by Danielle Schwartz
The first time I was introduced to the word SEVA I was visiting an ashram in 2008. My friend had taken me there to get a hug from his guru, which seemed simple enough to me. It turned out I was there to get more than a hug. I was there to learn about selfless service.
There were hundreds, if not thousands of people there that day. I had no idea what to expect, but this horde of devotees far exceeded my imagination. As we waded through crowds, I was in awe of the energy everyone exuded. We passed dozens and dozens of people and many greeted us with “aum namah shivaya” and a bow. (This was also the first time I was introduced to a mantra.) The air was slightly humid from a recent rain and filled with perfumed incense. The whole vibe was slightly overwhelming for me, as we made the ½ mile or so trek on a muddy dirt road from the parking lot to check in.
I didn’t know until we got to the front of the line that we weren’t checking in for a hug, we were checking in for SEVA. My friend has always been one to trick me into new experiences, so when we got to the front of the Seva line and met people with clipboards doling out assignments, I suppose I should have known better. Seva is the Sanskrit word that loosely translates to “Selfless Service”. Oftentimes Seva is equated with volunteerism, but I believe it is so much more than that.
Seva is about giving with your heart - giving of your heart. Serving others from a place of gratitude. Being of service to your community and strangers alike. My Seva experience at the ashram that day opened my heart to giving in new ways. From there I began volunteering at a gift economy restaurant. I built a website for folks to share their skills with others - just for the sake of sharing their knowledge. I’ve hosted community events to bring people together to learn and give and exchange. And now, through this gift - Audacious Wellness Academy, we are able to continue giving to our communities, offering our services through free courses on our website and bonus materials in our Facebook group. Our goal is to share several free courses with you every year. Provide an opportunity for more people to learn about and experience yoga in their lives, as a gift from our hearts.
To see which free courses we’re currently offering, please visit our COURSE page here.
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Gail Allen and Danielle Schwartz are both 500-RYT yoga professionals trained in Hatha and Kundalini Yoga. They specialize in Holistic, Trauma-Informed Counseling, Chakra Healing, Curvy Yoga, Reiki | Energy Healing, Ayurvedic Science, and other modalities of healing.