By Swami Karunananda
Depending on our temperament, we can pursue the journey of awakening in various ways: Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Jnana Yoga, or Japa Yoga. Whatever approach we choose, we can transform our daily lives into spiritual practice, preparing us for the highest realization.
Karma Yoga is the path of action. It is suitable for people of an active temperament. The Karma Yogi leads a dedicated life as an instrument of the Divine. All actions are done as selfless service with no expectation of personal reward. Such a life purifies the heart and makes one fit to realize the Supreme Truth.
Hints for Daily Practice:
- The Bhagavad Gita states: Tyagat Shantir Anantaram, which Sri Swami Satchidananda translated as: “The dedicated every enjoy Supreme Peace. Therefore, live only to serve.”
- In all that you do, feel that you are an instrument in God’s hands, carrying out the Higher Will.
- Try to have every action be of benefit to someone and harm to no one; this is the yogic description of a perfect act.
- As you go about your daily activities, keep your mind focused on what you are doing. Do not daydream, dwell on the past, or plan for the future.
- Do your best and leave the rest. Apply yourself as best you can, and don’t get excited or anxious over the results.
- Observe the types of activities you enjoy doing and those you dislike; the types of activities you usually do well and those where you tend to make mistakes or get disturbed. Determine your strengths and weaknesses and see how you can do better.
Swami Karunananda is a senior disciple of Sri Swami Satchidananda. In 1975, she was ordained as a monk into the Holy Order of Sannyas. She has had over 40 years experience teaching all aspects of Yoga and specializes now in workshops, retreats, and teacher training programs that focus on the science of meditation, the philosophy of Yoga, personal transformation, and Yoga breathing techniques for better health and wellbeing. She developed, and for 25 years has taught, the Integral Yoga Teacher Training programs in Raja Yoga and in Meditation.
Swami Karunananda served as president of Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville in Virginia and in California, as well as director of the Integral Yoga Institutes in San Francisco and in Santa Barbara. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees, and as the chairperson of the Spiritual Life Board at Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville, Virginia.
Interested in fostering interfaith understanding and harmony, she is featured in the interfaith documentary entitled, With One Voice. She also compiled and edited the Lotus Prayer Book, a collection of prayers from various faith traditions, and Enlightening Tales as told by Sri Swami Satchidananda. She served as contributing editor for The Breath of Life: Integral Yoga Pranayama, as well as a senior writer for the Integral Yoga Magazine. In her book, Awakening: Aspiration to Realization Through Integral Yoga, she describes the spiritual path and provides guidance for the journey.