Seva means selfless service in Sanskrit. Seva is doing something for others without a need for something in return. In the yoga community we talk about this often. Many teachers believe that being a yoga teacher is a form of Seva, I would agree. However, there are many different ways to be of service in the community.
You can choose to do something large, like start a non-profit or volunteer to mentor someone. You can do something small, like give a blanket to a homeless person.
Just like when a pebble is dropped in a lake and the ripples reach all the way to the shore, all actions have lasting effects. We can’t even begin to understand how deep and far the ripples might go. Part of Seva is just dropping the pebble, with loving kindness, and letting the ripples take it from there.
Of course it must be noted that in order to be of service you must take care of yourself first, you can’t pour from an empty cup! Healing yourself, taking time out to recharge, is also a form of service. When you are stronger and more in balance so is everyone around you.
Since yoga believes that we are all one, all connected, when we are in service to others we are also in service to ourselves. By helping the community, either one person at a time or on a larger scale, we are helping all of humanity.
Text by Christina Raskin
Photo by @stefan.beyeler