Altruistic service–in yoga called seva or karma yoga–is, for the most part, unanimously hailed as an important part of Yoga business. In Radiant Child Yoga, we offer training scholarships, usually in the form of workstudy, offer yoga classes based on donation, and make monthly contributions to several organizations that work with children. I like the feeling I get when we contribute. I also feel glad for all the various ways that other yoga organizations share the wealth of yoga with those who may not have the financial means to participate otherwise.
Beyond the idea of service, I have a firm belief that energy is a flow, a give and take. Over the years of working with children and adults with yoga, I have found that those who are “underserved” need to be able to give back something in order to honor THEIR OWN SPIRIT, that spirit that is the same no matter who we are–so-called underserved, overserved, and inbetween!
My teacher, Yogi Bhajan, always talked about the energy exchange between people being important. Those who are being given yoga at no charge need contribute in some way –whether it is help with set up, clean up, or bring a friend. There needs to be something that honors that place where–no matter what our birth circumstances—we are EACH autonomous, sovereign. This is healthy and creates equality.
Love this quote from Dr. Carla Hannaford:
“When we see others in pain, or facing fierce challenges in their lives, empathy and compassion assist us to link with that part of our own humanity. But we can never know the actual function of those challenges or pain for that person. When we label someone less fortunate, we miss seeing his or her mastery and connectedness to the whole. When we tie into this empowered, responsible perspective the prefontral cortex is more active, allowing us insight.”
Carla Hannaford, PhD, biologist and educator from Playing in the Unified Field: Raising and Becoming Conscious, Creative Human Beings