Definition - What does Seva Yoga mean?
Seva yoga is a yogic method which focuses on the mind rather than the body, in the same way that a physical asana practice would. Seva is a Sanskrit word which describes the art of selfless service. When you perform Seva yoga, you renounce your own selfish desires and, instead, give your time and energy to the greater good.
Ashrams are typically places where students practice Seva yoga. Residents of the ashram serve the community and help to share and develop the teachings of their students without attachment to their individual gain. However, anyone can practice Seva yoga, as any act can become Seva yoga if it is performed selflessly for the benefit of others.
Yogapedia explains Seva Yoga
The essence of Seva yoga is said to be encapsulated by the roots of the word. Seva comes from the Sanskrit words saha, meaning “with that,” and eva, meaning “too.” Thus, seva means “together with.”
The act of selfless service leads to collective benefit and gain even though it is performed without regard for the outcome of the individual. In performing acts selflessly, one must confront his/her own difficulties, resistance and negativity. One learns to recognize personal thought patterns and behaviors, as well as different facets of his/her personality. Through this heightened self-awareness, one can surrender the aspects of his/her personality that are no longer serving him/her and find an inner peace which is not dependent on or influenced by external factors.
It is said that Seva yoga is a combination of Karma yoga, the yoga of action, and Bhakti yoga, the yoga of love and devotion. In practicing Seva yoga, one serves others with his/her actions and does it with an attitude of pure, selfless love.