Seva (Selfless Service) – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Yoga Lifestyle & Ethics Glossary

I. What is Seva (Selfless Service)?

Seva, also known as selfless service, is a concept deeply rooted in the teachings of yoga. It is the act of performing acts of kindness and service without expecting anything in return. Seva is a way to cultivate compassion, humility, and selflessness in our lives. It is a practice that goes beyond the physical postures of yoga and extends into our daily interactions with others.

II. Why is Seva Important in Yoga Practice?

Seva is an essential aspect of yoga practice because it helps us to move beyond our own self-centered desires and connect with the greater good. By serving others without expecting anything in return, we cultivate a sense of unity and interconnectedness with all beings. Seva helps us to break free from the ego and the illusion of separateness, leading us to a deeper understanding of our true nature.

III. How Does Seva Benefit the Practitioner?

Practicing seva has numerous benefits for the practitioner. It helps to cultivate a sense of gratitude and compassion, as we become more aware of the needs of others. By serving others, we also develop a sense of purpose and fulfillment that goes beyond our own personal desires. Seva can also help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, as we shift our focus from ourselves to the well-being of others.

IV. What are Some Examples of Seva in Daily Life?

There are countless ways to practice seva in our daily lives. Some examples include volunteering at a local charity or organization, helping a neighbor in need, or simply offering a kind word or gesture to someone who is struggling. Seva can also be practiced through acts of kindness towards animals and the environment, such as volunteering at an animal shelter or participating in a beach clean-up.

V. How Can One Incorporate Seva into Their Yoga Practice?

Incorporating seva into your yoga practice can be as simple as dedicating your practice to a specific cause or intention. You can also seek out opportunities to volunteer or serve others in your community. By practicing seva on and off the mat, you can deepen your connection to the practice of yoga and cultivate a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment in your life.

VI. What is the Difference Between Seva and Karma Yoga?

Seva and Karma Yoga are closely related concepts, but there are some key differences between the two. While seva is the act of selfless service performed without expecting anything in return, Karma Yoga is the path of selfless action performed with a sense of duty and detachment. In Karma Yoga, the focus is on performing actions without attachment to the results, whereas in seva, the focus is on serving others without expecting anything in return. Both practices are important aspects of the yoga tradition and can help us to cultivate a deeper sense of connection and purpose in our lives.