“Seva,” means “Service” in Sanskrit.
Seva is an integral part of the practice of yoga. It’s one of the gems that gives our practice purpose and meaning beyond the physical.
Asana (practice of yoga poses) is a great place to start on the path of yoga— it helps us fall in love our imperfect bodies and minds. Over time, many experienced practitioners come to realize that taking excellent care of their vessel is crucial to showing up in life with authentic confidence, clarity and focus. If self-care is a true priority, only then can we consider serving from a place of love, empathy and compassion.
Many people choose to focus their Seva on something they feel personally connected to and passionate about. For example, my friend, Carly, has a deep love of animals, so she chose to volunteer her time once a week at a reputable local shelter. My friend, Jenny, is a combat war veteran and serves her community by leading writing workshops specifically for veterans to help them process PTSD and live a full life after going through war.
If we realize we are in an ideal position to serve, we must also commit to serving responsibly. This is what makes the best service work challenging. Seva can hold a mirror up to our shadow (the parts of ourselves that we still struggle with). Even if we think we’ve resolved an old trauma, it will very likely resurface, full-force, when we witness or hear of something that triggers us out in the field, throwing us right back into our old wounds and memories.
This is the tricky thing about choosing service work that we are passionate about. If we witness an injustice, it’s possible to become reactive if we haven’t reconciled our own story (or even if we feel we have!). Seva can be ruthlessly revealing and heartbreaking at times. But that’s something that great change requires. Doing good work in the world and doing it well is not easy. It requires discomfort every now and then.
This is where the physical yoga practice can become enormously helpful. Asana and pranayama (breathing techniques) helps us release cheapest xenical 120mg tension and discharge the energy that no longer serve us. We breathe deep, stretch and sweat so we don’t hold onto the past.
Many experienced yoga practitioners reach a point in their journey where they start to ask themselves, “How can I be of service?” If you have found yourself asking the very same question, consider answering the eight questions below to help you discover your purpose at this time.
- How do you like to spend your time?
- What current issues do you feel most passionate about?
- If you had unlimited time & resources, what could you do that combines your answers to #1 & #2?
- What resources do you already have?
- What resources do you need?
- Who could you ask in your circle or friends, family, co-workers to help you?
- What is your vision (may be large or small) regarding the impact of your Seva?
- Write down 3 action steps that you can do this month to get started.
Some folks have money to donate. Some donate their time. Some don’t have spare time OR extra money, and that’s a clear indication that until something changes, service may not be a possibility. Some people are in service to their families by raising their kids well or supporting a sick relative. Some people serve locally and some globally. No matter how one is called to serve, the resounding outcome is the same— what we give is nothing compared to what we get. And what do we get? Well, I imagine everyone would articulate that answer a little differently. Service is humbling. It helps me remember my gratitude and bask in the awesomeness of my one, precious life.
What would you say?
Yoga is a multi-billion dollar industry. If yoga practitioners everywhere focused on redirecting our collective spending to supporting sustainable projects and transparent organizations, we could see an incredible shift in the way our world functions.
If this kind of work is of interest to you, I hope you’ll consider taking our teacher training! We now offer a lesson on Seva. The summer intensive starts this June!
Thanks for reading! ~ Megan