When many people think about yoga, they think about daunting yoga studios filled with colourful foam yoga mats and coordinated activewear sets. This image can be intimidating, and honestly, disconnected from the purpose and form of traditional yoga.
The Hare Krishna Melbourne community practices a type of yoga called “Bhakti Yoga”, which is connected deeply to our spiritual devotion. Practicing Bhakti yoga helps us to connect more with our God, Krishna, and helps us to feel enlightened, while also helping the movement and flow of our body.
What is Bhakti Yoga?
Bhakti Yoga is one traditional style of yoga described in ancient Hindu texts. In the Bhagavad Gītā (which is spoken by Lord Krishna Himself), Bhakti Yoga is said to be the path to reawaken our dormant love and re-establish our forgotten eternal relationship with Him. In that blissful state one sees everything (success, failure, gain, loss, family, friends, material objects) in connection to Krishna.
Practicing Bhakti Yoga doesn’t require fancy mats or expensive gym wear – it only needs you, your mind, and your heart. Bhakti Yoga focuses on the mindful and meditative aspects of yoga, often through mindful chanting and self-reflection.
Traditionally, Bhakti Yoga involves focusing on Krishna and your devotion to Him, however modern Bhakti Yoga practitioners often choose to direct their focus inwards. Bhakti Yoga emphasises the connected nature of all things. As you are encouraged to direct your mindfulness outside of yourself, you are inadvertently directing your focus inwards, too.
The Benefits of Bhakti Yoga
Through this mindful practice of yoga, many people start to see positive benefits in their lives.
The most well-known benefit is a connection to God. For many of those who practice Bhakti Yoga as part of their religious faith, Bhakti Yoga helps to strengthen their connection to God. The main goal of Bhakti Yoga is to achieve the sheer bliss of connecting with God (known as rasa). In this way, knowing that they have been able to connect with God allows practitioners to achieve harmony and happiness.
Those who practice Bhakti Yoga and do not look to strengthen their connection with God can also achieve incredible benefits. Practicing mindful yoga with a group of other practitioners can help improve your mood, improve your well-being and attention span, and reduce stress.
Practicing Bhakti Yoga for Beginners
Practicing Bhakti Yoga is more than just practicing yoga as a form of exercise or meditation. Bhakti Yoga is part of a bigger mindset of spirituality and mindfulness. Currently, many Bhakti practitioners achieve these principles through chanting, dancing, and feasting, which are all core elements of any Hare Krishna Melbourne celebration. Joining a group in practicing Bhakti Yoga can help you to learn and adhere to these principles, and help you achieve inner harmony.
To start practicing Bhakti Yoga as a beginner, you need to keep in mind 4 principles: A, B, C, and D.
One of the best ways to start learning, and get into the right mindset for, Bhakti Yoga is to start associating with like minded people! Our free Sunday Feasts are a great way to meet like minded people and learn more about what brings them to the Bhakti mindset!
Books such as Bhagavad Gita can help you to learn more about the Bhakti mindset. In fact, the Hare Krishna Melbourne online store has a number of books that can help you learn more about the spirituality that is deeply tied with Bhakti Yoga.
Chanting helps you to connect with the world around you, your inner peace, and a higher power. Many Bhakti Yoga practitioners chant Hare Krishna – also known as the Maha Mantra – to connect with Lord Krishna.
Maintaining a karma free diet is a great step towards practicing a Bhakti lifestyle. Karma free food is vegetarian food that is non-violent and sanctified – offered to Lord Krishna – to purify it. Each Sunday the Hare Krishna Melbourne Temple offers free sanctified meals as part of our Sunday Feasts, which are open to everyone. Coming along to the Temple on a Sunday is a sure way to help you practice your Bhakti mindset!
Free Bhakti Yoga For All Skill Levels
One of the best ways to learn and practice Bhakti Yoga is among a group of devoted practitioners – and we just happen to have those in abundance! Our Albert Park temple hosts Sunday night activities – including free Bhakti Yoga – which are open for everyone to enjoy. Our Sunday activities include free vegetarian feasts and Kirtan performances in addition to Bhakti Yoga. If you’re interested in learning Bhakti Yoga for beginners, or want to find other like minded practitioners, find out more about our free yoga classes.