Yogic faith

Feeling love for all things and carrying a sense of devotion around with you can bring you peace. Bringing the concept of “bhakti” (devotion) into your yoga practice and into your life will cultivate more love and peace in you. It may take a quantum leap of attitude and faith though. Is it for you?

The stream of yoga called “bhakti yoga” is devotional in nature, and involves practicing yoga in the name of love or worship. There can be the physical practice, the meditation, the breathing techniques, study of the ancient scriptures and teachings, and maybe mantras, chants, or repetition of the sound “OM”. And off the mat, you try making your actions and overall purpose line up with the thing you are honouring. That thing can be any specific entity (a saint, Buddha, universal love, the universal intelligence, Jesus, your divine consciousness, etc.). Your yoga practice begins to take on new purpose, and becomes more vigorous, consistent, intense, and driven by love, devotion, and surrender. Then your life gradually starts to fill with love and purpose.

We often hear about inmates and others who are down on their luck describing their rock bottom, and how faith “was all they had”, and that’s how they kept going. That’s devotion and love. They prayed or meditated, perhaps repeating the Hail Mary as a mantra.

Have faith in something, even if it is simply the world or humanity.

It was not always easy for me to accept faith or devotion, because it meant trying, being positive, and accepting love. In my youth and early adulthood, these ideas were impossible, unfathomable, and unthinkable; being “smart”, logical, cynical, and scientific meant (for me) rejecting faith as a waste of time.

As a human being, I have experienced my share of suffering, and at times, it seemed easiest just to dwell in that pain, to wallow, give up, and to judge myself. My yoga practice (unbeknownst to me!) began filling me up with love, because I got closer to my underlying self and a little further away from the mad world.

Hinduism and Buddhism have carried forward many concepts from yoga, including bhakti. In all three philosophies, devotion carries the added dimension of action. Doing. Moving, rejoicing, giving, and incorporating healthy habits into each day, to reach that peace – that union, nirvana, samadhi, God, your inner light, the universe, energy, or everlasting peace/life – whatever you prefer to call it. I wish you love and peace in your life, and I hope that you never fall on hard times. But if you do, remember bhakti. Remember that you can love your way out.

There’s a perfect-fitting Sanskrit word to close my blog today, and it means “the inner light in me honours the inner light in you”: Namaste.

Author: Ian Batt

Yoga blogger and digital marketing & commerce guy.

7 thoughts on “Yogic faith”

  1. I believe thjs iss one oof thhe most importamt injfo ffor me.
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  2. I really admire your intention here and your passion to push off from shore and paddle into the sea with faith. A word of warning to those who love Jesus however, Yoga and Christianity do not mix. If one desires to follow Jesus then it would be best to just find another physical exercise or stretching program. If one desires to realize one’s innate godhood (self-realization) and achieve union with Brahman (the universal soul), then practice yoga, which is specifically designed to accomplish that end but realize that at that end you will no longer be a Christian. I would say Namaste but I cannot since any light I have is not from me and I have no right to commit that light to any task, person or destination. Rather, I will say may you find the Amrita – the nectar of everlasting light. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

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    1. Thanks for your comments. Thanks for reading. Mr. Widemouth, yes I agree that Christianity is not yoga, which places and defines the divine in a different place. Part of my spiritual quest is an attempt to compare many religions and find what common ground there is. I know, things like reincarnation are not universally accepted. The purpose of my search (which is not just an intellectual one) for common ground is to answer my own questions and to extend my spiritual journey.

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