Bhakti Yoga is one of the four main yogic paths to enlightenment. Bhakti means “love” or “devotion,” and this path contains several practices to unite the Bhakta (Bhakti Yoga practitioner) with the Divine. Bhakti Yoga is considered the simplest yogic path to master and the most direct method to experience the unity of body, mind, and spirit. Whereas Raja Yoga requires a disciplined and concentrated mind, Hatha Yoga requires a strong and flexible body, and Jnana Yoga requires a strong intellect, the only requirement for Bhakti Yoga is an open, loving heart. Bhakti Yoga aims to reach a state of pure bliss. Seeing everything around you as a clear indicator of Divinity, from a simple butterfly to the people around you, you may say that you have reached the goal of Bhakti.
The main feature of Bhakti Yoga is closely related to the Hindu pantheon of Deities. Such deities represent a humanized characteristic of a Superior Force, the Divine. Bhakti yoga helps the reach of a higher spiritual state, close to an epiphany. But, trying to connect with the Hindu Deities may be difficult for a few people. However, you can still practice Bhakti yoga and discover its relieving advantages. Bhakti Yoga allows you to connect with the Divinity in any form in order to express devotion.
There are nine main practices of Bhakti Yoga that can be practiced individually or together. Each of these limbs makes a specific bhava (feeling) that appeals to different inner constitutions of practitioners.
The most popular extremity of Bhakti Yoga in the West is Kirtana, with local and national walas performing weekly in small to large cities. Bhakti Yoga can be practiced by itself or be incorporated into other types of yoga or spiritual practices.
The benefits of Bhakti Yoga are, “Bhakti relaxes the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, anger, lust, egoism, arrogance, and pride. It fills joy, divine happiness, peace, bliss, and knowledge. Anxieties and worries, fears, tribulations, and mental torments entirely vanish. The devotee is freed from the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths. He gets the immortal abode of endless peace, bliss, and knowledge. ”
The main goal in the practice of Bhakti yoga is to reach the state of the essence, a feeling of pure bliss attained in the devotional surrender to the Divine.