The Beauty of Karma Yoga

As the ignorant men act from attachment to action, O Bharata, so should the wise act without attachment, wishing welfare to the world.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, Verse 25

This beautiful quote from the Bhagavad Gita tells us already everything that we need to know about karma yoga.

1. Karma Yoga has to do with “Action”

Karma Yoga is one of the four yogic paths to liberation – by the means of action. It is something that you do not only do on your mat but in your everyday life. This makes it a great practice also for the most busy people – especially since LITERALLY ANY activity can become your karma yoga!

Help Animal Shelter

2. Karma Yoga has to do with “Attachment”

Or rather Non-Attachment. What distinguishes a “normal” activity performed by an ignorant man to one performed by a wise man? The ignorant man works for the fruits or the outcome of the action, be it a reward, or to avoid a punishment. But the wise man is not interested in the fruits of his labour, because he knows that he is not the one who does anything or earns anything.

3. The Karma Yogi wishes good to others

So if ANY action can be yogic and the yogi knows that he doesn’t perform any action by himself so why should he still engage in doing good things for others? Exactly why? Because he who knows his true Self doesn’t need anything and therefore he can do what he really came here for: to help others escape their own suffering.

Visiting the Elderly

4. How to perform Karma Yoga?

Do good to others. Help them in their suffering and you will forget your own suffering. But don’t be interested in the outcome. Forget about rewards and punishments and only BE right in the action. Observe what is being done – and maybe you will even see that you are not the one that is doing it? 🙂

Collecting Trash

Did you fall in love with Karma Yoga and want to know more about it?

In our Yoga Teacher Training from March 16th to April 13th 2014 we will not only have more detailed lectures on Karma Yoga but we will get active as well! Sushumna Yoga Teacher Training is recognised and accredited by Yoga Alliance (World based) and Yoga Alliance International (India based), and taught by 5 highly respected teachers in their field.

See contacts below for more information!

Are you still looking for a way to do Karma Yoga?

Then we have a special suggestion for you: Come and join us in building our new shala!

Do you already have experiences in Karma Yoga?

What are your thoughts on Karma Yoga? Do you have anything that you want to share about it with us?
If so, we would be so happy if you could share your experience with us:

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What to expect from a yoga teacher training in India

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” – Mark Twain.

Saraswati_final with borderIt is commonly known that yoga originated in India. The origin of yoga can be traced back over 5,000 years to the very foundation of the Indian civilization; however, we have now reached the 21st century and we might ask ourselves if this heritage is still topical.

After being dedicated to yoga for five years, in which time I studied and learned with some great western teachers, I decided to go to India to study Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore with my Guruji, the late Shi K Pattabhi Jois. Afterwards I felt that I wanted to make India my permanent home. I moved there in 2005 and am glad that I did it. India is a very vibrant and diverse country and doing your teacher training there will be a truly unique experience. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn both about yourself and this vast country.

Indian weather will allow you to practice outside from early morning till evening surrounded by palm trees, clear blue skies and a pleasant breeze. You will feel wonderful energies that you would never find anywhere else in the world, and you will be able to detach yourself from the rest of the world and focus on your inner self through their whole teacher trainings.

Having a full “mind, body and spirit” experience will change you, strengthen you and encourage you to find harmony through all three factors. You will learn what it means to be in synch in your life as you move you closer to your true inner S.E.L.F. (your Serene, Elevated, Luminous Force).

India is a very spiritual country. There are temples and spiritual areas everywhere. Yoga is not only about asana practice, there are also the eight limbs of yoga. Being in India will enable you to explore each of them deeply and fully while feeling a connection to the place where yoga was born. 
Being in India will help you to detach yourself from the material world and will allow you to work on your ego, which is a hothouse of discontentment. Even though the country is evolving very fast, problems such as hot water and power cuts happen regularly and being in India will teach you patience and acceptance with a myriad of things, just the way they come. It is very important to let go sometimes and stop stressing about so many details, comforts and unnecessary needs.

Choosing India for your teacher training is also a great opportunity to take your training further and travel. You will get more out of the experience by combining travelling and learning.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – The Way of Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

Meeting local people, discovering a new and varied culture and learning about your inner self will make you grow more than you think, and these experiences will enable you to become a brilliant teacher for all the right reasons.

So what are you waiting for? Come to India and become a yoga teacher, Indian style! ”

The article was published by My Yoga Online (click  here for the article) on the 21st of October 2013. Read more on My Yoga Online

5 tips to prepare yourself for a yoga teacher training

When summer comes to a close, kids get ready for their first day of school. This first day of school requires careful preparation and it’s a moment of great excitement, not only for the little ones starting their first grade, but also for the “big” ones starting their first teacher training in a school, in a Yoga school.

How do you know when you are ready?

You know that kids go to school when they turn 6 or 7. However, when you decide if you are ready for a Yoga teacher training or not, age is not a criterion at all, not even the “age” of your practice. Young or experienced, yoga beginner or super-advanced, you will find a Yoga teacher training that suits you as soon as you feel you are prepared for such a course.

How do you know precisely when you are ready for a yoga teacher training? I believe a student knows s/he is ready for Yoga Teacher training by looking at the burning desire to dive into the eight limbs of yoga. One needs to have a burning passion (rajas) and true desire to embrace all eight limbs of yoga, not just the asana practice which is only one of them. This should be considered before embarking on any Yoga Teacher Training. I think that it is more important to have a daily practice or start doing one than the ability to do advanced asana, although a certain level should have been attained, at least a level two in classes. However the ability to have an open mind, strong body and a great desire to learn and good knowledge of how your body feels when practicing asana is a great starting point too.

Preparation tips for Yoga Teacher Training 

There are a couple of tips for you to prepare for the wonderful learning journey of Yoga teacher training. The following tips will help you prepare not only for the first day of the teacher training programme but will set up the basis for your entire yoga journey.Sonja Appel at Sushumna Teacher Training

  1. Read through some Yoga literature in order to get familiar with the key concepts. Ask if there is a reading list recommended by the Yoga school where your teacher training takes place and try as much as possible to go through it before the course. During the course, you would be so busy with the practice and the study of the textbooks that there will be no time left for extra curriculum readings
  2. Get in touch with recent graduates to know what to expect from your Yoga school: how is the place like, what should you bring with you, daily schedule, classes structure, teaching methods, teachers, is there a “silent day”, what kind of food will be served for meals. Ask your Yoga school if it can provide you with alumni contacts who could be a valuable insightful support in preparing your trip and setting up your expectations for the teacher training course. Furthermore, talking to alumni, other yogis or yoga teachers will boost your motivation and inspire you to get the best out of the course.
  3. Spend some time working on the asana. As soon as your application is successful, this is the time when you really start to prepare. In my opinion, one can only teach to the level of his/her own daily practice. So, what I recommend before embarking on a teacher training course is asana practice 6 days a week, one day of rest and if you do Mysore self –practice; rest is taken on the moon days too, which is twice a month. No inversions at that certain ‘time of the month’ for women. Practicing with full mind/body awareness will not tire you out as you should never push your body in yoga. I encourage you to always practice ahimsa – non violence, in thought, word and action.
  4. Give yourself time for the learning process. Learning occurs differently for each of us and in different time spans. Reflecting on your learning process would help you understand how you function as a learner (what is the most helpful for your understanding – to see it, hear it or try it?) and then enhance your learning based on what you know about yourself.
  5. You may want to buy a notebook more than the ones counted on the list received from your kid’s teacher. You will need a notebook and some pencils just for yourself. Prepare your notebook for taking notes during the classes and for journaling. Inspiration, thoughts and reflections may pop up and it’s good to have a space to gather them all.


Reading the recommended literature of your yoga school before the course, getting in touch with other yogis, graduates of the yoga school, their teachers or staff, dedicate some of your time to the regular conscious practice of asana and reflect on your learning process in order to improve it, should support you in the endeavor of becoming a great yoga teacher. This will allow you to enjoy the experience with all your senses. But at the same time, realizing that the five senses can be limiting, if we cannot move beyond them into a more expansive realm, which is the true journey of the yogi.

For all the little ones, and the big ones starting their school this fall, an open mind, a big heart, a strong body and a burning desire to learn will keep up your excitement for the courses. Not only for the first day of school, but for the entire learning journey.

This article, signed by our Executive Director, Gita Sahni, was published on YogiTimes based on an interview with Sonja Appel

Yoga Teacher Training in India – are you ready or not?

For particular actions in our life, we know exactly when we are ready because nature or social conventions taught us so:

  • Kids are ready to go to school when they turn 6 or 7
  • Cherries are ready to be picked when they have a reddish color
  • A baby is ready for a night’s sleep after being fed
  • You are prepared to teach after you have successfully graduated a teacher training.

However, when you decide or think you are ready for a yoga teacher training or not, age, nature or social conventions are not criteria at all: not even the “age” of your practice, what the others say about you or if it is a “yoga season” or not. Young or experienced, yoga beginner or super-advanced, you will find a Yoga teacher training that suits you as soon as you feel you are prepared for such a course.


How do you know precisely when you are ready for a yoga teacher training?

Sonja Appel, Founder and leading teacher at Sushumna Yoga in Goa, India, affirms that a student knows they are ready for a yoga teacher training by having a desire to dive into all the aspects of what yoga truly means.

“Of course one needs to have a burning passion (rajas in sanskrit) and true desire to embrace all eight limbs of yoga, not just the asana practice which is only one of them. This should be considered before embarking on any Yoga Teacher Training. I think that it is more important to have a daily practice or start doing one than the ability to do advanced asana, although a certain level should have been attained, at least a level two in classes. However the ability to have an open mind, strong body and a great desire to learn and good knowledge of how your body feels when practicing asana is a great starting point too.”

For those of you who have discovered in your heart the burning passion for yoga and feel ready for our yoga teacher training in India, at Sushumna Yoga there are two upcoming events that may interest you:

1) Sushumna Teacher Training – 300+ Hours

Dates: 16th March  to 13th April 2014
Place: Sushumna Yoga Retreat in Goa, India
More information: Click Here

2) 100 hours Yoga Immersion 

Brief: Yoga Immersion in Ashtanga & Vinyasa Flow & Yogic Philosophy with Anand Semalty and  Sonja Appel.
Dates: 12th to 26th January 2014
Place: Sushumna Yoga Retreat in Goa, India
More information: Click Here

Article retrieved from Yoga Curious Blog, published on September 2, 2013.  Read more articles on Yoga Curios here.

You – Your Ego -Yoga

Ego is like a sphere that covers you and does not allow you to stay in peace with your inner higher self. It blocks you from feeling complete, loved, peaceful, natural, calm and benign. This sphere pushes you to criticize, to complain, to feel superior or overly important; encourages you to spread anger, feel insulted when disagreed; requires you to win every argument, show that you are right. It makes you feel a lack of confidence; it radiates fear, aggression, and mistrust.
We are taught since childhood to wish for something, to want something. It is good to have wishes, dreams; to achieve them, to follow them. But somewhere in our life it becomes a wish to have more material things, to have a better car than your brother, build a fancier house than your neighbor, let your kids to a prestige kindergarten, buy branded clothes, just because it instantly shows your income level and adds you to a certain brand community. But at the end of the day we fundamentally just want to be happy, healthy, calm and free. And these feelings cannot be achieved in any other way than spending time with yourself and working with yourself, teaching and showing yourself the right way to live, right way to be.

Learning from Yoga as a philosophy and a way of life, doing your practices and forming, creating yourself, you can become free of ego. Yoga helps you to look at yourself, focus on yourself and solve problems you have by yourself as well as letting you to actually discover who you are. Living in peace with your true self gives you freedom from tension, anxiety to be in a group, a need to be right.

Your ego is a milestone of majority of your problems and feelings that you don’t want to feel – greediness, jealousy, fear. In order to be able to live as a strong and calm individual soul you should achieve egoless phase without rating yourself in your daily life according to achievements, looks, behavior or opinions of other people; without requiring the universe to act in your way, without major disappointments, without limitless complaints and destructive feelings. When through your meditation and yoga you get to know yourself ego has no place to exist.

 Once you have disidentified from your mind, whether you are right or wrong makes no difference to your sense of self at all, so the forcefully compulsive and deeply unconscious need to be right, which is a form of violence, will no longer be there. You can state clearlyand firmly how you feel or what you think, but there will be no aggressiveness or defensiveness about it. ( Eckhart Tolle)