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By Shakta Khalsa
Altruistic service, called seva or karma yoga, is for the most part, unanimously hailed as an important part of Yoga business. In Radiant Child Yoga, we offer training scholarships—usually in the form of work-study, and yoga classes based on donation. We make monthly contributions to several organizations that work with children. I like the feeling I get when we contribute. I also feel glad for all the various ways that other yoga organizations share the wealth of yoga with those who may not have the financial means to participate.
Beyond the idea of service, I have a firm belief that energy is a flow, a give and take. Over the years of working with children and adults, I have found that those who are "underserved" need to be able to give back something in order to honor their own spirit, that spirit that is the same no matter who we are—underserved, over-served, and in between!
My teacher, Yogi Bhajan, always talked about the importance of the energy exchange between people. Those who are being given yoga at no charge need to contribute in some way, whether it is helping with set up, clean up, or bringing a friend. There needs to be something that honors that place where—no matter what our birth circumstances—we are each autonomous, sovereign. This is healthy and creates equality.
I love this quote from Dr. Carla Hannaford, author of Playing in the Unified Field: Raising and Becoming Conscious, Creative Human Beings:
“When we see others in pain, or facing fierce challenges in their lives, empathy and compassion assist us to link with that part of our own humanity. But we can never know the actual function of those challenges or pain for that person. When we label someone less fortunate, we miss seeing his or her mastery and connectedness to the whole. When we tie into this empowered, responsible perspective the prefrontal cortex is more active, allowing us insight.”
Shakta Khalsa is one of the world’s leading experts on children and yoga, having worked with both since the mid-1970s. She is a trained yoga professional at the highest level (ERYT-500), and was named one of the top five Kundalini Yoga teachers in the world by Yoga Journal. She studied under the direct guidance of Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga. She is the author of five well-known yoga books, including the classic Fly Like A Butterfly: Yoga for Children and Kundalini Yoga. Shakta’s two great loves—children and yoga—are the basis for her life work: Radiant Child® Yoga, an internationally-known training program for teaching children yoga and working with/raising children consciously.