Bhakti Yoga is a spiritual practice of yoga; meaning that learning how to to become a practitioner requires more than just physical practice. Truly undertaking the practice of bhakti yoga requires beginners to immerse themselves in the practice and philosophy of Bhakti yoga.
The Hare Krishna Melbourne community is all about sharing knowledge, and is always happy to help newcomers learn more about bhakti yoga and the vedic lifestyle. In fact, many of the activities we hold that align with a vedic lifestyle are open to anyone interested in coming along!
To begin learning how to practice bhakti yoga and maintain a vedic lifestyle, there are four principles you should start with: association, books, chanting, and diet.
Associating yourself with practitioners of bhakti yoga will help you begin to learn everything you need to know. It’s important to surround yourself with likeminded people, participating in activities that will help you learn to embrace your inner harmony.
The Hare Krishna Melbourne Temple hosts a large number of activities throughout the year that can help you learn more about our practices and philosophies.
Some of the events you can participate in include:
- Free Sunday feasts – each Sunday you can find members of our temple and other guests attending our event with free vegetarian food for all. Attendees find these a great way to meditate together and discuss philosophy with one another. Coming along to these evenings is a great way to learn from our members.
- Temple festivals – with over twenty major festivals throughout the year, there’s always an event on the horizon. Our temple festivals are an opportunity to participate in chanting, dancing, and feasting with us, and learn more about our deities and practices from our devotees.
- Kirtan Sundays – if coming along to our Sunday feast seems too daunting to begin with, why not come along to our Sunday Kirtan sessions? These sessions are great for bhakti yoga beginners and are hosted at our temple from 7:30pm – 9:30pm each Sunday.
One of the best ways to learn in life is through books. We have many books in our online store that can help bhakti yoga beginners piece together understanding of their new practice. When you look at the books in our online store, you’ll find that most of them are incredibly affordable – this is because the money raised from selling books to share our knowledge goes straight back into producing more books to share.
Some of the books that will help you on your journey to understanding the practice and philosophy of bhakti yoga include:
- Bhagavad Gita – this book is the best source for yoga and vedic lifestyle, and is one of the most recommended books for anyone new to yoga, vedic lifestyle, and Hare Krishna practices.
- Bhagavad Gita: 365 Reflections for Daily Mindfulness – this book takes all of the key insights from the Bhagavad Gita and turns it into small reflections that help you fully comprehend the practices and philosophies.
- Chant and Be Happy – this book explores more about mantra meditation and how it helps us to gain inner harmony. This book is particularly popular as it includes conversations with two of the most well-known practitioners of mantra meditation – John Lennon and George Harrison.
Chanting is one of the key practices in bhakti yoga, and is practiced to help you connect more with your own inner peace, the rest of the world around you, and a higher power.
The chant most commonly known is the Maha Mantra, which is closely associated with the Hare Krishna practitioners. The chant goes:
“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”
Chanting the Maha Mantra is a form of meditation that helps to clear our minds. Many devotees practice the mantra 108 times, 16 times a day. This helps us to focus on our connection with ourselves, the world, and – for Hare Krishna practitioners in particular – Krishna. To learn more about the Maha Mantra, read our blog “Why Chant Hare Krishna?”.
One part of beginning to practice bhakti yoga that you might overlook is diet. Karma free vegetarian food is a key to maintaining spiritual health. If you aren’t currently a vegetarian, moving to a vegetarian diet only needs a few lifestyle changes in order to fully embrace the delicious and karma free food you’re missing out on! If you want to know more about about vegetarian, karma free, and non-violent food, you can learn more by:
- Reading our blogs on “Health is Wealth: Reverting to Vegetarianism” and “Care for Cows: Why Hare Krishnas Believe in Non-violent Dairy”
- Coming along to our free Sunday feasts at the Hare Krishna Melbourne Temple. Thee] meals are karma free, and you can talk with other attendees about any questions you may have.
Get Involved in Melbourne Bhakti Yoga
If you can’t tell, our biggest tip to learning all about bhakti yoga and vedic lifestyle is to get involved as much as you can with the community. The best way to learn is by finding a group of practitioners who are willing to teach, discuss, and guide you along the way. Our free Sunday night feast, bhakti yoga, and kirtan events are open to everyone in the Melbourne community, and are a great way to find new friends along like minded people. If you’d like to learn more feel free to get in touch, or join us each Sunday at 197 Danks St, Albert park VIC 3206.