The Principle of Karma…The Yoga Way!

By Claire Diab and Dennis Boyle

Karma is a very important principle in the philosophy of yoga. Karma is a Sanskrit word that means “action.” For every action, there is a “reaction.” It is all about being aware of the choices we are making in every moment. For we are all conscious choice-makers.

The Law of Karma says that, out of an infinity of choices, there is the one perfect choice that will create happiness for yourself and all of those around you. Your body is like an antenna which will send you feelings of comfort and discomfort. For some, the signals come from the solar plexus, the area more commonly referred to as your “gut feeling”; others will feel the signals in the area of the heart.

The Law of Karma will guide us in life as we ask the question, “Will this choice nourish me… will this choice nourish my body, mind, and soul?” Your body is the best guide. You will be led by feeling of comfort and discomfort when making choices. If you just pause and ask yourself that question, you will be guided to the answer either by a feeling in your body, your inner voice, or a symbolic object that is right in front of you.

When we practice being present and noticing the different choices with which we are faced throughout the day, it becomes easy for us to be aware of our inner guidance. When it is a big decision such as, “Do I marry this person?” “Do I take on this new job?” or “Do I move to another state or country?” to the simplest thing of having a cup of coffee, going out to a restaurant, and so on. And, of course, the biggest decision-making choices in your work as a firefighter: the choice to save a person’s life and the choice to run into a burning building. If you pay attention to your body’s signals, it will help you make the best decisions for you and others.

There is a beautiful flow that I created and feel it is the best series of movements that flow with the breath that will ultimately create space in your body for energy to flow more freely and help align all your muscles, bones, and organs.

When you have space in your body, you are more easily able to feel these messages of comfort or discomfort. Please join me for five minutes a day, preferably in the morning before breakfast or before eating dinner, with Sun Salutations and The Six Directions of the Spine.


Claire Diab is an internationally recognized yoga therapist. She is the director of the Yoga Program for the Chopra Center founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon. She is an adjunct professor of Asian Studies at Seton Hall University. She is the author of several books and DVDs on yoga including “Yoga for Firefighters.”

Dennis Boyle is a retired fire director and acting chief with the West Orange (NJ) Fire Department. He was the recipient of the 1999 New Jersey Deputy Fire Chiefs “Fire Officer of the Year” award.