May: Bhakti Yoga Part 2 of 2
by Kevin Sahaj, 01-Jun-2016
The way of the heart, devotion and sacred space.
This month's theme from the Bhagavad Gita is a continuation of last months theme: the path of "Bhakti " yoga, the yoga of opening the heart in devotion. In the traditional Indian way of devotion, this is expressed as puja or devotional offerings of light, water, incense and food. This outer expression of offering is an external support for the internal offering to help us connect to the feeling of loving devotion and humbleness. When one is fully present in a pure consciousness "prayata-ātmanaḥ " and offers something from the heart " bhakti-upahṛtam " it will be accepted by Krishna. What this means is that when we create the space within to open our hearts in devotion and humbleness our deeper Self ,(Krishna Consciousness) accepts this gift and we are then more deeply connected to our real nature and truth.
By simply connecting to the heart with the feeling of devotion "Bhakti" , automatically we are connected to everything and everyone in a more intimate and sacred way. Offering with the heart doesn't mean to be overly emotional and sentimental, when we offer in the the way of "prayata-ātmanaḥ " in pure consciousness then we are really in the state of Yoga. Bhakti Yoga bypasses the monkey conceptual mind and connects us completely to that which is real, meaningful and eternal: the heart. Bhakti is considered to be the final expression and action of a spiritual life. Yoga philosophy and practice without Bhakti is just a dry intellectual exercise and physical exercise.
There are many ways to "practice" Bhakti Yoga. For example singing Kirtan, creating a sacred space in your home, treating everyone with love and respect, and while practicing yoga asana, seeing your practice as an offering of the heart rather than a physical achievement. There are no limits to your offering all will be accepted, all that is needed is a pure heart of devotion.
patraḿ puṣpaḿ phalaḿ toyaḿ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaḿ bhakty-upahṛtam
If one offers Me with love, pure consciousness and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.
Kevin Sahaj is a dedicated yoga practitioner who has been studying and practicing yoga for 30 years. His approach to teaching is eclectic and draws from many different methods and teachings to help students align their lives towards awakening.