decision to donate the money.
This is where "being of service" became apparent to me. To be in service of others does not mean you have to give up your entire life. In fact, every moment of your life is inter-connected with others, and it is in how you treat these moments that can help the greater good. Embodying change within yourself takes time, and helps you to learn to be a better person, you can then reach out and touch others to inspire the goodness within them too. Being of service is like the butterfly effect, where just a small intention of compassion for others can make great waves throughout the whole of humanity.
Giving back can give more focus on a positive world, and an understanding of your “Life Purpose" (Read 7 Benefits to Giving Back). Of course I eventually learned that I deserved to be paid for my services as energy exchange requires a price. However, I have understood that my career in giving back will never be over and that most of my life is about giving to others in whatever form of service that I can. A good way of giving back full time is through a soul-based business, but also from being a good person and promoting good in others, lending a hand, opening a door, or paying for a meal.
Community Classes for Growth and Development
Most of the underserved populations of the world would benefit from yoga, while the higher socio-economic classes are those who are currently benefitting the yoga industry. Those who do not have health care, who have stress, mental illness, endure great loss or abuse and those who simply cannot afford yoga are probably in need of it the most.
Karma yoga classes are a great way of giving back and supporting the global community. It’s a great way to get others inspired and motivated to clean up our world from the inside out, and connect on our similarities and not our differences.
Taking your yoga into your life
Yogis bring themselves to a better space within their lives physically, mentally and spiritually by combining meditation with their asana practice.
When yoga is taken as a form of meditation - as in being objective to how your mind relates to each pose - it can be used as a way to gain greater insight into your life on and off the mat. As you observe your thoughts, you can be brought closer to an understanding of your mental state and how to undo unwanted mental conditioning.
I discovered yoga hand in hand with studying texts on inner peace from guides such as the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra. This is how I eventually started making changes in my life whether it was in my work, relationships or dietary choices ( Read: Is it Un-Yoga to Eat Meat?).
As my awareness level grew, a greater understanding of my place in the world came into question. I found a need to help others and so I became a yoga teacher. I was determined to embody the term “be the change” within my day to day life. Giving back to others came naturally to me, but to learn how to hone my skills to actually make a difference was what I was truly looking for in my life.
In seeking out ways to embody change within myself, to help change the world, I found others within my community looking to do the same. If you’re one of those people who is overly generous and loves to give, or perhaps you’re looking to make an impact on the world and actually make a difference in other people’s lives, fundraising can be a way to connect to the greater meaning of life, and attending Karma Yoga classes supports the intention of the teacher and growth of community with a benefit for all.