Bhakti Yoga – What Is It And What Are Its Benefits? June 10, 2016

What is yoga? If you think yoga is all about bending, twisting and moving your body, then you definitely need to re-think! It is something more than that. The practice of yoga dates back to more than 5,000 years ago. Yoga practice includes meditation, breathing exercises, pranayama, asanas and most important of all – attaining eternal peace.

Yoga has four important paths, one of which is Bhakti yoga. It is one such pure form of devotion towards God. The Sanskrit term ‘Bhakti’ is derived from the word ‘Bhaj’ which means to be attached to the almighty, to adore or worship God. Bhakti or Love is the thread that binds a human being in an eternal relationship with God. It is an intense form of devotion, love and respect.

Bhakti yoga is basically expressing your love towards God. It is that level of yoga where a person only aims to be near God. Nothing else attracts him nor does anything catch his attention. This is a very crucial step when a person desires to attain eternal peace. All social responsibilities, food, sleep and social bonds are no longer important for a person who practices Bhakti yoga.

This yoga type is the most effective and the simplest way to experience the heavenly. Bhakti yoga, Jyana yoga, Karma yoga and Dhyan yoga are inter-related. They are connected with each other and together help a person in achieving peace and holiness. Bhakti yoga, like all other yoga forms, is a pathway which an individual chooses to attain self-realization.

Individuals who practice Bhakti yoga believe that they have a unique relationship with God. There are 9 different ways in which one can practice Bhakti yoga.  The different ways are as follows:-

  • Sravana: This type includes hearing God’s virtues, prayers, songs and stories. Bhakti yoga says that a devotee should sit in front of a saint and hear God’s stories and virtues from him. The devotee should try to follow and preach what is written in the scriptures.
  • Kirtana:  As the name suggests, this way of practicing Bhakti yoga is by listening to spiritual and devotional songs.  Chanting such songs brings in happiness, positivity and ecstasy to the devotee’s heart.
  • Smarana: This type is of utmost importance when practicing yoga. Any individual who wishes to practice Bhakti yoga needs to have mastered Smarana. Here, a person has to constantly keep on remind himself of God’s presence around him. This feeling has a great impact on a person’s mind and soul. It deeply enriches a person’s soul and brings about a positive attitude in him.
  • Padasevana:  The word ‘Pada’ means ‘feet’ and ‘seva’ means ‘service’. This is a mixture of Karma yoga and Bhakti yoga. A person is said to have achieved this level when he accomplishes his duty towards the society. This takes him closer to God.
  • Archana: This means to worship God through puja or havan. At some point in life, every individual performs puja to the lord. Bhakti yoga teaches you the perfect manner in which a puja should be conducted. It teaches you how to express your love, devotion and affection towards God.
  • Vandana: In this way of practicing Bhakti yoga, you need to show your affection towards God. Although there are many ways of doing it, the ideal way is to touch the floor with your forehead. You can do this by just lying down on the floor with your face towards the ground. Then just touch the floor with your forehead.
  • Dasya: Here, you need to have the feeling of being God’s servant. You need to focus on just one aspect- serving the lord with honesty and sincerity. This way you can bid farewell to feelings like ego, arrogance and selfishness.
  • Sakhya: This means to have a personal relationship with God. All you have to do here is to build a friendly relation with the lord and live up to it.
  • Atmaniveda: This is the final and the last step of Bhakti yoga. Here, you have to completely surrender yourself to the lord. After you devote yourself to God, you will finally attain eternal peace.

Bhakti yoga is achieved once you pass through all these stages. A peaceful mind, an experience of divinity is all you will get once you start practicing Bhakti yoga.

Do try these tips and techniques and leave us a comment!

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