Westerners often mistakenly believe that yoga means performing asanas, or yoga postures. Although yogis gain many emotional and physical benefits by practicing asana, it is only one small part of yoga. Hatha Yoga—the type of yoga most often practiced in the West—actually contains five practices: asana, pranayama (breath exercises), chant (use of sound), meditation, and ritual.
But Hatha Yoga isn’t the full extent of yoga, either. Even though many of Hatha Yoga’s practices are physical, its goal is to clarify the mind. Other types of yoga have different goals: exploring truth, practicing spiritual devotion, providing service, even experiencing sensory pleasure.
This weekend, I invite you to explore Karma Yoga: the yoga of service.
The word karma means action; yoga means union. So the phrase “karma yoga” literally translates as “union through action.” The internet defines Karma Yoga as service without consideration of personal gains, likes, or dislikes. I define it as compassion in action without attachment. In other words, Karma yogis take action in order to decrease suffering in another—without being hung up on the results.
At Whole Life Yoga we typically practice Hatha Yoga, but this Sunday’s special afternoon class—a by-donation fundraising class for City of Hope—will be all about karma. City of Hope provides research, care, and alternative therapies for people fighting cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening illnesses.
City of Hope is a very special organization. I think their website says it best:
We are proud of our numerous institutional distinctions…as we remain true to our overriding mission to heal the whole person. That means nurturing the emotional, spiritual, social, as well as physical well-being of those in our care.
For many people, City of Hope is where hope begins.
Please join Rene de Los Santos in this special class on Sunday, June 3, from 12:30 to 2:00. The class is appropriate for all levels, and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to City of Hope.
If you can’t attend, you can still help. Simply drop a donation by the studio at any class before Sunday at 2:00 PM. Make checks payable to “Yoga for Hope,” and place cash in an envelope marked “Donation: Yoga for Hope.”
You can also donate online at this link.
Thank you for helping bring hope to those who desperately need it.