How can I practice seva in my daily life?

Q:How can I practice seva in my daily life?
A:

Seva, or selfless service, is a wonderful aspect of yoga that we can practice off the mat. Seva is a Sanskrit term that means helping others, without expecting anything in return. It’s something that we all need to practice---each and every day in order to make it a habit.

(Seva could also be a good way of Practicing Aparigraha (Non-Attachment).)

Most Westerners typically expect something in return for their acts of kindness. But with seva, we expect nothing, which makes our acts of generosity that much sweeter.

If you’re wondering how you can build this selfless habit, here are a few fulfilling ways you can integrate seva into your daily life.

Cook for Someone

I love cooking. And one of the ways I practice seva in my daily life is to cook dinner for someone I love---as often as possible. Tonight in fact, I’m having my shiatsu practitioner---a woman I go to once or twice a month---over for dinner. I’m cooking a Middle Eastern lamb stew, as the weather here in blustery Minnesota is deserving of a cozy, warming dish. The spicy stew is simmering on low in my mini slow cooker at the moment. It brings me so much pleasure to cook for others, and it’s a simple way to practice seva in my daily life.

(Or you can try cooking A Simple Kitchari Recipe.)

Donate to a Charity

There are so many wonderful charities out there. All you need to do is pick your cause. I watched my grandmother donate to environmental organizations for years. It made her feel so good writing out those checks to Greenpeace, Doctors Without Borders and the World Wildlife Fund. She expected nothing in return and gained so much happiness from her seva. This is one way you can do the same.

Volunteer Your Time

Do you know someone in need? Perhaps there’s an elderly neighbor down the street who could use a lift to the grocery store. Maybe someone you know is grieving or sick. Bring food, run errands, donate your time in whatever way is needed. There’s always someone out there who could use a helping hand. All you need to do is open your eyes and look around.

Get creative with your daily acts of selfless service. Seva is something you can practice every day. Set the intention to do so, and realize greater fulfillment in your life and the lives of those you serve.

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Written by Aimee Hughes
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Aimee is a yogi and writer who's been practicing yoga daily for more than 21 years. Since a journey to India when she was 20, the practice has been her constant companion. She loves exploring the vast and seemingly endless worlds of yoga. Aimee has also written a book titled, "The Sexy Vegan Kitchen: Culinary Adventures in Love & Sex."

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