Karma Yoga and Seva-study Program

Karma Yoga and Seva-study Program


Do you want to add meaning to your life?

Seva Study is a residential program in which spiritual volunteers become fully immersed in the ashram for a minimum of one month. The idea of selfless service (seva) is an important concept in all yogic traditions.

Because the Self is perceived as being the other, serving other people is considered an essential devotional practice to open the heart and to expand your idea of your self.  Indeed, Karma yoga is the foundation of all yoga paths.

Therefore, this residential program is designed following that spiritual formula of oneness. As a matter of fact, you will add meaning to your life by this practice selfless service.

At the same time, the seva-study karma yogi will put into practice the yogic teachings of concentration and focus in action.  Furthermore, the participant will learn to sublimate the emotions and practice the teachings of Swami Sivananda “adapt, adjust, accommodate”

Staff serving food during meal time with a smile

Karma Yoga is Selfless Service and all of our Staff are volunteers.

Service is love in expression.

-Swami Sivananda

What is Karma Yoga?

Elevate your self by elevating others

Karma Yoga is the main practice according to Swami Sivananda

“Work done for the individual good binds; work done for the common good releases”
– Swami Sivananda

“You can elevate others only if you have elevated yourself.  A prisoner cannot liberate other prisoners.”
– Swami Sivananda

Keys for Karma Yoga

  1. Right attitude: Work as worship – Have the attitude of offering, humility, and selflessness
  2. Right motive: It’s not what you do that counts but your real motive behind.
  3. Do your duty according to your particular situation
  4. Do your best: You should not hold back from fear of effort required or from fear of criticism.
  5. Give up results: You are not the doer. You are only the instrument.  Detachment from results means freedom.
  6. Serve God and the Self in All.  Love thy neighbor as thyself.
  7. Follow the discipline of the job.  Every work experience has something to teach you.
  8. Qualifications of a karma yogi:  Free from anger, egoism, greed.  Should be generous, amiable, loving, sociable nature, humble, free from hatred, harshness, judgement

Benefits of Practicing Karma Yoga

  • Develop and learn new skills
  • Help personality growth and fulfillment
  • Thin out the ego.  Remove selfishness
  • Overcome likes and dislikes
  • Eliminate prejudices
  • Purify the heart, Feel oneness
  • Become more loving
  • Have a more flexible mind and tolerant attitude
  • Broaden your outlook on life
  • Spiritualize your activities

Karma Yoga Gallery

Develop Yourself 

through Karma Yoga Life

3 girls smiling hold bowls of vegetables

Practicing in a dedicated group can help overcome isolation and give you support to do daily practice of yoga.  You will be empowered by being part of a team of dedicated volunteers.

Be Supported by the Community

Practicing in a dedicated group can help overcome isolation and give you support to do daily practice of yoga.  You will be empowered by being part of a team of dedicated volunteers.  Also, you will be able to channel your energy by serving an international mission of peace.  Furthermore, you will expand your horizons.

Work without stress in Nature

This divine life is set in the clean fresh air and beauty of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  In this beautiful environment, you will discover the secret of success: how activities and work in the right environment with the right attitude are not leading to stress.

The mind will be delighted and soothed contemplating the ashram’s land that is populated by oaks and pines, various shrubs, flowers, berry bushes, and many animals.  Furthermore, you will feel at awe in witnessing the sunset and getting lost in the starry sky.  Working with others is more enjoyable when nobody has a personal motive.

Daily be inspired to be better

Sadhana (spiritual practice) is built in and mandatory.  Indeed it is helpful to be coached and guided in practice and in work.  This life gives you easy access to spiritual counseling and guidance.  You are not alone to fend for yourself.  Learn more about us.


Be Part of a Live Tradition

You will feel daily connected to the sacred teaching of the gurus and feel empowered in following their footsteps.  In fact, the ashram schedule and ways of functioning are passed on by the disciples of the living lineage.  What is being taught in books will be alive in front of you.  Furthermore, you will feel the palpable love and support of the guru through daily interactions and happenings.

Be Part of the Peace Mission of the Founder

Swami Vishnudevananda opened his network of ashrams and centers to enable individuals to learn the art of true peace.  Inner peace leads to outer peace.  Inner peace needs to be cultivated in daily life through self-discipline and controlling the mind.  Be inspired to be part of this network of peace loving and dynamic volunteers knowing that together we are making the world a better place.

“Be the change that you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

Head, Heart, and Hands Together

Karma yoga life is the only way to apply integrally the 4 paths of yoga (karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga, jnana yoga) in daily life.  The head, the heart, and the hands have to pull together to be productive while feeling genuinely happy in the soul.  This is a marvelous way of holistic life leading to well-rounded development.

3 girls smiling sitting down for their food

Swami Vishnudevananda opened his network of ashrams and centers to enable individuals to learn the art of true peace.  Inner peace leads to outer peace.  Inner peace needs to be cultivated in daily life through self-discipline

Karma Yoga Blog

Read our Karma yoga Blog to learn more about what really karma yoga is.

More Information

Daily Schedule

  • Guided morning and evening Satsang (meditation, chanting, lecture)
  • Staff meeting
  • 2 hr  yoga class
  • 2 nutritious vegetarian meals
  • Selfless service: seva-study : 4-5 hours
  • Temp-staff: 6-8 hours
  • Personal time and relaxation
  • Personal study
  • Staff Svadyahya (weekly meeting with senior staff and swamis)


This program is suitable for those who are ready and willing to follow the yogic discipline.  Temp-staff is only for those who have already completed the TTC and are able to commit to a minimum three-month stay.
  • Applicants must be willing to follow the guidance from senior staff members regarding karma yoga duties and spiritual practice
  • Attendance at the morning and evening meditation and one yoga class daily is mandatory.
  • Alcohol, tobacco, meat, fish, eggs, coffee and drugs are prohibited on the premises.


  • October – April: dormitory room is recommended
  • May – September: tenting is recommended, please bring your own tent, airbed and sleeping bag.

Why Not You?


This program is a modern application of the traditional gurukula system where yoga is learned in daily life.  The whole international Sivananda organization is based on the principle of karma yoga.  Please choose your option and apply

1 Month Seva-study Program

  • Phone interview required
  • one month minimum to begin with
  • First week is on a trial basis
  • Can be extended to 3 months
  • Program starts on 1st or 15th of month
  • $700/tent or $900/dorm
  • Partial scholarships available on case to case basis
  • Four to six hours a day of service
  • Daily guidance by teacher
  • Self-study time will be included

3 to 6 months Temp-staff 

  • Must be TTC Graduate
  • Minimum commitment of 3 months
  • Can be extended to 1 year
  • $120 / month for first 3 months
  • Must be ready to serve full-time
  • Sadhana is a must
  • Spiritual Diary is to be submitted
  • Staff Meeting Daily

Short-term Karma Yoga

  • Must be recommended by a yoga teacher
  • Must commit to days and times in advance
  • Repeat visits are encouraged
  • Minimum commitment of 3 – 7 days
  • Can be residential or non-residential
  • 4 hours of service per day
  • Cost is 1/2 guest price
  • All rules apply

Karma Yoga Gardening Focus

  • Phone interview required
  • both short-term and long-term availability
  • First week is on a trial basis
  • Program starts on 1st or 15th of month
  • Short-term – 1/2 guest price
  • For one month – $700/tent or $900/dorm
  • Partial scholarships available on case to case basis
  • 4 hours of service per day
  • Daily guidance by teacher
  • Self-study time will be included

NOTE: A Call to Builders, Gardeners and Maintenance People- the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm seeks people interested in yoga who have practical skills in construction, general maintenance, gardening and landscaping for the ashram’s upkeep.  Sivananda Yoga teachers staying longer than 3 months has also the possibility of assisting and teaching asana classes. 



I read about Sivananda Yoga Farm in a memoir about a year and a half ago and was intrigued. Once I decided to follow my heart and dedicate my life to yoga I knew that the Yoga Farm was where I would do my teacher training. I wanted a full immersion into the classical teachings…to live and experience life in an ashram where I would have the support of teachers, Swamis and other students who felt the same way I did. I got all that and more.

The Yoga Farm is a very special place and you’ll feel it as soon as you arrive. There’s an energy and calmness in the air. Truthfully, I was nervous about spending 30 days away from my husband and everyday life…wondering what it would be like and how I could manage to be away for so long…but as soon as I arrived the fears went away and I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. 

I also formed life long friendships and a true connection to the Ashram that will always be a safe, sacred and most special place to me. It was magical (for lack of a better word) and life changing. I still sit here in awe of the entire experience wishing I could let others see inside my heart so that they might get a glimpse of what wonderful experiences are waiting for them should they decide to check out the Farm. 

Lynn B

December 1, 2014

Seva study at the farm was very helpful in my Sadhana. The people I met there during this time were reflections of the issues and growth that was needed for this Sadhana. People from all over the world and the country showed up with similar issues to work through. The discussions about our personal journeys and how these fit into the daily lectures were co very helpful. I believe that this experience could only happen at the the Yoga Farm and no where else. The daily lectures were very helpful along the path. I recommend that anyone requiring a place for reflection and healing consider the yoga Farm for their Sadhana.

Allen G Corey

July 29, 2018

This is not your typical resort or retreat. This is an ashram, where people live in a spiritual community. The schedule appears undoable at first, but you easily adapt to it. You get up at 5:30 a.m. to a beautiful chant voiced by a staff member running around the ashram with a hand-held bell. First thing in the morning, you meditate and chant. There are two yoga postures classes held in the day, each for two hours. There are two meals a day, and they are organic, fresh and very tasty. 

My advice to you is go to the ashram with an open mind. There are wood cabins for lodging and you also have camping options available. This is not a high-end resort, or a spa. For many, this place might be too rustic, do not expect a luxurious space rather expect to live on a farm. Bring your rustic gear with you like crocs, hiking sticks, and a wide-brimmed hat. 

The teachings date back thousands of years, and have been kept authentic and unaltered throughout the centuries. The first Guru Adi Sankaracharya started this lineage in 600AD. The yoga postures also remain unmodified and are taught in their authentic form. 

nidhi g

December 26, 2016

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