What is Bhakti Yoga – How to Practice – Benefits
Yoga is not only doing different poses by bending, twisting and moving your body in different ways. It is much more that. People have been practicing yoga for more than 5000 years and it includes meditation, breathing exercises, pranayama, asanas and attaining eternal peace.
What is Bhakti Yoga?
Yoga has four important paths and one among them is the Bhakti yoga. It is a pure form of devotion to God. Bhakti is a Sanskrit term, which is derived from the word ‘bhaj’ which means to remain attached to the supreme power, to adore or worship the almighty. Bhakti or love is regarded a link that connects human beings with God in an eternal relationship. Bhakti is an intense and deep form of devotion, love and respect to god.
In Bhakti yoga you are expressing your love to god. It is a yoga in which the only aim of the person is to reach as close to God as possible. Nothing else can attract such a person. Nothing in the world can catch the attention of a person practicing Bhakti yoga. When one wants to attain eternal peace, Bhakti yoga is the perfect yoga. For such a person, nothing is important. Social responsibilities, food, social bonding, sleep etc are of no importance to him.
Bhakti yoga is the most effective and easiest way to experience heavenly bliss. Bhakti yoga, karma yoga, jyana yoga and dhyan yoga are all inter-related. They are connected with each other and by practicing these four yogas you will be able to achieve peace and holiness. Just like other yoga forms, bhakti yoga is also a pathway, which a person follows to attain self-realization.
Those who practice bhakti yoga believe that they are closely attached to god. You can practice Bhakti yoga in 9 different ways. They are as follows:
How to Practice or Perform Bhakti Yoga?
- Sravana: Sravana means listening or hearing. This is a type of bhakti yoga which includes hearing god’s virtues, prayers, stories and songs. To hear about the virtues and stories of god, one has to sit in front of a saint and listen to him. You can hear various stories and folklores of god and know about the greatness of each god. The devotee has to follow the scripture and preach what is written in these books.
- Kirtana: Kirtana consists of devotional songs of god. This type of bhakti yoga makes you listen to spirtitual and devotional songs. When you chant devotional songs, you will be filled with happiness. Positive energy will flow in to your mind and body and it also brings love and ecstasy in to your heart. You can sing hymns and religious songs in praise of god.
- Smarana: Smarana is very important when you practice bhakri yoga. If you want to practice bhakti yoga successfully, then you must try and master smarana. Here you have to remind yourself constantly that god is there around you. He is always there with you. This feeling leaves a great impact on your mind and soul. This helps in enriching your soul and helps in making you think and do positively. This way you will be filled with positive energy.
- Padasevasana: As you know, ‘pada’ means ‘feet’ and ‘seva’ means ‘service’. This type of bhakti yoga is a blend of bhakti yoga and karma yoga. When a person accomplishes his duty towards the society, you say that he has achieved this level. When you reach this level, you are more close to god.
- Archana: Archana means offering. Here you worship god through puja or havan. Every individual performs puja to god at some point of his/her life. Bhakti yoga teaches you how to do puja in the perfect way. This yoga teaches you how to express the love, devotion and affection that you have for god.
- Vandana: This is another type of bhakti yoga in which you need to show your affection towards god. There are many ways to show your love and affection to god. But the best way is to touch the floor with your forehead. You have to lie down on the floor with your face towards the ground and then just touch the floor with your forehead.
- Dasya: Here you must consider yourself as the servant of god. You must feel that you have to serve god. Focus on only one aspect, which is to serve god with honesty and sincerity. At this stage you are no more yourself, but a devoted servant to god. Chant his glory, values, virtues and beliefs. By doing so, you will be able to get rid of feelings like arrogance, ego and selfishness.
- Sakhya: Sakhya is a practice in which you must develop a personal relationship with god. Have a feeling that you are close to god and have a friendly relationship with god. Maintain this feeling throughout your life. This way you will be able to share your secrets, problems and worries with god.
- Atmaniveda: This is the final and the last step in bhakti yoga. To practice this yoga, you have to surrender completely to the lord, so that you are one with the god. By surrendering yourself to god, you will attain eternal peace gradually.
Bhakti Yoga Benefits:
- By practicing bhakti yoga, you will be able to reduce your sorrows and pains.
- It also heals the negative emotions in you like anger, jealousy, arrogance, lust, hatred and pride.
- Instead of these negative emotions, you will develop positive emotions like happiness, joy, tranquility and inner peace of the mind.
- You can master bhakti yoga once you have gone through all the stages mentioned above.
- After practicing bhakti yoga, you will achieve a peace and an experience of divinity.