During the recent theory class conducted by Master Paalu, he shared with us some of various yoga styles in Singapore and India. I have not heard of quite a number of them and was quite curious about it hence, I started to search online. All was well (read: quick reads) until I came to Nāda Yoga and it got me hooked right from the first search result.
As a musically-trained person and music lover, the idea of sound being a form of yoga is most interesting and captivating. Sharing the summary of what I have found below.
What is Nāda Yoga?
Nāda Yoga is a metaphysical system that is based on the belief that the entire cosmos and all that exists in the cosmos, including human beings, consists of sound vibrations, called nāda. Nāda means the flow of sound and Yoga means Union. Practitioners focus their mind in meditation and then use sound to access higher states of consciousness and healing.
Four types of Nāda
- Vaikari – the physical sound. This is the audible sound that can be heard by the human ear. It is the sound of speech, song and when two things strike each other (e.g. instruments).
- Madhyama – mental sound. An example provided by Sadhguru: “Suppose I say “chocolate” or if I show you something that looks like it, and your mind thinks, “Oh, chocolate.” It is a sound that comes from a dimension of your mind. It is not just an abstraction or a vibration of thought. “Hot chocolate” is a voice, a sound.”
- Pashyanti – subconscious sound or what is known as a visual sound. An example from Sadhguru: “Suppose I did not show you anything or shout “Chocolate,” but without any input from outside, from within, from some deep recess in your mind – “Chocolate.” It is not a reflection or rebound of what I said; somewhere from within, your mind can create it.”
- Para Nada – transcendent sound that is beyond the senses and the mind and can also be heard in different dimensions. It is a sound without movement or frequency – a still sound. A state of consciousness corresponds with this stillness. The Nada Yogi reaches this state by becoming one with Para Nada.
Benefits of Nāda Yoga
- Relaxes and releases stress
- Regulates the immune system
- Relieves tension, high blood pressure, insomnia and negative mind states
- Develops an atmosphere of joy, happiness and harmony
How Nāda Yoga is practiced
Choose a quiet place where you can sit for some time without being disturbed.
- Bhramari Pranayama (i.e. Bumblebee breathing): It is used to strengthen and develop musicians’ ear for music.
- Place the thumbs over the ears, closing them, and bring the little fingers to rest lightly on the third eye.
- Close the eyes, take a few deep breaths and then on your next exhalation emit a humming sound (much like a bee), directing your full attention to the humming sound.
- Continue the practice for five minutes, increasing to 10 minutes as you become more comfortable with it.
- After the practice, remain sitting still with closed eyes in any comfortable seated position with relaxed hands or the Nada Yoga pose and listen to the inner sounds.
- Listening to soothing instrumental music
- Sit quietly and focus your full attention on the music. Gradually direct your attention inwards and towards your inner subtle sounds. Eventually, you will become aware of your inner sounds and can bring your full concentration to these sounds.
- Relax your body and mind into deep meditation and then gently come back to a wakeful state when you are ready