“Karma Yoga alone is enough to save your soul. You won’t have to force yourself to serve others if you know the benefits of such service. The greatest joy in life is doing something for somebody else…Whether it’s day or night, you won’t want to miss the supreme joy of dedicated service.” – Swami Satchidananda
Swami Satchidananda said it best, “The greatest joy in life is doing something for somebody else.”
Now that we have made the commitment to teach the powerful and life-altering tools of a regular yoga practice to children, more than ever, we must keep our minds grounded and centered on the eight limb path… After all, yoga is so much more than just asanas! If you’re following your Kidding Around Yoga outline you know the outstanding tools we teach our kids in each and every class: meditation, concentration, pranayama, physical movement, stress management, kindness, compassion… the list goes on!
One of the most powerful lessons we share with the children we teach is the joy of selfless service. Karma yoga connects all living things like nothing else can. By being karma yogis we are not only improving ourselves but also the world we live in for future generations. Of course, the best (and easiest) way to teach selfless service to kids is by example!
Having recently returned from my third opportunity teaching at Camp Harmony, more than ever I am centered and filled with gratitude for the opportunity to share this amazing gift of yoga with underserved and impoverished children. I have truly never been more humbled by an experience in my life. United in Harmony is a non-profit organization centered around inspiring and empowering youth in Los Angeles County who are living well below the poverty line and often times homeless. Twice a year, Camp Harmony allows these very deserving kids a real sleep away camp experience where they can play, learn, and grow in a safe and loving environment. The time spent away from everyday stress is immeasurable to these children who lack the everyday stability that many of us take for granted. In addition to three solid meals each day—a feature of Camp Harmony that too many children claim will be “what they miss the most” at the end of the week—campers enjoy swimming, hiking, ropes courses, basketball, campfires, talent shows, movies, and of course, YOGA!
It is truly bittersweet seeing the same campers year after year, knowing that the absence of change in their situations has allowed them the opportunity to return for another Camp Harmony round. Even still, there is nothing more rewarding than dozens of young yogis yelling out to you upon arrival, “Yoga lady! I remember! Peace Begins with ME!” Because they have so much stress and turmoil in their day-to-day lives, these children hold tight to the lessons we teach… lessons of peace, loving kindness, harmony, and love for ourselves and each other. Of course, the songs, games, and partner poses keep them coming back as well. Without fail, our male counselors, in an attempt to spread joy and always laughter, have to at least TRY and master a Triple Bunk Bed at least once!
Although it is no easy feat to take ten days away from work and family, fly across the country, and teach six hours of kids yoga a day, there is no doubt in my mind that we are changing the whole world (one sad, angry, scared, frustrated, lonely, stressed out child at a time). And while we do all of this as an act of service for THEM, undoubtedly WE are changed as well. Renewed, restored, humbled and reassured that this gift we have to share is MOST powerful…and one that we should give away as often as possible for not just them, but also the pure immeasurable joy brought only by TRUE selfless service.
If you are interested in more information on how YOU can help fund Kidding Around Yoga and future trips to Camp Harmony contact Kidding Around Yoga today!