Yoga is more than just physical exercise. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root Yuj, which means to be related or combined. Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means – service of love. Bhakti-yoga means to connect with the Supreme by the service of love devotion.
The Bhagavad Gita, the central spiritual text of ISKCON, describes a variety of yoga practices. Among them are karma-yoga (practice of conscious action), jnana-yoga (philosophical study and contemplation) and hatha-yoga (practice of yoga-asanas and breathing exercises).
Nowadays, some yoga practitioners consider that the physical benefits of yoga are the end in themselves. But according to traditional yoga systems, physical exercises are only a step in the realization of God. The Gita finally prescribes bhakti-yoga (the path of dedication and love) as the culmination of other yoga practices. Bhakti-yoga focuses on developing our dedication, service and love for the Divine Lord Krishna.
The path of bhakti-yoga is developed through a variety of activities. These include mantra meditation, or the chanting of God’s names. The singing is done individually in pearls (japa) or in community singing mantras accompanied by music (kirtan). The study of sacred texts such as Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, association with like-minded spiritual aspirants, sanctified vegetarian food and life respecting the principles of veracity, mercy, austerity and cleanliness for a life of follower of bhakti.