Father Joe Pereira is a Indian Roman Catholic priest, a beloved senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher, and a social worker who worked closely with Mother Theresa for decades. He founded the Kripa Foundation, which offers holistic-oriented programs for the rehabilitation of HIV patients and people affected by substance abuse.
I met Father Joe a few years ago and we spoke about the role of service in yogic life. He told me:
Service is a natural outcome of a practitioner who looks at this practice as a gift.… you can’t keep it to yourself, you want to share it with somebody…Mother Theresa started by getting this inspiration that people are thirsty for love. And the people who were not being loved is where [she fulfilled] the thirst of God in them.… I must know where this urge to help should be oriented. I must first have a mindset. Then I will find a place or a person who needs this help.
Just as light by its very nature diffuses darkness, when we adopt the mindset of service we look for ways to share the gifts of our practice with others.
There’s little doubt that a sincere yoga practice, over time, is likely to build our self-reliance and our capacity to be of service. The question is, how will we choose to radiate that light? How will we direct it, and in doing so, perhaps inspire others to discover it for themselves?
Our free, online bonus content is designed to complement and enrich your experience of Evolving Your Yoga. Resources like video pose tutorials, downloadable journaling prompts, breathwork, guided visualizations, and more will support your exploration of each of the Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice.