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Where to Practice Bhakti Yoga

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Bhakti: Devotion and the Guru - Ram Dass Full Lecture

Your name. You say… I experience it in myself and I have felt that joy in the teachers, the Swamis. Is well-being spread? Just as the ambitious or the envious spread their eternal dissatisfaction to others. And they continue serving. Something like that also teaches the Church. But I know that if he chases the money …. He will never have enough. Because those wishes are not you. Who I am? Only you can find out if time is given. Those who want to dedicate it to them will tell you that you lose it, but you will realize that you are winning it. You will learn to collect the senses and still the mind.

Without doing anything? As you deepen your introspection you will notice that your breathing becomes slow and deep and that you are entering a much wider interior space. How did you learn it? I discovered yoga in Barcelona in and felt that it was stirring something inside me: I read the Bhagavad Gita and it transformed me when I was 20 years old — 37 years ago — I went to India, learned Sanskrit and started studying Vedanta ….

What did he live on?


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Hindus fed us the yogis of the sacred mountain of Arunachala. India opens to you if you open to it. Surely he went hungry. But her "yoga" doesn't end when Savasana does.

Guru Bhakti Yoga Swami Sivananda

By ardently embracing some of yoga's devotional practices, Seitz—a year-old editor in Manhattan—has developed a sweet sense of connection with the Divine that permeates her entire life through Bhakti Yoga. Each morning she practices a minute devotional mantra meditation. Before she leaves for work, she repeats a mantra for safe passage. She offers gratitude before each meal.

She attends a weekly arati light ceremony at her local Sivananda center. At home she performs a puja ceremony at her altar —offering milk, rice, flowers, and water to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of music, arts, and knowledge, as well as to other deities. She devotes her yoga practice to the spirit of the leader of the lineage she follows, the late Swami Sivananda.

Types of Yoga - Kriya Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga & Gnana Yoga - Isha

Like other modern yogis, Seitz has found bhakti yoga, known as the yoga of devotion, to be a lifesaver as she navigates a hectic modern existence. The Sanskrit word bhakti comes from the root bhaj , which means "to adore or worship God. At the heart of bhakti is surrender, says Uttal, who lives in California but travels the globe leading kirtans and chanting workshops.


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Yoga scholar David Frawley agrees. In his book, Yoga: The Greater Tradition , he writes that the ultimate expression of bhakti yoga is surrender to the Divine as one's inner self. The path, he says, consists of concentrating one's mind, emotions, and senses on the Divine. As American yoga matures, interest in bhakti yoga has exploded. And Bhakti Fest is another yoga festival worth attending. Bhakti yoga is becoming a popular form of yoga. Today's Western yogis don't necessarily practice devotion to a Hindu deity, a guru, or "God" as a patriarchal figure in white robes although some do.

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Many Westerners who practice bhakti yoga tend to connect with a more encompassing idea of the Divine, the Beloved, the Spirit, the Self, or the Source. As Uttal says, "Everyone has their own idea or feeling of what 'God' is. As you tap into this universal love, you naturally develop a sense of trust that this benevolent, wise universe provides; you relax; and you can't help but generate positive energy for others. Frawley calls bhakti "the sweetest of the yoga approaches" and says it is often more accessible than other forms of yoga, which may explain its growing popularity. At first, American yoga was just a fitness thing," says Carlos Pomeda , a yoga scholar in Austin, Texas.

In its purest form, bhakti burns like a devotional fire in the heart. An early and extreme example of a bhakti yogi comes from the 12th century, when a year-old girl named Akka Mahadevi shunned childhood games and instead became a devotee of Shiva, the Hindu deity known as the aspect of destructive forces. Mahadevi eventually married a local king.

But she found that her overwhelming love for Shiva overshadowed mortal love. She rejected her husband and ran away. According to legend, she gave up all of the riches of the kingdom, leaving even her clothes behind, and used her long hair to cover her body.

For the rest of her life, Mahadevi devoted herself to Shiva, singing his praises as she traveled blissfully around India as a wandering poet and saint. Akka Mahadevi is part of the rich tradition of bhakti yoga, which, historically, is seen as a reaction to a more ascetic approach to self-realization. Five thousand years ago, yoga represented a spirit of struggle, a solitary pursuit of overcoming the body and mind. In his quest for enlightenment, the archetypal yogi gave up clothes in favor of a loincloth, shunned material possessions, and paid little heed to the body's desire for food and sex.

By renouncing all worldly pleasures, he sought to quiet his mind and know the Self. But another idea was also brewing—one that emphasized the importance of channeling love toward God. The turning point in accepting this new path was the Bhagavad Gita , which was written somewhere between the third and second century BCE. The Gita, often called a "love song to God," expressed the idea that it's possible to move toward the highest goal—that of spiritual realization—by developing a connection with the heart.

go to site With this idea cracked wide open, yogis began to view devotion as a legitimate route to enlightenment. But the Gita doesn't prescribe any specifics on the bhakti path. According to Pomeda, it would take several centuries for a systematic practice of bhakti yoga to solidify. By the fifth century CE, the first devotional schools in the Shaiva tradition started to spring up in Southern India. These schools advocated devotion: worshiping and chanting mantra to deities like Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, and Kali; singing devotional songs; following a guru; meditating on the Divine; reading and writing ecstatic poetry; and performing rituals like puja and arati ceremonies.

Uniting the four types of yoga

The bhakti tradition emphasized the intense longing to know God, often called "the Beloved" in the poetry of the time. In a beautiful way, bhakti yoga values love and tolerance, which was revolutionary in the conventional caste system of India. Traditionally, women stayed home and only upper-caste men undertook serious spiritual study. But texts show that everyone, of whatever gender or class, was welcome to embrace bhakti practices. How can you incorporate Bhakti yoga into your daily life?