Karma yoga is the yoga of action or work. Its aim is to bring about integration, harmony and union through action. It is a yogic path that is open to everyone, for we all have to work and perform various activities, whether physical or mental. In fact, it is most suitable for the modern, activity oriented world and is ideal for those of us who find it easier to do something than nothing, which is everyone, for there is nobody who can do absolutely nothing. It is impossible. There must always be some form of action, even if it is sleeping, day dreaming or trying to do nothing. It is through karma yoga that we can start to practise yoga twenty-four hours a day utilizing our actions as a means to gain higher awareness.
The significance of karma yoga is usually overlooked by newcomers to yoga and even by people who have been practising other forms of yoga, such as raja yoga and hatha yoga, for many years. The regular practice of yoga techniques for a fixed time every day brings many benefits. Yet one should try to practise yoga throughout the whole day. This is possible through karma yoga. Asanas, pranayama, meditational techniques, etc. bring wonderful results, experiences and knowledge, but one must relate these inner experiences, obtained during these practices, to everyday life. It is for this reason that we have introduced karma yoga at a reasonably early stage in the book - to enable you to put it into practice to the best of your ability. In this way, you will gain much more from the more tangible yoga techniques that you practise every day, including kriya yoga in the future.
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