In this 10 part series with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, we will explore what it means to give selflessly, achieve acts of service without losing our energy, uplifted spirit, & positive attitude, and how cross-cultural exchange helps us to become more open, accepting, curious people. Check out Part 1 below, and begin to journey forward in connecting your yoga practice to everyday life in the best of ways-through compassionate self-care & selfless service.
Reflections from Pandit Tigunait
Two weeks ago, I sat down with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait to discuss the nature of Karma Yoga and its relation to humanitarianism. For those of you new to Karma Yoga, it is considered the core of Yoga In Action-the practice of selfless service as a foundational element upon which our personal yoga practice is built and continues to grow. The ability to enact Karma Yoga in our everyday lives requires an immense amount of focus and personal commitment.
In Our World
Particularly within the United States, it is often that much of our culture focuses on the needs and wants of the individual, without acknowledging that individual’s role in a greater part of our society-the role we all play in constructing our collective mind, consciousness, productivity, social scripts, and social safety net. Understanding how those of us who are fortunate in the most basic ways (having a home, a job, people whom we call friends & family) have a responsibility to help those within our society, who are not so fortunate, is a key aspect of Karma Yoga’s outward expression. In our current political, economic, and social climate it can be difficult to discern between the needs of the self and the needs of others, all the while still vigorously trying to cultivate an inner desire to give back to our communities (even when we may not have the time or the energy) because we have that inner drive to want to be good to our fellow humans. In our modern age, we have become very easily exhausted, pessimistic, and can feel stuck not knowing where to put our focus, our time, and even our practice. After all, there will always be people suffering in this world, groups who need our services, and people who require our personal efforts in helping them deliver change. Speaking with Panditji illuminated one very important factor in how we as a people can become better at giving back and helping others-a consistent commitment to your personal yoga practice will not only allow you to broaden your understanding, compassion, and energy within yourself, it will enable you to take outward action and give back selflessly to those in need and with great desire to do so.
“Self discipline, self study, trust and surrender to the divinity…this will help you do your own personal practice in a fully inspired, productive manner…”
Realizing Personal Potential
Discovering how deepening your personal practice unlocks key attributes that bring energy, light, and joy to your world, is intrinsic to the process of becoming a more engaged citizen; providing for ourselves, our close social circle, and those unknown to us, yet still kin to us, within our communities is crucial in the search for motivation to act. For we are all human, but can often forget that simple truth even about ourselves-it is in becoming more connected to the inner self that we can then begin to bring our attention, and our change, outward. It may seem to some that focusing inward could be seen as selfish (I myself have often struggled with where I put my concentration because I want so much to help others and can sometimes find myself giving back at the expense of myself-there is a fine balance here that can be cultivated by shifting our attention to cultivating our personal, consistent yoga practice), but in fact it is what makes us strong, able, and wanting to commit selfless service. There is an exponential growth that takes place within the self, as we begin to put forth our most compassionate, peaceful, and kind qualities unto others and into action. It is these types of acts-those which do not have any expectations attached to them, those committed with good intentions, those promulgated with a kind heart-that connect what we do on our mat to what we do in the world around us. This constant, ever-changing connection between our inner life and our outward world is Yoga In Action.
Himalayan Institute Mission Membership
If you wish to delve deeper into the teachings, practices, and philosophy of the Himalayan Tradition consider becoming a Himalayan Institute Mission Member. Member benefits include unlimited access to yoga & meditation classes, monthly live-streams/webinars, and direct contribution towards supporting our Humanitarian Division. Mission Membership is an invitation to put your spiritual values into action by supporting our shared commitment to service while deepening your study and practice in the living Himalayan Tradition. Become a Mission Member today!