Seva comes from the Sanskrit word that means selfless service and is considered the most important part of spiritual practice. It lies at the heart of the path of karma yoga (selfless action), which asks us to serve others with no expectation of outcome. Seva is a principle that means to give back. Currently with all that is going on around the world globally, now is a wonderful time to practice this principle. As a yogi, it is important to understand what Seva means and its impact on the world. When we practice yoga and the principle of Seva, it brings us opportunities, the ability to reach and inspire others, as well as a positive change to the world around us.
"We express gratitude through seva, selfless service. We say, 'thank you', and live by that thank you." - Radhanath Swami
When we give back, not only does it help others, but we also receive gifts from the experience of giving. When we give to others without the expectation of receiving something in return, we flourish as individuals making a positive change to the world. Giving allows us to connect more deeply not only to ourselves, but to others and our community at whole. Seva helps us to lead more joyful, happier, and purposeful lives.
Here are 5 easy ways to practice Seva everyday:
Pay it forward: While waiting for your morning cup of coffee at your local café’ offer to pay for the drink of the person behind you. Although this may seem small, every extra action helps.
See some trash on your walk or morning run? Pick it up and place it in the trash or recycle bin. We can give service to our planet as well as to others.
Find a volunteer opportunity in your community; a local school, an animal shelter, a homeless shelter or children’s hospital, etc. Time is a valuable commodity and spending some of yours can make an impact!
Donate food or clothing
Do you have extra groceries? Clothing perhaps that you know you are not using or wearing? How about donating them to someone or someplace where they can be of use to someone else?! There are countless opportunities to be of service. You don’t have to wait for the holiday season to be charitable.
Offer a kind word or a smile to someone
You never know what sort of day someone is having or has had. Your smile or just a kind word can make a huge difference in someone else’s demeanor to turn their day around (and yours too)! Whether it's your friend, a stranger, or your mail carrier, just one word can open a new world with endless possibilities.
“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” - Mother Theresa
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