Yoga of any kind is more than just completing postures and stilling your mind in the context of a classroom. Yoga is a process that requires influence from every aspect of your life. No practice of yoga requires this kind of devotion like Bhakti Vinyasa yoga. Bhakti Vinyasa yoga combines the devotion and gratitude associated with Bhakti and the flow of breathing associated with Vinyasa to create a style of yoga that is both physically and spiritually intense.
What is Bhakti Vinyasa?
In order to understand Bhakti Vinyasa fully it’s important to know what each of these words mean and what they provide to yoga. Bhakti means devotion. In the traditional sense Bhakti refers to devotion and love for a personal god, or for any endeavor.
This theistic devotion may have evolved with its implementation in western yoga. However, that passion and adoration still holds great weight in practicing Bhakti Vinyasa. This devotion should be heart opening and applied to whatever religious or spiritual belief you align yourself with. It should also be used as a way to strengthen your ability and understanding of the world around you.
A major component to Bhakti is surrender. Surrender in the sense of coming to acceptance with the world around you. In our daily lives there are many things that we come across where we have no control over their effects. Coming to terms with our inability to control every aspect of the world and how it affects our lives is crucial to alleviating stress and concentrating our minds on what things we can control. When practicing Bhakti Vinyasa we want our minds clear of distractions that inhibit our abilities to properly participate.
Vinyasa is the other side to this practice which relates to the flow of breathing. If you have experience with other forms of yoga, you know the importance of breathing. Having a controlled flow of breathing, especially when shared with a group of participants, allows you to move deeper; focusing on you in the moment rather than the intensity of each pose. Having the proper flow of breathing allows for your body to stay fueled for a long and strenuous class but also allows for your mind to concentrate on a central point, something that is necessary for meditation.
Bhakti Vinyasa Classes
When it comes to participating in a Bhakti Vinyasa class at Yoga Now we have crafted a curriculum that strengthens your devotion and concentration. By utilizing the Kirtan we are able to hold a class that uses its group participation to improve individual efforts. Kirtan is the art of ecstatic chanting. By repeating mantra as a group, we are able to work as one, beyond the self, allowing us to view ourselves in the grander scheme of things.
Combined with the Kirtan is an itinerary of Hatha Vinyasa Flow Yoga. This hybrid method of Hatha and Vinyasa teachings brings a set of rigorous postures with an emphasis on the flow of breathing. The breathing works in tandem with the Kirtan chants to support the physical poses being practiced. Because all of this is going on at once it can be a difficult regiment to repeat but it is one unlike any other form of yoga.
In a Bhakti Vinyasa class your body and mind become one through connecting posture and breathing. Vinyasa yoga of any kind focuses on the breathing, determining how long each pose is held. Following the instructor’s guidance, a pose will be held to a duration in which the breath is circulated. In Bhakti Vinyasa yoga a chant can serve as an extension of this method. The rhythm of the mantra that is chanted allows for a pace to be set and allows for each participant to fit into the flow of the exercise.
The Kirtan that is performed adds an extra support in the meditative process. When meditating in any form of yoga it is important to have something to focus on that grounds you in the present of our reality. An experienced person in meditation can ground themselves on the smallest aspect, whether it be a corner of the room or a spot on the wall. By focusing on this one point they are able to free their mind of other external forces and just focus on the present and themselves.
This can be a very difficult skill to master which is why other grounding methods are provided in yoga classes. The chant of the Kirtan can allow for participants to focus on the task of reciting the chant, alleviating themselves from external forces with greater ease than if they were on their own. Working together, the class can look inward at themselves while also seeing the part they play in working together as a group.
The goal of our Bhakti Vinyasa class is to open ourselves up and experience Bhav. Bhav is a Sanskrit word that means worldly existence, becoming, and affinity. In the context of yoga, Bhav is the emotional connection between you and the spiritual world. By absorbing yourself into the grander context of everything around you, you are able to acknowledge the presence of higher powers at play. Whether that be a deity or a teacher, the importance being open to learning and experiencing what the world has to offer.
Bhakti Vinyasa in Daily Life
The biggest life skill that Bhakti Vinyasa offers in our daily lives is compassion. By seeing the power in emotion, you are able to better appreciate the people and things around you. By seeing the value of those in your life whom you cherish you can better acknowledge the necessary presence they have.
It’s one thing to be reminded of the great people we already have in our lives, but the greater skill of compassion is being able to accept those unknown to us. Living a life open to everyone around you can lead to many benefits. New friends, new experiences, a patience for things you don’t enjoy, and a better understanding of the world around you. By having this perspective, you are enjoying all of what the world has to offer and not closing yourself off to others.