By Jasia Kiersnowski

Recently I graduated from Union Yoga’s 200 Hr Yoga Teacher Training (YTT).  Before completing my YTT, I was unfamiliar with the teachings of the yoga philosophy. Frankly, I was unaware that yoga goes beyond the actual physical practice or asana.

The process of expanding my knowledge of yoga’s history and philosophy was truly an eye opening experience.

Like many of my yogi peers, I got into yoga for the physical benefits. It was an exercise I could stick to that was rewarding in every way. Once I deepened my understanding of the history and philosophy of yoga, I realized why I felt so uplifted in my mind and spirit after I practiced yoga. As my love for yoga grew, it went way beyond the physical benefits.

One particular teaching from Union’s YTT that really resonated with me was the concept of “seva”.  Seva in Sanskrit means “selfless service”. Essentially, it’s performing a work without the expectation of getting any payment or reward in return.  In ancient India seva was believed to help individual spiritual growth, while at the same time contributing to the improvement of a community. The concept of seva is very closely knit with the philosophy of karma.

Previous to my YTT studies, I always knew karma as “what goes around comes around”, a positive or negative compensation as a result of what one puts out into the world. This is what’s believed in the Bhagavad Gita, an essential text for all yogis. In the YTT we were also taught that karma, the Sanskrit word for ‘action’ also goes beyond ourselves and shows that all beings are connected. Union’s YTT text describes it as, “each action we take has a large ripple effect into the Universe around us. Our karma comes with us”. In other words, our actions, including our good deeds and generosity matter and affect us all, and what we do in this life will affect us in our next life (if you subscribe to that philosophy).

Combining our teachings of seva and karma from our YTT, the newbie teacher trainees here at Union have had the pleasure of conducting weekly karma classes at the studio.

All proceeds from the karma classes at Union go to our neighbourhood woman’s shelter, Sistering (  As a YTT grad, it’s an experience that is genuinely fulfilling because we get to share our recently earned studies with the public in a space we feel very close to and we get to give back to a cause that really matters to our society.

Karma classes are $5 and take place at Union on Thursday’s at 11am and Saturday’s at 5pm.

Karma classes run from now until September 6th until further notice.

Join us!



Jasia Kiersnowski (2017 Union 200 YTT grad)



Photo by Julie Riemersma