The celebration of love has become an industry. Valentine’s Day has become a lucrative marketing opportunity. For many of us, it’s the occasion where we go out of our way to show that special someone just how special they really are.
However, this special day actually originated from the Feast of Saint Valentine, a day set aside to commemorate the life and work of Saint Valentine of Rome who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. Nothing to do with romantic love then and everything to do with love in action through selfless service.
Romantic love is wonderful thing. It’s worth celebrating. Falling in love and staying in love are incredible gifts that we should never take for granted.
But let’s never lose sight of the fact that love is much broader and deeper than red roses and chocolates and romantic weekends in the country. Love is all around. Love is being translated into acts of selfless service all over the world every single day.
Seva yoga is a yogic principle that encapsulates this love in action. Seva is a Sanskrit word which describes the art of selfless service. Seva yoga is a combination of Karma yoga, the yoga of action, and Bhakti yoga, the yoga of love and devotion. When you perform Seva yoga, you renounce your own selfish desires and instead, give your time, energy and resources to the greater good.
Maybe you have spent some time in an ashram, where residents of the ashram serve the community with no thought for personal gain. But Seva yoga is not limited to a particular setting. Any of us can practise Seva yoga any time, any place. Any act can become Seva yoga, if it is performed selflessly for the benefit of others.
The Yogamatters High Five Initiative celebrates and supports five projects across the world which demonstrate love in action in a practical, transformative way. These projects are changing lives. The countless, selfless individuals serving with Ashok Tree Foundation, Brighton Yoga Foundation, Edinburgh Community Yoga, Mind and Prison Phoenix Trust are all doing an incredible work. Have a look at our recent update – High Five Initiative Update January 2018 – for a reminder of what each of these fantastic organisations has been up to in the last year.
One important way in which each one of us can support the work of these life-changing projects is to offer financial support. Yogamatters offers you the opportunity to donate at checkout to one of these charities each time you make a purchase. However, this Valentine’s Day, Yogamatters is pledging to match any donations made at checkout, to celebrate the love in action through selfless service that these projects demonstrate in such a tangible and effective way every single day.
This Valentine’s Day, we hope that you will be able to celebrate love wherever it is to be found.
We hope that you will experience love in action in your own life and have the opportunity to explore what Seva looks like for you today.
We hope that you will donate to one of the projects in our High Five Initiative so that Yogamatters can match your donation and double the impact of your contribution.
We hope that these chosen initiatives will, with your help and our help, be able to continue the vital work of selfless service that they have been called to do and carry out so well.