Bhakti Yoga is the branch of devotion. It integrates a spiritual aspect to yoga. That spirituality can take the form of religion or a connection to God, nature, love, or a higher power. At its essence, Bhakti Yoga helps us to realize our connection to all that is by recognizing the part of us that is eternal. It is the ultimate surrender to the divine.
Bhakti is “pure, unselfish, divine love,” according to Sri Swami Sivananda. “There is not a bit of bargaining or expectation of anything here. This higher feeling is indescribable in words. It has to be sincerely experienced by the devotee.” Your yoga practice may not involve Bhakti Yoga at first, but as you get more interested in the philosophy and practice of yoga, you will likely begin to find a deeper meaning in the practice. This is the natural evolution of Bhakti Yoga. You might already be practicing Bhakti yoga, you simply didn’t have the term for it.
Bhakti yoga often begins with ritual, offerings, mantras, or ceremonies. The practice of all forms of yoga can involve bhakti if a sense of divine devotion is present. You might choose to offer up your yoga practice (or anything in your life, for that matter) to a higher power. You could recite a mantra that has special meaning for you. Place a picture of spiritual being in a special place where you practice or meditate, or wear mala beads to remind you of your true nature.
Bhakti Yoga is said to be a sweet practice that softens the heart. Perhaps you might begin to notice a deeper connection in your yoga practice—to yourself, to others, and to a higher power, whatever your interpretation. Yoga can help you to find this connection.