Yoga were like fine wine, Hatha Yoga would surely
be the wine for export. It could be said that Raja
Yoga and Kundalini Yoga got a fairly strong foothold
outside India, as well. All of these forms of Yoga
have many aspects, but the physical aspect is what
lures most Yoga students - outside of India.
Bhakti Yoga, on the other hand, is a spiritual form
of Yoga and is very commonly practiced within India.
Bhakti Yoga is union by love and devotion to God.
Therefore, this is the form of Yoga that really does
have a deep spiritual aspect and a connection to Hinduism.
This spiritual, and religious, aspect is possibly
the reason why Bhakti Yoga has not managed to proliferate
as well as Hatha Yoga, which is Union by physical
Could Bhakti Yoga be practiced by a Yoga practitioner
who is not a Hindu? Let's ask, for example, could
a Christian, Moslem, or Jew practice Bhakti Yoga and
stay within the confines of his or her religion? Some
This could be considered sectarian Yoga, when a number
of Yoga practitioners, of the same religion, gather
to worship, meditate, pray, sing, or chant. Attachment
to God is not reserved to any one specific religion.
Therefore, in principle, Bhakti Yoga can be practiced
by members of any religion.
There are many more types of Bhakti classifications,
but I will name two basic classifications. Nishkamya
Bhakti is praise to God for all that you have. This
is appreciation and acceptance of all your situations,
relationships, and everything else. Instead of being
a seeker, you are now a "finder" of all that is good
in your life. In turn, you will easily be able to
project loving kindness to others.
In contrast, there is also Sakamya Bhakti. This is
devotion to God with the desire for gaining something.
The objective could be material gain, to free yourself
from an ailment, or to gain power of some kind. In
time of need is when most people pray to God. This
is a common thread in all of us, and surprisingly
our prayers are answered in a positive way.
It is important to understand that Bhakti Yoga is
much more complex than this simplified explanation
that I have presented. However, the principles of
Bhakti Yoga are there for all Yoga students of every
Interestingly, I have heard strong arguments against
"oneness" with God. The theory is that God will only
let us so close, as we are imperfect. It is true that
humans are imperfect, but there is no harm in self-improvement
Copyright 2006 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Jerard is director of Yoga teacher training at Aura
in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and
Yoga. He teaches that along with fitness. He wrote:
Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga
students who want to be a teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html