March 25, 2024

Bhakti Yoga - The Path to Self-Realization

The Bhakti Yoga path cultivates reverence for the Divine. It teaches us that everything in existence is God and helps dissolve egotism while encouraging oneness with all existence. Furthermore, this practice provides more accessible spiritual awakening for women and lower caste Hindus due to requiring no extensive education unlike other paths of yoga do. Traditionally speaking, bhakti involves worship of external images of the Divine via songs, dance, chanting prayer services as well as seva (service).

Modern yoga practitioners can incorporate Bhakti into their practices by dedicating yoga classes to particular deities or engaging in mantra chanting, prayer, or thankfulness meditation as part of daily Bhakti practices.

Bhakti yoga, while founded on devotion, should not be taken as sentimental or saccharine; rather it involves strong and profound love that allows one to join forces with the object of one's desire and find fulfillment through this path towards self-realization.

Begin practicing Bhakti yoga by developing our devotion through the practices of Smarana, Pravartana or Pranayama; this involves remembering God wherever we go and keeping His Presence foremost in our thoughts at all times. Another aspect of Bhakti Yoga that helps cultivate devotion is Padaseva or Service to Others which allows us to recognize divinity in others while supporting their relationship with God. Archana or Worship involves offering food, flowers and gifts as an act of worship as well as prostration and Dhyana Meditation.

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