Bhagavad Gita Ch 2 Vs 47: The human right is for activity only, never for the resultant fruit of actions. Do not consider thyself the creator of the fruits of thy activities; neither allow thyself attachment to inactivity.
I recently began teaching a class for a non-profit yoga group. The unfortunate truth is that yoga is quite expensive, which prevents a lot of people from trying it. Yoga was meant to be shared freely, as a service to others, and as a way to achieve enlightenment. Of course, for those of us who choose to make a career of it, then we do have to make some money to pay our bills. I believe it is possible to balance the need to make enough money with the greed to make more money. I took on the aforementioned class mainly as karma yoga. I do get a small portion of the proceeds from teaching. But for the most part I am teaching this class to bring more yoga to those who can’t afford it, who are often the ones who need it the most. The class is held at a community rec center. Students pay at most $8 per class, less if they buy a package, and the group has an unwritten policy not to turn down anyone who cannot pay. It is definitely a group that embraces karma yoga.
The day after I taught my first class, I received an email from another student of mine who comes to a class at another location. Her sister, who I will call “Patty,” had recently finished an addiction recovery program and is now working and trying to get her life in order. My student asked me if I knew of any affordable yoga in the area because she felt that Patty could really benefit from it. I love when I see the Universe at work, and I instantly knew that this was one reason I had been called to teach the class at the rec center. So I passed on the information and Patty came to my class the next week. And the next, and this time she brought her roommate too, who is also in recovery. On this particular day, I was tired and did not really feel like teaching that evening. But I had made a commitment and I knew that I was needed for some purpose, so I meditated in the park prior to class and went in with an open mind and full heart. I set my intention to serve others and not think about what I would get in return.
The class went by smoothly. I had only four students so I was able to give lots of individual attention. Patty requested that I repeat a guided meditation that I had read to the class the week prior, so we did some chakra clearing work during savasana. I always close my classes by chanting one “OM” and I invite the students to either listen or join in. I am not a great singer or chanter, but I do my best. On this day, I don’t know where the sound came from for that OM, but it did not feel like it came out of me. I truly became the silent observer, the witness to the power of Source energy. The noise came from my mouth but I felt I had no control over it. This was not a bad feeling, it felt like the sensation of someone that I trust taking care of something for me. I could feel the vibration of love resonate through my entire body. I became peaceful, calm, and happy in an instant. It was a beautiful and amazing experience. I have taught several classes since then at other studios and gyms, and I always close with an OM. However the experience has not been as moving as it was that day.
The irony of acting out of selfless service is that when you do so with pure intention, the Universe finds a way to reward you. It may not be money or fame or anything else that we typically consider as a “reward.” The reward often comes as a feeling of accomplishment, of happiness for someone else, a peace that washes over you, or in my case the best OM I will ever chant. I look forward to having more moments like that as I move forward as a teacher and as a human being, trying to always guide my actions with the intention of service to others. And I trust that the Universe will take care of me along the way.