Bhakti Yoga and Practice Guide

February 1, 2022

Last updated : December 18, 2023

The aim of yoga is to reunite with the ultimate reality. It is the inward journey of realizing what is real in life, and what is not. Through yoga, we journey from a place of limited understanding to deep self-awareness. But how exactly do we achieve true self awareness? 

The Vedas, a collection of sacred Indian texts, reveal four key yoga paths: Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Bhakti Yoga. Known as the 'Path of Devotion', Bhakti Yoga teaches us how to purify our emotions and channel them toward something larger than our individual selves. It is a journey of love, faith, and selfless devotion to the Divine. 

Keep reading to discover the true meaning of Bhakti Yoga, its profound benefits, practice techniques, and if it's the right path for you. 

What Is Bhakti Yoga?

Often referred to as the ‘Path of Devotion’ or the ‘Yoga of Love’, Bhakti Yoga is the spiritual practice of devotion, love, and surrendering to the Divine or a higher power. 

It is one of the Four Paths of Yoga which lead us to enlightenment. Each of the four paths resonates with a different aspect of our being:

The main aim of Bhakti Yoga is to focus our emotions on something greater than ourselves and shed the ego, eventually uniting with the universal consciousness.

Within yoga philosophy, the three gunas — Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva — are essential qualities inherent in all beings. Bhakti Yoga aligns with the path of Sattva, representing purity. By embracing this path, you commit to a life of absolute love, fostering self-purification and true awareness. 

Read: Spirituality in Light of Yoga Philosophy

What Does Yoga of Devotion Mean?

Yoga of Devotion

Devotion means to surrender; it’s the selfless dedication to something beyond oneself. Consider a mother's love for her child: even when exhausted, she'll prioritize her child's needs over her own. She willingly embraces the responsibilities of motherhood, whether she’s exhausted, stressed, or frustrated, surrendering to the purity of selfless devotion.

Yoga of Devotion also emphasizes the significance of commitment, not just to a deity like Krishna or a spiritual guru but also to sacred teachings and scriptures. Yet, genuine Bhakti Yoga goes beyond mere ritualistic following. It's about aligning with the sattvic (pure) essence of what or whom you're devoted to. It encourages seeking and engaging with a guide or system that embodies purity, and approaching it with genuine curiosity and conscious understanding.

Is Bhakti Yoga Right for You?

Based on your individual traits, surroundings, and personal circumstances, certain spiritual paths may resonate more with you. Practicing the Yoga of Devotion is ideal for those who are more emotionally inclined, as it helps these practitioners channel their emotions into something pure and profound.

In the scripture Narada Bhakti Sutras, the sage Narada describes various forms of Bhakti Yoga. Those who naturally gravitate to the below will do well to choose the path of devotion in yoga:

  • Worshiping the Divine (Pujasakti)
  • Surrendering oneself to the Divine (Atma-nivedanasakti)
  • Serving the Divine (Dasyasakti)

Essentially, if you feel you have the natural inclination to seek a connection with something beyond yourself using your emotions and your faith, then Bhakti Yoga is the right path for you.


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Beginner’s Guide to Practicing Bhakti Yoga

Now, how do you practice devotion in yoga? Bhakti Yoga is more than having faith in the Divine or intensely chanting mantras. It is a deeply spiritual path in yoga that provides us with an understanding of oneness and harmony with the universal Being and all creatures. Here's a simple guide to help you find your feet in Bhakti Yoga.

Find a Role Model 

Embarking on the Bhakti Yoga journey might feel uncertain at times, much like seeking a healthier lifestyle. To navigate this, consider finding a role model, similar to a fitness mentor when aiming for better physical health. By following the positive habits of your chosen mentor, such as their diet, routine, and habits, you gradually start to replace your unhealthy habits with healthier ones. 

Similarly, if you find capable, righteous teacher, you will naturally progress on the right spiritual path and not become misled or attached. So, it's vital that you choose your role model wisely, and remember to follow their principles and not the person themselves. 

Read More - How to Be Happy: A Holistic Guide to True Happiness

Core Practices of Bhakti Yoga

The Yoga of Devotion caters to various seekers, from the curious novices to those deeply committed to spiritual liberation. The consistent thread of this practice is its emphasis on purity and true intention. To remain dedicated and focused during your spiritual development, you can incorporate the following techniques into your Bhakti Yoga practice: 

Mantra Chanting

Mantras are powerful phrases or words which are filled with positive energy. By chanting these with intention, they can influence your subconscious mind and perception for the world. Often, these mantras include names of deities such as Krishna. The repetitive utterance, combined with deep faith, can provide a sense of calm and connection to the Divine.


Translated as "being in the company of the truth," Satsang is immersing yourself in a spiritual environment, ideally among like-minded individuals. This could mean attending spiritual lectures, reading sacred texts, or simply engaging in uplifting discussions about self-realization. 

Along with the people in your life, it's also beneficial to surround yourself with content that aligns with your chosen path. The sensory inputs you engage with — like the TV shows you watch or music you listen to — can have a significant impact on your spiritual well-being, so select these with Bhakti Yoga in mind

Japa Meditation and Mudras

Japa is the repetitive chanting of mantras as a form of meditation, helping to deepen your connection to the mantra's essence and the Divine. 

To further enhance this practice, you can incorporate specific hand gestures known as mudras. These are symbolic gestures that channel energy flow and reflect intention. When practicing Japa meditation, it's important that you maintain focus and truly immerse yourself in the profound meaning of the mantra.

Bhakti Yoga Benefits 

Whether practicing Yoga of Devotion alone or merging it with the other paths, it can have a significant influence on your mental health, well-being, and overall spiritual growth. Here are a few notable benefits of Bhakti Yoga: 

Reduces Ego

Bhakti Yoga reduces the ego as it encourages us to act beyond personal desires. As we seek to move outside our self-centric mindset, we find a path towards selflessness and heightened awareness.

Strengthens Virtues 

Practicing Bhakti Yoga nudges us towards making better choices in life. Instead of being driven by our personal likes or dislikes, we train our consciousness to align with a more virtuous course of action.

Purifies Emotions

This path directs our emotions towards God, virtuous individuals, or sacred scriptures. By focusing on these pure entities, we gradually begin to purify our emotions and express love in our daily interactions.

Drives Selfless Action

When Bhakti Yoga is merged with Karma Yoga, it transforms actions into service-oriented deeds. This combination ensures that tasks are performed with the purest of intentions and utmost devotion.

Promotes Gratitude 

Combining devotion with Jnana Yoga means acquiring knowledge with gratitude towards sages who have passed down wisdom. This union keeps the seeker grounded and humble.

Deepens Spirituality 

Integrating Bhakti Yoga with Raja Yoga centers our attention on higher principles rather than mere sensory control. This union deepens our spiritual concentration.

Improves Mental Health

Research shows that individuals with deeper religious or spiritual beliefs often experience enhanced mental well-being. They adapt faster to health challenges compared to those less spiritually inclined. As a result, embracing spirituality in yoga can cultivate emotions like happiness, hope, and gratitude, which positively influence both mental and physical health.

Final Thought

The Four Paths of Yoga are key roadmaps guiding us toward peace, happiness, and fulfillment. Handed down through millennia, they nurture every aspect of our being. Bhakti Yoga, in particular, is an essential practice to weave into your spiritual journey, paving the way for a deeper connection with the ultimate truth.


Koenig HG. Religion, spirituality, and health: the research and clinical implications. ISRN Psychiatry. 2012;2012:278730. Published 2012 Dec 16. doi:10.5402/2012/278730.

ram jain

Discover yoga philosophy principles to boost your happiness

Get free access to a life-changing series of 6 webinars with Arhanta Yoga founder Ram Jain

About the author

Ram Jain

Born into a Jain family where yoga has been the way of life for five generations, my formal yoga journey began at age of eight at a Vedic school in India. There I received a solid foundation in ancient scriptures, including Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Yoga Sutras (to name a few).

In 2009, I founded Arhanta Yoga Ashrams. I see yoga as a way to master the five senses, so I named our ashrams 'Arhanta Yoga,' the yoga to master the five senses!

In 2017, I also founded Arhanta Yoga Online Academy so that people who can not visit our ashrams can follow our courses remotely.

At Arhanta, we don't just teach yoga. We teach you how to reach your potential, deepen your knowledge, build your confidence, and take charge of your life.

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