Karma Yoga and Philanthropic Adventure Travel

Here in the United States, many of us think of yoga as being primarily a physical discipline. Indeed asanas (physical postures), breathing and meditation are all parts of the Hatha yoga path. However, there are many paths of yoga, and not all of them involve bending into pretzel shapes. A less commonly known path of yoga is karma yoga, or the yoga of action.

Literally translated as “union through action”, Karma yoga is an often overlooked part of a modern yoga practice. Its roots run deep in the classic Bhavaghad Gita text - Krisha advises Arjuna that, “the reward of all action is to be found in enlightenment.”

Founded in 2008, Roadmonkey is an organization that beautifully blends service to others and exciting travel. Director Paul von Zielbauer, a former award-winning reporter and Iraq war correspondent, believes in the value of exploring new cultures and giving back to communities in need.

Inspired by reading about people living their dreams in adventure magazines, Zielbauer envisoned Roadmonkey as “Adventure Travel 2.0” – substantive travel that is not only engaging and fun, but challenges the participant to a higher standard. To this end, Roadmonkey organizes “adventure philanthropy expeditions”, sponsored by various non-profit organizations, in places such as Peru, Nicaragua, Patagonia, Vietnam and Tanzania.

Upcoming expeditions include:

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro & building a school library on Zanzibar
Cycling the highlands of Vietnam & building a solar-energy kitchen
Whitewater rafting in Peru & building a playground in the Andean foothills

In this day and age, as travelers cautiously check online sources for bad reviews, buy pre-packaged whirlwind tours and print Google maps months ahead of their journey, Roadmonkey is a breath of fresh air. It reintroduces spontaneity into travel and returns us to a several fundamental needs – the desire to explore and understand our world, and to help one another. On some level, we all inherently know that in order to make a difference, we have to take a plunge and dive into new, sometimes frightening territory.

Karma yoga challenges us to find the discipline of self-transcending action. Roadmonkey provides a wonderful opportunity for karma yoga that transforms both communities in need and the traveler by engaging him on all levels – physical, emotional and intellectual.

For more information about Roadmonkey and upcoming expeditions, please visit www.roadmonkey.net.