Above is a photo of Jonathon Chapman from The Bridges Homeless Shelter and me from the 2014 ‘Socks and Knickers Drive for the Bridges clients.’
Karma Yoga can be defined as the yoga of selfless action, and it is this time of giving at Christmas many selfless actions take place. It seems Christian charity and Karma Yoga has much in common.
Several books have been written on the subject of smilarities between Karma Yoga and Christianity, such as ‘Jesus in the Lotus’ by Russill Paul. An excerpt from the Introduction in the book offers Paul’s unique perspective. “Twenty-five years ago I heard the call. In responding to it, I became a bridge between traditions, starting by becoming a Benedictine monk in a monastery that fully expressed itself in the culture of Yoga. I lived and studied under a gurulike figure who was also the abbot of a Christian monastery. Interestingly, my own ancestry is both Hindu and Christian, and through my life as a monk in this Hindu-Christian monastery, I discovered that Yoga and Christianity can benefit each other, and that both offer the spiritual seeker important insights.”
I feel compelled here to state that yoga is not a religion, but a spirituality that can be applied to all religions. In fact, historically yoga has spanned Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sikh faiths in India. Later Sufi’s appeared as Muslim gurus, and now there are an abundance of Christian-based yoga studios across North America. A dear friend and student of our studio Kristine Ridler has certified as a Holy Yoga Instructor in a Christian-based Yoga Teacher Training School.
BIM students once again, as they have for so many years now, rallied to the cause over the month of November and donated packaged socks and underwear for The Bridges Homeless Shelter in Cambridge. I had the privilege of transporting three hockey bags full to the Shelter Saturday, December 3. When I got to the Shelter that morning there was an event. The Walk-A-Thon to raise funds for the Shelter’s operational costs had just finished up with a celebration including a live musical performance. It was so wonderful to deliver the contribution from our BIM students during this occasion. The staff at The Bridges were extremely grateful.
Reflecting on the efforts made by so many in our community to help the less fortunate reinforced the meaning of Christmas and this correlation to Karma Yoga. I would like the students at BIM to know just how much it meant to the staff at The Bridges Homeless Shelter to once again have the much needed items for their clients. However you celebrate this holiday season I wish you the best, and I thank the BIM students for all the help in yet another karmic project.