Seva – The Practice of Selfless Service

The Sankrit word “Seva” means “selfless service.”  It refers to service which is done without any expectation of payment or reward.  In ancient India, Seva was considered to aid in one’s spiritual growth while simultaneously helping society.  Seva is like a one way street where you give without any hope of receiving.  Perhaps the only thing received is the joy of giving.

In alignment with Seva, Harmony Yoga has cultivated a culture of giving.  Currently we are collecting school supplies for underprivileged schools in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand in cooperation with Kelly Donovan, a Harmony Yoga student and math teacher at Mira Costa High School.  Kelly is overseeing a service trip in February to visit underprivileged schools and spend time teaching, learning, and delivering much needed school supplies to children.  Should you wish to donate school supplies, there is a collection box in the lobby.  Harmony Yoga is also hosting a fundraiser for Magic of Mobility, a club run by South High Schools students.  Introduced by Mara Nadeau, a Harmony Yoga student and senior at South High School, these students are dedicated to delivering wheelchairs to desperate people with crippling disabilities in developing countries.  You can join their benefit yoga class on November 29th at 3:00pm and help give the gift of mobility.  Finally, on December 20th, Harmony is holding the annual Winter Solstice Mala where 108 Sun Salutations are completed in conjunction with the shortest day of the year.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Heal the Bay, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making Southern California waters and watersheds safe, healthy and clean.

Seva, however, does not just encompasses grand gestures.  You can practice Seva in small ways every day.  For example, give a heartfelt “thank you” to your letter carrier, smile at a cashier, offer a kind word to a stranger, stop and listen to your elderly neighbor, give blood, or simply ask “How can I help.”  Leo Buscaglia, self-help author, reminds us that, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring…all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  We regularly see Seva in our community with citizens volunteering at food banks, their place of worship, or schools.  Seva also has the added benefit of pulling your attention away from yourself by concentrating on another.  It is hard to be in a bad mood or have a glum day when you are not thinking about yourself but focusing on another. 


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