Karma: How Does it Affect Your Life?

You can choose and choose—and choose again. No matter what happens, you can choose to start over. No matter the circumstances, you can choose your response. My positive psychology teacher often said, “Choose to choose.” This also happens to be how Deepak Chopra teaches us to begin to change our karma. 

A simple way to think about karma is as the momentum of your daily choices. Karma is not something that happens to you. Karma is something that happens through you. And you can change the momentum of your karma by consciously making a new choice, again and again. 

When the yogis say that your life is your karma, what they are saying is that your life experience is entirely up to you. How you experience anything is 100 percent in your choosing.

But for this to make sense, it’s necessary to believe that life begins within you, not out there. It’s important to know that if you want to experience something new, you can’t just rearrange the outer world. As the yogis so beautifully teach, the outer world is a reflection of your inner world.  Reflection, looking inward, choosing to examine your habits

Another way to think about karma is as a memorized pattern—positive or negative. My dad recently passed away, and at the time of his death, he was a registered organ donor. His eyes were donated to help two other people experience better sight. 

As my dad lived, his eyes memorized people, places, and things. Those things became familiar to him. Everything he saw (just like you and I do) he layered with meaning or value, positive or negative. His eyes had developed karma (or memory), and that influenced his experience of life. 

But once those eyes no longer belonged to my dad all the experiences were “erased” and the eyes, as organs, were neutral again. His memories did not go to the donor recipients. Like my dad’s eyes, life is beautiful but neutral. We memorize the meaning. You have yours, and I have mine.

Karma Is an Agent of Freedom

You can change your experiences and your karma by changing your choices. This is karma or action. We often hear that karma is “cause and effect.” But too often we just focus on the effect.

But the effect is the past. It’s showing you where you’ve been focused and what you believed so far. Where you have the power to shape your present and your future lies within the cause. 

Yet how many people feel stuck and continue to look outward for the freedom that can only reside in their choices? Choices include your focus, attention, beliefs, thoughts, actions, relationships, etc. You have so much freedom. Maybe too much, sometimes. 

sailing, adjusting your sails, looking inward, working with KarmaIt’s Dolly Parton who said, “You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust the sails.” Choices are your sails. You can adjust them anytime and change your karma. 

Now, I know it’s not always easy. I wish it were. I get stuck sometimes too. I am dealing with some big stuff right now in my marriage and with my extended family. And I lost my dad recently and just spent my first Father’s Day without him. So I get it. It’s not always easy to choose something when life seems to be showing us something else. 

But when I remember that my choices are my most powerful variable (and tool) in positively or negatively shaping my life experience, I get up and try again. This may mean I have to take an action that is scary or think in a new way, but it’s all possible, and that gives me hope. 

Pay Attention

Notice where you feel stuck or stressed. Write down anything and everything you have control over. Remember the Dolly quote above? You have 100 percent control over the sails, not the wind.

If you keep trying to control the wind, you’ll create more karma of frustration, blame, anxiety, fear, and so on. When you learn to control the sails, you’ll have a much smoother and more enjoyable journey.

Choose to Choose

Choose one thing you have 100 percent control over. Choose to take more responsibility for what you can change by committing to one new step, thought, belief, behavior, action or attitude that you can repeat again and again until you create some momentum and begin to experience a new outcome or effect in this area of your life.

When you work at the cause or source of something, you are learning to use karma as a creative agent for more freedom and joy. I am still learning this. It’s a practice.

And—this is very important—simultaneously accept life as it is right now. Choose to be content and see the good, even as you seek to create a new outcome, and then practice making a new choice. Appreciation goes a long way in creating a better life experience!

Karma is something that is already happening, so learning to work with it is worth the practice. 

Read this article, also from Joy Stone – Yoga Focus and The Wandering Mind.

Study core strength with YogaUOnline and Staffan Elgelid – Yoga for Core Integrity: Getting an Edge With the Smart Core System

Yoga for core integrity, YogaUOnline course, teacher Staffan Elgelid, smart core in yoga

Reprinted with permission from JoyStonecoaching.com

Joy Stone, writer, Yoga U contributor, wellness coach

Joy Stone is an experienced Mindset and Spiritual Life Coach, Speaker and Educator. Joy’s special style of coaching uniquely blends essential & life-empowering teachings from eastern and western psychology & philosophy. She is the founder of Soul Subscription, An Online Soul-Centered Group Coaching Experience. Her emphasis is on teaching people the empowering practice of self-care and personal responsibility.

She received her positive psychology education under Harvard Professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, Wholebeing Institute and her yoga teaching certification under the Anusara style — a therapeutic application of yoga psychology and practice. 

Recent articles


Upcoming courses

Yoga for
every body

How to Avoid the Top 3 Pitfalls of Forward Bends

With Julie Gudmedstad

Recent articles


Sorry, You have reached your
monthly limit of views

To access, join us for a free 7-day membership trial to support expanding the Pose Library resources to the yoga community.

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial