While Hatha Yoga requires a strong and flexible body, Raja Yoga requires a disciplined and concentrated mind, and Jnana Yoga requires a keen intellect, the only requirement for Bhakti Yoga is an open, loving heart.
GOAL: To develop a personal relationship with the ‘divine’, which could include a higher power, nature, or the self.
HOW TO GET THERE: Prayer, chanting or your own preferred way of expressing devotion.
Bhakti means “devotion” or “love” and this path contains various practices to unite the practitioner with the Divine.
Bhakti Yoga is considered the most direct method to experience the unity of mind, body and spirit.
This deeply spiritual practice draws heavily on the Hindu deities. Each of these deities is seen as representing a human aspect of the single Godhead or Brahman (similar to the way Christian saints represent specific attributes and qualities of God). The use of Hindu deities in Bhakti Yoga can be a large obstacle for Western practitioners, especially for those with a deeply religious background. But the use of the Hindu deities is not required for this practice.
The most popular limb of Bhakti Yoga in the West is Kirtan, with national and local Kirtan walas performing weekly in small to large cities. Bhakti Yoga can be practiced by itself or be integrated into other types of yoga or spiritual practices.