Bhakti Yoga: Four of the Four Main Yoga Paths Explained
What is bhakti yoga? Bhakti yoga is a yogic path that involves connecting with a mystical "otherness" through worship, ritual and song, all of which can touch the heart. It is a branch of yoga that prioritizes one's love and devotion to their spiritual deity; to express religious devotion through prayer, ritual, and chanting. The ultimate goal of bhakti yoga is to develop feelings of unconditional love and devotion. The Sanskrit word for bhakti means "devotion" or worship. This yogic approach often appeals to people drawn to ritual and ceremony. However, like many forms of yoga, bhakti yoga is a path to self-realization, to having an experience of oneness with everything. With the additional of religious devotion, it allows one to form a personal relationship with God. This yogic path would best benefit those who are looking to improve their overall love and devotion to their deity by concentrating their mind, emotions, and senses on the Divine.
Be not confused of the traditional focus on bhakti yoga, as we all have our own perceptions of what and who "God" is. God is synonymous for a higher power, a deity, the Divine, the Self, and/or the Source. Take the goals of bhakti as a personal stride to more love and more trust within one's self and onto the Divine. This path is also known for being one the sweetest yoga approaches as it works with the fuel of our emotions and teaches us how to have a romance with life itself; it often leaves people feeling fulfilled, happy, and at peace. There are three ways in a which one can go about practicing bhakti yoga: prayer, chanting, and ritual. Prayer is a simple but very effective way to connect with the Divine. You do this by integrating gratitude into your alone time with him, taking time to get on your knees, devote time to telling Him why and what you are grateful for, letting Him know your fears and aspirations, talking to Him as you would to a friend. Chanting (also known as Kirtan) is a powerful way to channel the emotions; it is done by singing the praise and glory of the many names of the Divine. One can sing devotional hymns to God, and channel Him in a healing way. Ritual (also known as Japa) which is done as a repetition of mantra is another way of practicing bhakti yoga. It creates a deep positive impression or groove within our unconscious mind. Mantra gives our minds a one-pointed focus in our meditation, allowing us to deepen our relationship with the Divine.
As you can predict, bhakti yoga has many benefits outside of more attention to love and devotion. It strives to bring one to a higher path to salvation, and there's a journey to doing so. Listed below are a few benefits to this practice:
1 - It gives you knowledge and peace
2 - It softens your personality and wards off negative energy and feelings like irritation and annoyance
3 - it helps you control your senses and handle tough situations
4 - It enhances your experience with the Divine
5 - You'll leave feeling joyous and blissful
Consider practicing bhakti yoga to gain a better understanding and relationship with the Divine but also a stronger appreciation for the art of love and devotion. This yogic path can be practice at-home and on your own time OR you can inquire about starting your journey of bhakti yoga with us, here at Teesha Yoga. Contact us via the website (inquiries page) or give us a call at 470-591-0167 to book or schedule. We look forward to seeing you and as always, stay safe!
Peace and love. Namaste.