Our culture has taught us that karma represents the effect. We use the word to help describe something that happened in the past that was deserved because of what caused it. But the true karma, the karma yoga, that is built upon and represented in the Bhagavad Gita isn't about what will come, but what is. Karma is defined primarily as an action, work or deed. Its application is to help us understand the way in which we're supposed to practice; consciously, selflessly, without thinking what will come of it.
Creating good karma isn’t about doing good to minimize negative effects, but doing good for the sake of doing good.
With that perspective, karma is not a bitch. In fact, as you embrace your practice, you become karma. Consequently, karma is a purposeful, deliberate representation of self. Karma is you.
Creating Karma in Your Yoga Practice
Practicing yoga, as we know, goes beyond just the postures and movements. We can consciously practice yoga in our everyday lives, and action ourselves to share the spirit of yoga through how we treat one another, and what we share. Extending our relationship with yoga beyond ourselves is how we embrace the true meaning of karma, for it helps us action what we’ve learned and cherish in the practice for a broader benefit.
This deed, whether it’s a discounted yoga class at your studio, thanking our teacher for a class, or welcoming a new student without judgment or hesitation, are deliberate moves, shifting karma into the present. There are even volunteer opportunities where you can help others find themselves on the mat.
Yoga is a luxury. But it's a luxury that everyone should be able to afford, and by truly realizing the definition of karma, we can show that to everyone. I’d love to see more studios and teachers embrace their communities and extend their relationship with yoga to others that might be interested, to use what they have to spark new opportunities that helps everyone grow, including themselves.
For karma is the difference between a truly rewarding practice for you and others, and a situation where someone feels left out, discriminated against, or dejected. Let’s stop fearing karma’s wrath and instead create it in such a way that it reflects the best version of ourselves.
I'll be writing regularly on community yoga, and would love to hear your thoughts. Contact me on Twitter and tell me what your yoga community is like! @nicolecardoza