What binds us and breaking free
The common explanation of karma is that it is the net consequence or result of all our previous experience. Some people have trouble understanding or accepting the idea of karma due because they think it requires belief in past lifetimes and hence; reincarnation.
But karma can act much more quickly as one example is if you do something wrong and feel guilty about it afterwards, the guilt is your karma. But karma is also a collective consequence better referred to as memory which shapes our being; body and mind.
Karma itself is of no consequence, it is just like a wave on the ocean, it can be a pleasant and gentle wave or a powerful and destructive wave. These waves shape our bodies and our lives because they are memories, These memories reside in our cells and affect us down through the generations as we inherit the characteristics of our parents and our grandparents, and ultimately what we may have evolved from to become human.
So you can say that we are bound by our karma and the purpose of yoga is to become free of the effects of that karma. If we are completely happy and content with our world, we may think that we have experienced good karma and in a worldly way this is true. We have a healthy body and mind, and we are confident in making our way in the world. The person who is happy this way may be less inclined to question life than the person who's karma leaves them feeling unsatisfied and unhappy.
Let us note that often the unhappy person looks for something or someone to blame beyond themselves for their unhappiness although in reality this is their own karmic memory that they alone are responsible for and must learn to deal with it. But even the happy person if they are to progress spiritually must at some point in their existence developed the curiosity to investigate the nature of their humanity.
The path of yoga along with other traditions contain exercises that help to overcome limitations of the karma they may be experiencing in this lifetime so they may experience a sense of relief in the coming weeks and years. The idea of establishing better karma for one's next lifetime has merit. We do not know conclusively that we will be reborn into another human body, but the karma we are looking to make more pleasant is that we experience throughout the rest of our lifetime and should be have children, improve their karma also.
To improve your karma in this life and for future generations, it is good to practice kindness to one's self and others. One is suffering the effects of bad karma, the way to improve karma is to practice kindness to oneself and others.
By practising kindness to one's self and others we learn patience and tolerance, and in time we learned to set aside our own greed and desires and on a wider social level, social equity and justice for all.
Remember, we are shaped by our own karma, but through right thinking and right action, we can improve our karma for ourselves now as well as future generations.