Sadhana as Service

Recently I posted a comment on Toronto Body Mind to participate in the growing dialogue among Toronto yoga teachers.  I’m very interested in the idea of sadhana (whatever our practice is) as a kind of service by emanation, as well as small acts of kindness as service as opposed to more ‘grandiose’ forms of overt service.  So, I wrote as follows – a few thoughts.


Yes, very interesting – yoga is about vidya – seeing things as they really are. To do this usually we need to both challenge outmoded habits and nurture emotional wellness. Service begins at home. So to serve others, we often need to begin by learning how to best serve out bodies and minds (though asana, pranayama, mantra, meditation and diet perhaps). As clarity comes, we radiate that change and emit a positive rather than a destructive charge, we seek to help others to alleviate their own suffering etc. Rarely is the search for self actualization actually solely selfish. As you say, we are interconnected and interdependent. If we are feeling unwell emotionally, or we are suffering, that affects others around us. Service also does not go only in one direction. Because we are practicing yoga and mindfulness does not mean we are the helpers and others are the recipients of our service. In my experience as we take on different roles and challenges in life we are both the offerer and the recipient of community support. Having children for example, aging, becoming disabled. Yoga and that clear seeing support us in all situations, but we often also need to share in the support of the communities in our lives, as we may seek to support others when we are able. To all those single, able bodies yogis out there – yes, serve others, but with the knowledge that you may also be in a position to require service of others at some point in your life – let service not be ego driven. Also, may we serve those amongst us who may not seem in need, simply by loving those around us who may be in silent suffering of the feeling of isolation. A kind word at a satsang gathering, a welcoming gesture to all!! Let’s truly be a yoga community and nurture and care for each other. This will create more strength and vision to help out in the wider community.


Hari Om!



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tiziana Stupia
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 23:40:22

    Totally agree with you here, Chetana. It’s often the small acts of kindness that can catalyze the greatest change, and it’s important to remember that when we heal ourselves, the world around us heals, too. Hari Om.


  2. Janice soderholm
    Nov 21, 2010 @ 08:42:05

    Thank you for the reminder Chetana, I appreciate your time to share these thoughts.


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