What Is Bhakti Yoga?

Whether you are new to yoga or not, Bhakti yoga is a yoga style, and spiritual practice, that you might discover to be more interesting and beneficial than other forms of yoga.

What is Bhakti Yoga?

Bhakti yoga is practiced within Hinduism. It’s an ancient and spiritual form of yoga, for this reason, done with worship and devotion to a personal deity.

If you are interested in Hinduism and, of course, yoga, Bhakti yoga is a form of yoga that’s well worth learning more about.

It offers physical and mental benefits, and is ideal for yoga beginners as well as experienced yogis.

For everything you’d like to know about Bhakti yoga, find out more information below, including the meaning of Bhakti, the benefits of Bhakti yoga, Bhakti yoga poses, and whether or not Bhakti yoga is right for you.

Bhakti Yoga Explained – The Yoga Of Devotion

Bhakti yoga is also called Bhakti marga. In Sanskrit, Bhakti means devotion, hence the reason that Bhakti yoga is a spiritual type of yoga done with Hindu worship for a personal deity.

This personal Hindu deity or god/goddess depends on the person practicing Bhakti yoga, either recommended or chosen based on personal traits, ideals, and relatability.

Due to this, Bhakti is as much a spiritual practice as it is a form of exercise or meditation.

It’s an ancient form of yoga that dates back centuries, started by the Nayanars and Alvars as part of the overall Bhakti movement that gained popularity in India in the 15th century.

Practicing Bhakti yoga with loving devotion to a personal deity is done to achieve love for all things, religious focus, mindfulness, and salvation.

Bhakti Yoga Poses

So, what does Bhakti yoga involve exactly?

Bhakti yoga may or may not be done with yoga poses (asanas), depending on the yoga class, yoga teacher, or the individual themselves.

It can involve yoga poses and/or chants, prayers, mantras, poetry, and mudras.

The main purpose of Bhakti yoga is Hindu worship and devotion to a personal deity, god, or goddess.

For this reason, whatever the Bhakti yoga session involves is done for worship rather than personal reasons.

If Bhakti yoga is done with yoga poses involved, each posture is performed as a means of praise, worship, and sacrifice.

The same applies to any mudras, prayers, or chants involved within the session.

Overall, depending on the class, yoga teacher, or individual, what Bhakti yoga involves can vary.

It is therefore a more flexible, open-ended form of yoga, ultimately done for worship without a strict format.

What is Bhakti Yoga

The Benefits Of Bhakti Yoga

Despite not being very “physical”, as well as a form of yoga done mainly for worship, Bhakti can still offer physical and mental benefits. These include:

  • Mindfulness
  • Presence
  • A sense of one’s essence and purpose
  • A greater connection with a personal deity and others
  • Inner peace
  • Improved mood and reduced stress
  • Improved attitude and perspective
  • Improved posture and balance
  • Improved mobility and flexibility
  • Improved general fitness

Depending on what the Bhakti yoga involves when practiced, you might experience more of the above benefits than others.

In any case, there are many benefits to practicing Bhakti yoga, no matter whether it is focused on prayers, mantras, and chants, or performed with yoga poses as a means to devote oneself.

Is Bhakti Yoga Good For Beginners?

Bhakti yoga might sound esoteric or advanced, but the fact is that Bhakti yoga can be done by beginners – even people of all ages and fitness levels.

It’s therefore good for beginners and anyone who is new to spiritual yoga, meditative yoga, yoga done for worship, and Hinduism on the whole.

Unlike some other yoga styles, Bhakti is not physically demanding or challenging, typically more focused on mantras, mudras, prayers, chants, and yoga poses that are held as a means of worship, glorification, and praise.

What Bhakti yoga involves will depend on the Bhakti yoga class or yoga teacher, however. But, in general, it is ideal for beginners and those new to yoga as a spiritual practice within Hinduism.

Is Bhakti Yoga Popular?

In general, Bhakti yoga is not as popular as other forms of yoga, or yoga styles.

This is because it is rooted in Hinduism as a spiritual practice that focuses on devotion to a deity or god/goddess, as opposed to a form of exercise or meditation done for personal benefit.

Despite that, Bhakti yoga is popular among Hindus. Even those with spiritual ideals and beliefs relate to Bhakti yoga as a practice, further increasing its popularity.

Bhakti yoga is similar to Karma yoga, Rãja yoga, and Jñãna yoga – all being spiritual types of yoga with specific paths, or purposes.

Neither of these is considered more popular than the other, however, each involving a different aspect. These are:

  • Emotion – Bhakti yoga
  • Mind – Karma yoga
  • Mysticism – Rãja yoga
  • Intellect – Jñãna yoga

Should I Do Bhakti Yoga?

If you’re considering journeying into Bhakti yoga, the most important factor to consider is whether you are interested in Hinduism or spiritualism as a whole.

These are fundamental aspects of Bhakti yoga, since it is practiced as a devotion to a personal deity.

The personal deity is another factor to consider – whether or not you are interested in, or think you relate to, a Hindu deity or god/goddess.

This can provide your purpose to Bhakti yoga, and therefore the chants, mudras, or even yoga poses that you do.

It’s also worth noting that Bhakti yoga is not as physical as some other yoga styles.

This might be another reason to do Bhakti yoga, especially if you do not consider yourself an active person, or want to try yoga with a greater focus on its spiritual side.

Conclusion

In short, Bhakti yoga is a spiritual form of yoga within Hinduism that’s done in devotion to a personal deity or god/goddess.

Bhakti means devotion in Sanskrit, and Bhakti yoga typically involves more chants, mudras, prayers, and mantras as opposed to yoga poses.

Despite that, Bhakti yoga can involve yoga poses (asanas) as a means for expressing worship and devotion, ideal for those who consider themselves spiritual as well as physically active.

Angela Frederik
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