October is Hindu American Awareness
and Appreciation Month

This October, celebrate your heritage as we commemorate Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month! HAAAM has been officially recognized by California’s state legislature, but you don't have to live in the California to celebrate!

Join us this year in using this unique opportunity to educate others about our teachings and traditions, including the true meaning of yoga.

When most people say they "do yoga," what they’re really talking about is asana. But asana is just one of the eight limbs of yoga as explained by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra.

Of course, yoga is so much more, and no one knows this better than Hindus around the world.

For this Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month, HAF invites you to participate in all four paths of yoga to share the broader meaning of yoga and demonstrate the power yoga has to ensure the wellbeing of all people and the planet.

For each of these, please share what you’re doing on social media, using the hashtags #HinduAmericans, #HAAAM, #karmayoga, #bhaktiyoga, #rajayoga, #jnanayoga, #yogabeyondasana, and be sure to tag HAF @HinduAmerican

10/1 - 10/8: BHAKTI YOGA

The path of love: The essence of bhakti is devotion to a personal form of the Divine. It opens up opportunities for every individual to develop a love for the Divine, and ultimately recognize the Divine in everything and everyone. This week practice bhakti yoga by:

  • Learning to sing a new bhajan or committing to singing a favorite every day this week with your family
  • Visiting your local temple and reading a story about a presiding deity or the story of great devotees such as Prahlad, Akka Mahadevi, or Meerabai as a family
  • Volunteering at or donating to a local animal shelter recognizing that all of Creation shares the same divine spark and is thus deserving of love and dignity

10/9 - 10/15: KARMA YOGA

The path of work: Performing selfless service, doing work without expectation of reward and holding the Divine in your mind and heart, is the essence of karma yoga. This week practice karma yoga by:

  • Cleaning up trash at a local park, playground, or beach.
  • Participating in food distribution for the needy or donating to a food bank in your community.
  • Running an errand or making a meal for someone who’s elderly or not in the best of health or at the hospital.

10/16 - 10/22: JNANA YOGA

The path of knowledge: In jnana yoga ‘knowledge’ isn’t intellectual knowledge or accumulation of facts, but rather knowing the Divine, distinguishing between what is transitory and what is permanent in existence, and ultimately seeing the sameness or shared essence between our individuals selves and the Divine. This week practice jnana yoga by:

  • Reading and discussing as a family the practical applications of teachings of Chapters 2 and 3 of the Gita.
  • Volunteering to teach about Diwali in your child’s school.
  • Visiting HAF’s Hinduism 101: Learning About Hinduism Inside and Out and reviewing 2 or 3 modules of your choice and discussing them with your school-aged children to better equip them to respond to errors in their school textbooks.

10/23 - 10/31: RAJA YOGA

The path of meditation: Here is where ‘yoga’ as the word is most commonly used resides. Remember that raja yoga uses the physical to transcend the physical. Asana, or poses, are an important part of the path, not the ultimate goal of yoga, which is samadhi, or union with the Divine. This week practice raja yoga by:

  • Commiting to starting your day with five surya namaskara and observing the effect on your breathing, posture, stamina, and ability to manage stress.
  • Practicing the yama of ahimsa by going vegetarian for the week. If you already follow a vegetarian diet, consider ahimsa of thought by becoming mindful of how you react and respond to daily stressors such as aggressive drivers, a pushy colleague, or the demands of family.
  • Learning pranayama or committing to doing pranayama for at least 5 minutes every day this week and observing the effects on your stress level or stamina. If you'd like an app for your phone or tablet (and use an iOS device), one we recommend is: The Breathing App 

According to the California resolution establishing it, Hindu Awareness & Appreciation Month:

  1. Recognizes contributions of Hindu culture and spirituality to American life
  2. Allows our children to feel proud of their Hindu identity as Americans
  3. Allows the broader American society to understand and appreciate Hindu Americans and Hindu traditions
  4. Promotes diversity and pluralism