Yoga integrates the mind, body and spirit. Karma—a philosophy within yoga that has to do with service, selflessness, and helping others—is an integral part of any practice. In Buddhism and Hinduism, “karma” is the “force created by a person’s actions.” Buddhists and Hindus believe that, good or bad, those actions determine one’s destiny — which is why karma yogis believe in paying kindness forward.
Building karma by assisting others is one of the foremost goals of yoga. Doing this has helped many yoga practitioners find their paths and passions in life. Practicing this part of yoga is something we can be constantly doing, even when we’re not in the studio, working on poses. Karma yoga can be practiced daily, wherever you are. It’s easy: by spreading positivity and acting unselfishly toward every person you come across, whether friends, family members or strangers, you’re practicing karma yoga.
Research shows that thinking positively and acting selfishly helps us in six ways:
We learn faster;
We are more creative;
We are better at problem solving;
We score higher on every test of well-being and life satisfaction;
We thrive physically, even at the cellular level;
And we are more actively engaged in the creative flow state.
We can benefit from karma yoga every day at work by acting generously and graciously towards the people we work with, and by building socially responsible, conscious businesses. According to the Conscious Business Institute, operating a “conscious business” means being aware of the company’s impact on workers, consumers, and on the environment around it. ”Conscious businesses” organically integrate many of the ideals of karma yoga at the office. Usually, that translates to happier employees, who in turn generate better product — and what business doesn’t want that?
A business can make money, be successful, and grow for years while still giving back, providing services, and improving the community around it. Some US companies — such as Whole Foods and Patagonia — have employed those principles, and have thrived because of it. By being socially responsible, business leaders are practicing karma yoga, whether they know it or not.
Building an unselfish community of workers who are eager to work for the greater good will bring good karma to any business. And being an unselfish employee will help you work better, and be happier. So try it! If you’re having a rough day at the office, remember the principles of karma yoga. See? I bet you’re feeling better already.