What is Bhakti Yoga and why is it practised?
The art of yoga is not just about achieving physical and mental fitness. It is also about finding the path to your spiritual development. As humans, we are embroiled in several attachments, personalities, egos, fear, aversions, etc. Yoga gives us a way to overcome these hurdles and achieve supreme knowledge and consciousness.
There are four paths of yoga that help us hone our inner self, give us innate wisdom, and find everlasting peace. These paths are that of Karma yoga (action), Raja yoga (royal union), and Gyana yoga (knowledge).
The fourth path is that of Bhakti Yoga. Also known as Bhakti Marga, Bhakti Yoga meaning is the path of spiritual devotion.
This Bhakti Yoga meaning has its roots in ancient texts dating back almost 6,000 years. It goes beyond devotion to a particular god or goddess. Bhakti Marga can be adopted for any endeavour that has a strong emotional and spiritual value. Bhakti Yoga meaning is going beyond your worldly relations, possessions, moods, emotions, and senses to connect with the purest and highest form of love. This love is for the Supreme divinity that is the means and end of all life forms.
What are the different aspects of Bhakti Yoga?
While there are no said types of Bhakti Yoga, it is built on nine practices. These practices are the pathway to unite and harmonize the individual with divinity and everything around them.
These nine Bhakti Yoga practices include:
- Shravana: This refers to the practice of listening to sacred texts, praise, prayers, or poems recited in the honour of God. This is said to become more potent when told by a saint or a yoga teacher.
- Kirtana: This Bhakti Yoga practice means the chanting or singing of God’s praise.
- Smarana: This practice refers to reminiscing and remembering God at all times and keeping Him at the focus of your consciousness. Smarana can be honed through a practice of regular meditation.
- Padasevana: This practice refers to taking every opportunity to serve God. This is manifested through serving people and causes.
- Archana: The practice of Archana means adopting and practising ritual worship of God. This can be done through ‘aartis’, ‘havans’, ‘pooja’, and even internally visualising God.
- Vandana: The practice of Vandana means praying and prostrating before God. This practice is intended at removing feelings of self-centeredness and ego.
- Dasya: This practice of Dasya focuses on becoming the tool of God. This can be done by helping the underserved, worshipping & meditating, and cleaning or repairing sacred places.
- Sakha Bhava: This practice means looking at God as your friend and inculcating a spiritual friendship with Him. This also means delighting in the presence and mentorship of God by having sincere feelings for Him.
- Atma Nivedana: This practice focuses on complete surrender to God by offering oneself in entirety. This is said to be one of the strongest paths to achieve spirituality.
How is Bhakti Yoga practised?
Bhakti Yoga does not involve any physical postures or asanas. Instead, it is practised by inculcating the practice of prayer and devotion in your daily life.
Here are some ways in which you can practice Bhakti Marga:
- You can set up an altar with images or representations of the Divine. God can be any, as all are equal and all religions are based on the purity of consciousness.
- Set aside daily time to chant and meditate on the chosen image of God. You can visualise the image and focus on it. This not just reaffirms your faith in spirituality but also helps you practice mindfulness.
- While you meditate, you can mull over any of the nine practices of Bhakti Yoga and think of ways to incorporate them into your daily life.
- Think about ways to purify your thoughts and actions. Learn to practice compassion for all living forms. All these can be done by working with an experienced yoga practitioner. Or you can join online yoga classes to learn the tenets of Bhakti Yoga.
- To solidify these practices in your daily life, you can learn journaling. Writing down your objectives of practising Bhakti Yoga and observing your reactions to it helps in channelizing your emotions positively.
What are the benefits of Bhakti Yoga?
The spiritual path and devotion that you inculcate during your practice of Bhakti Yoga have tremendous benefits for your mind and body.
Here are some of the most important benefits of Bhakti Yoga:
- Bhakti Yoga has the power to take you beyond feelings of anger, hatred, jealousy, and ego. By giving you a path of devotion, it helps in developing virtues such as purity of mind, faith, humility, and compassion. This makes your relationships more harmonious and pleasant.
- One of the most important benefits of Bhakti Yoga is that it aids in cultivating peace and calmness in your life, it reduces stress, worry, and anxiety. This not just helps you live blissfully in the moment but has several far-reaching benefits too. Reduced stress and anxiety help prevent the risk of many health problems such as diabetes, cardiac issues, hypertension, etc.
- By nourishing your spiritual connection with God, you tend to come over hurtful episodes better and faster. Having the presence of Divine Love in your life helps you heal faster. You learn forgiveness with an open heart.
- Bhakti Yoga softens your heart towards other beings, be it nature, people, or animals.
- Bhakti Yoga helps you get out of the constant pressure of performing and running to achieve material possessions.
- By connecting with like-minded yogis and having a feeling of community, you develop positivity and gratitude.
Takeawayonline yoga classes
Although Bhakti Yoga is an ancient tradition, it is so powerful that it has extended beyond centuries, religions, and faiths. People from all walks of life have begun to realise its richness and benefits. However, for you to gain the benefits of this transformative path to moksha or liberation, you need to practice it with utmost honesty and devotion. Bhakti Yoga is not something that you can learn in 5 minutes. It needs to be incorporated into your life to make a difference.
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