Seva Study Program


Looking for meaning in your life?

Seva Study is a residential program in which spiritual volunteers become fully immersed in the Center for a minimum of one month. 

Seeing the Self in the other as you serve is considered essential to opening the heart and expanding your idea of yourself.  Indeed, Karma yoga is the foundation of all yoga paths.

This residential program is designed following the spiritual formula of oneness. Add meaning to your life by this practice.

Put into practice the yogic teachings of concentration and focus in action.  Learn to sublimate 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

  • Right attitude: Work as worship, have the attitude of offering, humility, and selflessness
  • Right motive: It’s not what you do that counts but your real motive behind.
  • Do your duty according to your particular situation
  • Do your best: You should not hold back from fear of effort required or from fear of criticism.
  • Give up results: You are not the doer. You are only the instrument. Detachment from results means freedom.
  • Serve God and the Self in All. Love thy neighbor as thyself.
  • Follow the discipline of the job. Every work experience has something to teach you.
  • 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

Perform tasks that you may not have tried before.

Be supported by the community

Practicing in a dedicated group can help foster connection and support your daily practice of yoga. Be empowered by collaborating with a dedicated team of volunteers. Channel your energy by serving an international mission of peace.  Expand your horizons.

Work without stress

In this peaceful environment, you will discover the secret of success. Performing activities and work in the right environment with the right attitude does not lead to stress. Working with others is more enjoyable when nobody has a personal motive.

The mind will be delighted and soothed contemplating the Center’s majestic building and ample grounds.  

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. 


Be part of a live tradition

Connect to the sacred teaching of the gurus daily and feel empowered to follow in their footsteps. In fact, the Center 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.  Feel the palpable love and support of the guru through daily interactions.

Be part of our peace mission

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. Gain inspiration by joining this network of peace-loving and dynamic volunteers, knowing that together we are making the world a better place.

“Be the change 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 four paths of yoga (Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Raja yoga, Jnana yoga) in daily life.  The head, the heart  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

Inner peace leads to outer peace.  Inner peace needs to be cultivated in daily life through self-discipline.

Karma Yoga Blog

More Information

Daily Schedule

  • Guided Satsang (meditation, chanting, lecture), 7 mornings and 2 evenings
  • Staff meeting
  • Yoga class
  • Two nutritious vegetarian meals
  • Selfless service for Seva Study: 4-8 hours
  • Personal time and relaxation
  • Personal study
  • Staff Svadyahya (weekly meeting with director)


This program is suitable for those who are ready and willing to follow the yogic discipline. Completion of the Teacher Training Course (TTC) is a plus, but not required. Anyone able to commit to a minimum three-month stay is eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must be willing to follow 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.


Sunny and spacious upstairs dorm, shared same-gender room with shared same-gender bathroom down the hall.

Apply Today

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.

Seva Study Program

  • Zoom interview required
  • Three month minimum
  • First week is on a trial basis
  • Can be extended on director’s approval
  • Program starts on 1st or 15th of month
  • $1,200/month in dorm 
  • Partial scholarships available on case-by-case basis
  • Four hours of service per day
  • Rate can be negotiated for six (or maximum eight) hours of service per day 
  • Daily guidance by teacher
  • Self-study time included



I came to Sivananda LA to shift closer to the heart of Ayurveda. During my first week at LA Center, I noticed a laminated card of Lord Dhanvantari, known as the God of Ayurveda. I viewed this placement as a sign that Sivananda LA was a place where I could begin to “embody Ayurveda.”

The Center is located in a historical mansion, and to me, the building and grounds exude healing energy. While only a 20-minute ride from Los Angeles International Airport, it feels a world away. When I entered the gate to the property, I felt whisked toward an oasis of peace. Every morning and some evenings, we convened for Satsang, a period of meditation and chanting. Throughout the day, the morning chants reverberated in my body and mind. For me, this offered an opportunity to shift from “me-consciousness” to “we-consciousness.”

During my period of service at the Center, I participated in household tasks along with other students and residents. I was also assigned various projects, and engaged in outreach to Center participants; it feels good to connect!


My intention was to live in a community with a purpose, get serious about my personal Yoga practice and improve my eating habits.

I was able to accomplish all of the above and, in addition, learn new and better ways to live, by serving and helping others that had similar goals.

I look forward to revisiting the Ashram as soon as possible and improve upon my goals yet again. Sincerely grateful for the experience!


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