Bhakti means “devotion to God”. In Bhakti Yoga the practitioner cultivates desire for God. Without devotion, asana is meaningless exercise and Yoga cannot be attained. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali repeatedly says that devotion to God is the most direct path to Self-realization.
One who has devotion to God is called a bhakta. It does not matter to what form of God your devotion is directed; what matters is that the devotion should be directed to something higher than your own ego-self. Devoting yourself to some form of God by mirroring your soul, shows your inner wisdom, and stirs your heart toward your highest potential for unconditional love.
Bhav is the Sanskrit term used to describe the mood of one who is in love with the Divine. This mood of love is essential to any yoga practice.
Devotional music is an important component of Jivamukti Yoga. Devotional chants sung by Bhagavan Das, Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, Shyam Das and others, whether live or recorded, continuously permeate the Jivamukti classrooms, reminding us all of the deep sweetness of devotion.
Krishna Das tells us that “Chanting the Names of God is one of the devotional practices that can dissolve the feeling of separateness from the Beloved. Chanting utilizes the body, mind and emotions.”
Devotional singing, kirtan, is a bhakti practice, which can elevate the fire of emotion to devotion, and melt away the faithlessness of our hearts which may have become hardened by years of intellectual bondage. When the river of tears floods the mind, the soul is carried to the shores of the Divine Heart, there to drop into the embrace of the Beloved. “Home (OM) at last.”
Excerpt from Chapter 12, Jivamukti Yoga by Sharon Gannon and David Life