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Karma Yoga: The Act of Living Selflessly and Enjoying the Benefits

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What is Karma Yoga? In Hinduism, one can adapt four spiritual paths in their lifestyle.

These are:

  • Jnana Yoga (The Path of Knowledge)
  • Raja Yoga (The Path of Psychological Experimentation)
  • Bhakti Yoga (The Path of Devotion)
  • Karma Yoga (The Path of Work)

These four paths to self-realization are based on the fact that human beings are emotional, active, reflective, and experimental in nature. In this discussion, I will explain more about the Path of Work.

What is Karma Yoga?

Also known as Karma Marga, the path of work advocates that we endeavor to dutifully and selflessly render our services to others regardless of our stages in life.

Lord Krishna summarizes the process of the path of work as detailed in the ancient text, the Bhagavad Gita, as follows :

“Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.”

This text simply means that people have a duty to offer their skills to humanity and in the preservation of nature to the best of their abilities. They should do this while exercising zero affinity to the effects or rewards of their works. Instead, they should strive to work as a service to God.

Offering service for the benefit of others is a form of prayer in Hinduism. It is human nature to seek rewards for works done. The Path of Work discourages this habit. Instead, a karma yogi (one who practices selfless acts) will serve others as a mother, a teacher, a doctor or a cook, without expecting a reward in return.

As you embrace the Karma yoga, you should differentiate it from Kriya Yoga, which is the practice of ritual action. The Practice of Work has a direct impact on others/society whereas Kriya Yoga focuses on cleansing our mind, without a direct impact on society.

Benefits of Karma Yoga

The practice of action for the benefit of others offers many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits as follows:

Purifies the heart

Heart Chakra Healing image

Selfless acts assist us to let go of our negative tendencies. Any hatred, jealousy or selfishness is now replaced with love. Having a pure heart is the primary benefit of living a selfless life.

Instills Discipline and Dedication

Karma yogis focus their physical and emotional strengths towards using their professional and social skillset to the service of others. They, therefore, make a deliberate effort to enroll in the necessary training and apprenticeship to improve their skills. One learns early enough that no job is superior to the other. Hence, the karma yogi dedicates his efforts towards doing their best with what they have.

Mental Growth

By adopting a broader perspective of life in carrying out our everyday duties, we tend to appreciate others more and therefore attain fulfillment and happiness regardless of how small or big our actions are.

We achieve mental health when we learn to manage our emotions. When one is immersed in service for the benefit of others, he/she no longer has fear of being imperfect or the inability to fit into the norms of the masses. Hence, anxiety, depression or other mental health complications are no longer a concern for a karma yogi.

Perfect Balance

Meditation for beginners tips image

Working for the benefit of others enables one to lead a balanced life. We are better parents, disciplined children, dedicated workers, and better partners when we have purpose and clarity in our actions.

Living authentic lifestyles is easily attained when we learn how to prioritize our needs without focusing too much on self.

Develop Humility, Selflessness, Sympathy, and Love

As you practice living for others, you learn to tame your ego. Selfish acts are replaced with pure love for humanity. You no longer see yourself as an individual but as part of the wider ecosystem that needs to be protected.

Attain Spiritual Growth

Mindful meditation image

When a karma yogi dedicates all his actions to God, he attains an inner spiritual development. Drawing closer to God, in turn, makes it easier for us to execute our duties. 

Honest Intentions

A karma yogi learns to base his actions on the broader picture of life. By doing this he/she is hardly a victim of selfish acts, egocentric behavior, anger, envy or pain as a result of the short term failures he may go through.

How to Embrace Karma Yoga in Our Everyday Living

Giving to humanity is possible even when one has little wealth. However, our self-ego and impure mind make the initial stages quite difficult. In order to practice selfless habits in our lifestyle, here are some everyday acts that you can start with:

Charitable Actions

make a change image

  • Distributing water and foodstuffs to the homeless
  • Offering free consultation to poor people who can’t afford medical services
  • Responding to a call for a blood donation
  • Offering transport for accident victims
  • Giving tuition classes to underprivileged children
  • Volunteer at a home for the old

Moral Actions

Make a deliberate effort not to hurt the feelings of others by what you do for a living. Consider the long term effects of setting up your businesses or undertaking your projects that have a major impact on the lives of others.

Be mindful of Mother Nature. We gain from nature by preserving it from generation to generation. Join the global campaigns that strive to maintain a pollution-free ecosystem. Protect our endangered species.

eco-friendly image

Be mindful of others. For example, if you have an option, take a bus instead of your personal car and make your moral contribution towards decongesting traffic.

Set a list of virtues and live by them. Be a person of integrity, self-control, compassion, and generous in giving. Always have a positive attitude in everything you do.

Finally, always start by giving from what you have.

Conclusion

The practice of Karma Yoga has been passed from one generation to the other for thousands of years. To attain the full benefits of this practice, we need to focus on benefiting others by our acts and make it a daily routine. Make a deliberate effort to be on the lookout for opportunities that demand your physical, mental, or spiritual input to better the lives of others. Only then can we find purpose and attain liberalization in life.

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Yoga

Vayu Mudra: Yogic Remedy for Stress and Anxiety

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Vayu Mudra Image

In Sanskrit, “Vayu” means air, and in Ayurveda, it refers to the Air element and is associated with the Vata dosha in our body. Therefore, Vayu mudra is designed for balancing the Air element in our bodies. Vayu mudra helps to reduce anxiety and nervousness, boosts immunity, helps to overcome gastric problems, recovers peace of mind, and has many other benefits. In this article, we will introduce you to this powerful mudra, will explain how to practice it, and will share with you the benefits of practicing this mudra.

Read on.

What Is Mudra?

Mudra‘ can be translated as ‘gesture’. Hence mudras are symbolic gestures practiced with the hands and fingers.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, we can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body. Different positions of the fingers can close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

Mudras help us to correct the direction of energy in the body, to control prana, and to improve the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, we can eliminate problems in the body and the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

What Is Vayu Mudra?

The term Vayu Mudra is originated in Sanskrit: ‘Vayu‘ means Air and ‘Mudra‘ means gesture. Thus, Vayu Mudra is a hand gesture that represents the Air element. By practicing this mudra, we can reduce and balance the Air element in our body.

The Air element in our body is responsible for managing the different types of pain and various mental disorders. Therefore, by practicing Vayu mudra, we can decrease or alleviate problems related to an imbalance of the Air element. Moreover, this mudra also helps in creating a balance within the Nadis (subtle energy channels) to maintains the air influx and efflux.

Each of the fingers has symbolic significance:

The index finger is associated with knowledge, wisdom, and self-confidence. It is connected to our life force.

The thumb is responsible for our ego, will, and logic. Also, this finger is associated with wisdom, mind, and awareness.

Also, it is important to know that each finger is associated with one of the 5 elementsThumb represents the Fire element (Agni). The index finger is associated with the energy of the Air element (Vayu). Hence, when we put the index finger under the thumb in Vayu mudra, we make the Fire element suppress the Air, thus, reduce and balance it.

Fingers Corresponding to the 5 Elements image

Vayu mudra is associated with the Ayurvedic Vata dosha because Vata is associated with the Air element. Thus, this mudra can be helpful for those who suffer from aggravated Vata or who are of the Vata dosha constitution.

Vayu Mudra Benefits

The regular practice of Vayu mudra provides the following benefits:

  • Balances the element of air in the body
  • Reduces the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
  • Helps to overcome gastric problems
  • Reduces anxiety, stress, and nervousness
  • Soothes the mind
  • Helps with arthritis, sciatica, gout, knee pain
  • Relaxes the muscles
  • Stimulates the endocrine glands
  • Helps with pain management
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Recovers peace of mind
  • Supports skin and cartilage

How to Perform?

Mudra practice image

Vayu mudra is one of the easiest mudras to perform. To practice Vayu mudra, follow these simple steps:

  1. Bring your body into a comfortable sitting position (cross-legged position, Padmasana, etc.).
  2. Relax and calm your mind.
  3. Now, place the tip of the index finger inside the base of the thumb.
  4. Then gently press the base of the thumb into the tip of the index finger.
  5. The rest of the fingers should all remain straight.

While performing this mudra, you can repeat mentally or aloud the following affirmation: “I am calm and serene at any time and in any place”.

Perform Vayu mudra daily for 15-20 minutes. Over time, you can increase the time to 45 minutes a day.

Precautions:

  • Stay away from the electronic gadgets and turn them off while you’re practicing the Vayu Mudra.
  • Do not try to overbend your index finger. Also, do not apply big pressure on your index finger by your thumb.
  • Keep your back straight during the practice – this will ease the prana flow.

You can include this mudra into your meditation or pranayama practice for better results.

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Yoga

Ganesha Mudra for Relieving Stress & Lifting Your Spirits

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Ganesha Mudra Benefits Image

Ganesha mudra is named after the Hindu elephant God Ganesh who is known for his ability to remove obstacles, give wisdom, and bless with abundance and prosperity. In this article, we will introduce you to the Ganesh mudra practice that is designed to help you relieve stress, lift your spirits, and give you the confidence and courage to overcome anything that is holding you back.

Who Is Ganesh?

Ganesh, also known as Ganapati and in the Hindu traditions represents wisdom and prosperity. He is the patron of wealthprosperity, good luck, and trade. The offspring of the Supreme God Shiva and his second wife Parvati, Ganesh has a rather strange appearance: he has a human body, a big belly, four hands, and an elephant head.

Who Is Ganesha Image

Ganesha is potbellied and generally depicted as holding in his hand a few round Indian sweets, of which he is inordinately fond. His vehicle (vahana) is the large Indian bandicoot rat, which symbolizes Ganesha’s ability to overcome anything to get what he wants. Like a rat and like an elephant, Ganesha is a remover of obstacles. Ganesha mudra is believed to invoke Ganesh energy as the remover of obstacles. As such, practicing the Ganesha mudra is said to enhance self-confidence and provide the courage to overcome anything that is holding one back.

According to the Vedic tradition, Ganesha is the embodiment of the mantra “Om”. The elephant’s head crowning the body of the deity resembles the symbol “Om” in its shape. Its large size symbolizes wisdom. Big ears are called to listen carefully and to separate good from evil, truth from lies. They hear everything, but at the same time, they perceive only good and true.

What Is Mudra?

“Mudra” can be translated as “seal”, “mark”, or “gesture”.

Mudras are symbolic gestures often practiced with the hands and fingers.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, you can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body, restore the flow of energy and eliminate “breakdowns” in diseased organs. Thus, each position of the hands has its own meaning and can benefit us if we learn to use this knowledge correctly.

How Does It Work?

Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

Mudras were invented for the correct redirection of energy in the body, for the control of prana, and for changing the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, you can eliminate problems in the body and the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, you can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body, restore the flow of energy and eliminate “breakdowns” in diseased organs. Thus, each position of the hands has its own meaning and can benefit us if we learn to use this knowledge correctly.

The acupressure points located on the tips of all five fingers can influence the proportion of the corresponding element within the body. 

The practice of Ganesha Mudra activates and stimulates the fire element in the body that further helps with better digestion and metabolism. In addition, this mudra is also associated with the Anahata chakra (Heart chakra) and contributes to its activation. Some practitioners say that they experience a strong feeling of warmth and light in the heart area when they perform this mudra.

Ganesha Mudra Benefits

This powerful mudra helps:

  • helps to open the Heart chakra
  • improves the upper body strength
  • boost self-esteem and self-confidence
  • cultivates a sense of inner power
  • develops the courage to approach life with an open heart
  • helps relieve heartache, depression, and feelings of heaviness and sadness
  • strengthens the muscles of the arms, chest, and shoulders
  • releases stress and tension
  • help to open the bronchial tubes and lungs
  • stimulates the metabolism
  • improves digestion
  • lifts mood
  • strengthens the heart muscle
  • boosts creativity
  • helps to settle quarrels and build trust in your relationship
  • calms down
  • helps to deal with life challenges

How to Perform Ganesha Mudra?

Ganesha Mudra For Love Image
  1. Bring your palms to touch in Anjali Mudra.
  2. Swivel your hands so that your fingertips point toward opposite elbows, with your right palm facing your heart.
  3. Bend your fingers and lock them in the heart area (Anahata chakra). The elbows are directed to the sides.
  4. Close your eyes, inhale, pull your elbows to the sides while exhaling, trying to uncouple your fingers, then exhale and relax. Repeat this process six times, then repeat on the other side six more times.
  5. Disconnect your fingers, put your hands on your knees, relax and focus on your breathing, stay in this position for a while.

Additional instructions:

  • Remove any jewellery or watch from the arms before practicing Ganesha Mudra.
  • To deepen your practice, combine Ganesh mudra with Ganesh mantra practice. When performing the mudra, chant Ganesh mantra: Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha.
  • Make sure you practice Ganesh mudra on an empty stomach – keep a gap of at least 4 hours between your last meal and the time of practice. 
  • For maximum benefits, perfrom Ganesh mudra 5-6 times a day.

The Bottom Line

This powerful mudra stimulates the Anahata chakra (Heart) and can, therefore, be considered a heart-opening practice. With regular practice, Ganesh mudra may evoke strong feelings of warmth and brightness in the heart area. As a result, you become more open and gain self-confidence.

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Yoga

Prithvi Mudra For Confidence, Grounding & Stability

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Prithvi Mudra benefits Image

In this article, we will introduce you to the Prithvi mudra practice that is designed to reconnect you to Earth, ground you, and help you attain harmony and balance.

What Is Prithvi Mudra?

Prithvi is the Sanskrit name for the Earth (one of the five gross elements of which the entire universe is made of) as well as the name of a goddess in Hinduism and some branches of Buddhism.

Prithvi mudra is a symbolic hand gesture to promote healing and spiritual balance within the body.

Earth element governs our confidence, physical and mental stamina, sense of stability, and grounding. A healthy body needs to have a balance between all of the five elements. Any imbalance created between these elements can cause disease. Regular practice of Prithvi mudra helps to balance the earth element, which resides primarily within tissues, such as skin, hair, and bones.

How Does It Work?

Different positions of the fingers have the ability to close or clear the energy channels. In addition, performing this or that mudra, we affect the biologically active points of the palms and fingers.

Mudras were invented for the correct redirection of energy in the body, for the control of prana, and for changing the psycho-emotional state. Also, with their help, you can eliminate problems in the body and the mind by pressing on particular acupuncture points.

Connecting the fingers in certain combinations, you can activate the meridians and direct energy throughout the body, restore the flow of energy and eliminate “breakdowns” in diseased organs. Thus, each position of the hands has its own meaning and can benefit us if we learn to use this knowledge correctly.

The acupressure points located on the tips of all five fingers have the ability to influence the proportion of the corresponding element within the body. The tip of the thumb is linked to the fire element, the tip of the index finger to the air element, the tip of the middle finger to the ether element, the tip of the ring finger to the earth element, and the tip of the little finger to the water element.

Fingers Corresponding to the 5 Elements image

The tip of the thumb when brought in contact with the tip of any one of the other four fingers fires up the augmentation of the corresponding element inside the body. Thus, in Prithvi mudra, we bring the tip of the ring finger (which represents the earth element) in contact with the tip of the thumb (which represents the fire element) so that the proportion of the earth element can be balanced by enhancing its proportion within the body.

Prithvi mudra helps balance both the elements – earth and fire – as it increases the element of earth and decreases the element of fire within the body.

Prithvi Mudra Benefits

This powerful mudra helps:

  • heal chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, weight loss, convalescence or paralysis, burning sensations throughout the body, ulcers, and nail, hair or skin issues
  • grounding
  • increase mental stability
  • build and invigorate bones, nails, skin, muscles, and hair
  • enhance the kapha in the body
  • reduce the pitta in the body
  • stimulate the Muladhara chakra
  • prevent hair loss
  • reduce cholesterol
  • maintain healthy digestion
  • boost confidence
  • enhance the sense of security and stability
  • calm the mind and uplift the spiritual experience
  • boost the immunity
  • balance an overactive thyroid
  • heal cuts and wounds, bone fractures, and brittle nails faster
  • increase the density of the bones
  • restore equilibrium and trust

Moreover, Prithvi is the mudra of protection. If you suffer from the strong pressure of the surrounding world, if events or specific people take away your peace, perform the Prithvi mudra and you will feel under the protection of the natural forces. It helps to relieve stress quickly.

This powerful mudra can also provide emergency assistance in moments of a nervous breakdown, hysteria, or severe stress. Regular practice of this mudra will help you to achieve inner harmony and improve your self-esteem.

Who Shouldn’t Practice Prithvi Mudra?

Prithvi mudra is not recommended for:

How to Perform?

Prithvi Mudra Image

Sit in any comfortable and stable seated meditation posture, such as padmasana (Lotus Pose) or sukhasana (Easy Pose). Then connect the tips of the ring fingers with the tips of the thumbs on each hand, whilst extending the other fingers straight.

Additional instructions:

  • Remove any jewellery or watch from the arms before practicing Prithvi Mudra
  • Begin with practicing this mudra for about a minimum of 10 minutes to 30 minutes every day in the morning or in the evening. For therapeutic benefits, practice Prithvi mudra for a minimum of 30-40 minutes every day.
  • In order to reap maximum benefits from practicing Prithvi mudra, perform it in the early morning between 4 am to 6 am.
  • Prithvi Mudra can be combined with the pranayama practice for better results and can also be done in standing position or while sitting in a chair.
  • Make sure you practice Prithvi mudra on an empty stomach – keep a gap of at least 4 hours between your last meal and the time of practice. 

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