Today’s post is written by one of extendYoga’s talented instructors, Amanda.
A Call to Give and a Big Thank You!
We’ve all heard the word karma before, in a joke, in a yoga class, or in an article. Karma Yoga is one of the six branches of the yoga tree. Most of us are familiar with the branch of Hatha Yoga, which focuses primarily on the practice of asana/postures. Karma Yoga focuses on yoga through action, with an emphasis on seva, selfless giving. Since the concept and practice of Karma Yoga is immense enough for many blog posts, today’s post will focus on seva, sometimes simply referred to as service. When you donate to an organization, hold the door open for someone else, or lend an ear to friend, you are practicing seva.
Spring and summer are great times to think about seva (selfless giving). There are ample opportunities to attend donation yoga classes, run a 5K, volunteer for environmental projects, and donate money or other items of need to organizations/causes. Seva is very personal, so before you decide to give of yourself, you should reflect on your values. What causes are important to YOU? Cancer research? Homelessness? Giving in line with your values will ensure you foster an even greater connection to the cause, and feel even better about your action(s). Whether you give because you feel a connection to a person, event, or organization, allow yourself to reflect. Seva is a great addition to any yoga practice because it brings you on a journey of self reflection. You’ve done something selfless for another; breath deeply into those feelings. Reflecting on seva will allow you to see and enjoy the gift. Seva always includes a gift back to you: a chance for self discovery, or even a wonderful yoga class.
While there are plenty of individual ways to give back to your community, partnering with a business that takes seva seriously, is wonderfully rewarding and particularly easy. We don’t all have the resources for large donations, or a room to host a yoga class; that’s where businesses come into the seva picture. Businesses, especially local, have resources to double our gifts by allowing us to partner with our fellow yoga students, and neighbors. You also get greater satisfaction knowing your gift has community impact. extendYoga is one of these businesses dedicated to seva. For our students, it is important to show that we care just as much about our community as you do. With that in mind, we plan on actively participating in community seva, which allows you an easy way to practice seva along with us. Since extendYoga doors opened in November we’ve collected three large boxes of toys for Toys for Tots, held a donation class that raised funds to purchase high efficiency laundry detergent for Interfaith Women’s Shelter, and held a blood drive for American Red Cross (free class to those that donated). Just a few weeks ago I was honored to teach a donation class that raised $155 for St. Jude’s Research Hospital. None of this could have be done without YOU. You are the yogis graciously giving to benefit others, so thank you. We appreciate your support in making this community a better place, and ask that you continue to partner with us in all our seva events.
Our next donation class is Saturday, May 19th (you can sign up on our website here); donations will benenfit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Also this summer will be a donation class benefiting Headstand for DC (www.headstand.org) date TBD (check our website or facebook for more information). If you have any ideas for other service events or organizations in the area that we can partner with, please let us know.
Much love & gratitude,
12106 Wilkins Ave
Rockville, MD 20852