Within yoga, apara is often used to describe the beginning of a spiritual yoga practice, referring to the lesser stages or spiritual maturity/understanding. In Bhakti yoga, yogis desire to practice yoga with a devotion to God, or Higher Consciousness. Apara bhakti is a term that describes the beginning stages of a spiritual or devotional yoga practice, in which a bhakta performs religious ceremonies and rituals to one specific deity.
The opposite of apara is para, meaning “supreme” or “absolute.” In Bhakti yoga, para bhakti is used to refer to a yogi who has an expanded heart and spirit, who understands and reveres the Divine as encompassing all and transcending all. This is considered a higher form of spiritual maturity and worship.