What is Karma Yoga?
Bhagavad Gita mentions a number of paths for spiritual liberation. One of those paths is Karma Yoga. At its core, Karma Yoga is doing your duty without getting attached to the outcome. The result might be good or bad, but that should never be your concern.
When you perform a Karma or action, you should act as if it is your dharma or God’s work. When it is in your hands, you should put everything into it. But once it is out of your hands, you should break all your attachments from it so that you are not affected by the results. Karma Yoga, like other yogas (Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Raja Yoga), will purify your mind and lead you to spiritual liberation.
What Are the Principles of Karma Yoga?
Karma Yoga principles are the pillars on which this form of yoga stands. They make you understand and practice yoga. If you follow these Karma Yoga principles, you will be better able to enjoy your work.
Here is a list of the key Karma Yoga principles:
1. The Right Attitude
It does not matter if you are managing the whole nation or cleaning a room. What matters is you are doing the work. Do not care about the type of work you are doing. Instead, think if you are doing it with the right attitude or not.
2. Do Not Have A Motive
When you do work, your focus should be on action, not on motive. If you have a motive, it means you are attached to the outcome in one way or the other. The attachment has its roots in the ego. If you will not let go of the attachment, you will never be able to free yourself of the ego.
3. Do Your Dharma
Every person on the earth has his or her own dharma or duties in life. Some duties are chosen by us, for example, our spouse, our friends, our employees, etc. While other duties come with the birth, for example, your sibling, the society in which you live, etc. You should do every type of dharma with attention and enthusiasm.
4. First, Serve Yourself
Letting go with the ego does not mean that you have to forget yourself. Opposite of that, you should always serve yourself first. If you can not help yourself, if you can not take care of yourself, you will never be able to help others.
5. Give Your Best
Karma Yoga says that everything you do is somehow going to be reflected in your future. No matter what your work, give your best so that it can lay a firm foundation for your better tomorrow.
6. Respect The Outcome
You have to respect the outcome while not getting affected by it. Once the consequence of your actions comes, take a step back, analyze what happened and why it happened, and then respect it with your whole heart.
What Are the Benefits of Karma Yoga?
This ancient form of yoga is not just for reading in the scriptures. Karma Yoga practices actually give you benefits. Here is a list of the most important Karma Yoga benefits:
1. You Learn New Skills
When you give your complete self to the task at hand, you do not just do it for the sake of it but also learn a lot of new skills. Over time, you become better at doing that work.
2. You Become Active
It is one thing passing the time and totally another thing living your life. You stay active when you live your life. And Karma Yoga helps you with it. When you stay active to focus on your work and overtime, it becomes a habit to become conscious of everything that you do.
3. Your Achieve Your Goals
The more you detach yourself from the results, the more you achieve them. It sounds like a paradox but it is nonetheless true. Imagine it: when you do a work giving all your efforts, without worrying every minute about the outcome, wouldn’t you succeed? In fact, many people do the same thing without realizing that what they are doing is a key principle of Karma Yoga.
4. It Makes You Calm
When you are not attached to the results, you do not experience sadness or rage over never outcomes. Karma Yoga makes you more flexible. Most people experience that after a long period of Karma Yoga practices, they have become calm.
5. You Experience Joy
Some people doubt that by detaching themselves from the results, they will not experience any joy in the work. On the contrary, Karma Yoga makes people experience joy even in the case of negative outcomes. When you experience Karma Yoga, you start enjoying the work itself so you don’t even have to wait for the outcomes for joy.
How To Practice Karma Yoga?
You do not need to join some online yoga classes or learn some Karma Yoga poses. It is more of a mindset shift than some physical activity. Here is how you can do Karma Yoga in three easy and simple steps:
- Enlist all the major work and duties that you have in your life. While writing down the works, you will encounter some works that you do not enjoy at all but you still have to enlist them.
- Prioritize the works according to their importance. Realize their urgency and start doing them on a daily basis.
- Many hurdles will come that will be out of your control. Do not worry about them. If you can not do one work, just move to the next without any worry.
There are no Karma Yoga poses but only a discipline of the mind. First, try to understand what is Karma Yoga and then incorporate it into both your daily routine and your attitude towards life. Over time, you will experience a better change in yourself from the inside out.
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