It has been defined as a practice of devotion toward God, solely motivated by the sincere, loving desire to please God, rather than the hope of divine reward or the fear of divine punishment. Bhakti yoga is often considered by Hindus to be the easiest way for ordinary people to attain a spiritually liberated state, because although it is a form of yoga, its practice is not as rigorous as most other yogic schools, and it is possible to practice bhakti yoga without needing to become a full-time yogi. The origins of Bhakti can be seen in the upanishads, specifically the Shvetashvatara Upanishad. The Bhagavad Gita, and the Puranas are important scriptures that expound the philosophy of bhakti yoga. Hindu movements in which bhakti yoga is the main practice are called bhakti movements – the major schools of which are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism.
“For me, bhakti means whatever strikes your heart with beauty, whatever hits the mark of your heart and inspires you to just feel the love,” says Sianna Sherman, a senior Anusara Yoga teacher. As you tap into this universal love, you naturally develop a sense of trust that this benevolent, wise universe provides; you relax; and you can’t help but generate positive energy for others.