What is Na da Yoga? And what are its Benefits
The entire universe is made up of vibrations called nāda. This is a concept that goes as far back as to Gautham Buddha who stated that the whole world is made of vibrations, sound or otherwise, and we must tap into these vibrations to be one with the universe. Nāda yoga essentially believes in the blending of self and sound, the understanding of the vibrations within and without.
Nāda yoga is not part of the traditional five-fold understanding of yoga; i.e. Jnana, Bhakti, Karma, Kriya and Raja. It is a relatively new concept and features most commonly in the West as being wildly popular.
According to Nāda yoga, there are four ways that sound is exhibited, varying according to the sound wave patterns. These four stages are:
The human ear can only hear sounds that fall within the 20-20,000 Hz frequency range. Being able to experience sounds that go above or beyond this range is being aware of Para Nāda. A sound at its maximum pitch is subject to a sudden startling stillness. It is at this moment that the sound is at Para Nāda.
An interesting concept Pashyanti is the sound experienced by the mind. Hearing a sound or a piece of a song only in your mind is a manifestation of your conscious understanding. It is lower in frequency than Para.
Lower in frequency than even Pashyanti, it is still supposed to be inaudible or barely audible. When two things come into contact, sound vibrations are produced that is barely audible. This is Madhyama.
Probably the basest form of sound (according to the ethereal list of Nāda) is the one that can be easily heard, easily audible. The lowest of frequencies that can be heard by human ears, Vaikhari Nāda is sound that we hear every day, either in chaos form, music or voice.
How to Do This Yoga:
Nāda yoga is the ability to not only hear all four manifestations of sound, but also to be able to interpret the universe through these sounds.
Atmosphere: As is the case with most forms of yoga, atmosphere needs to be set first. With a calm and receptive mind, situate yourself somewhere where you will not be disturbed. Then, play music that is calming and simple, preferably simple Indian Classical music or mono-instrumental music.
Focusing: Breathe. And concentrate on your breathing. Focus on the music that is playing in the background. Do this for about twenty minutes a day, and try to repeat as much as possible. Hopefully, if done with concentration, you will soon be aware of two types of sounds, those that are within and those that are around you. After a few days, you won’t need the music anymore to be able to focus.
Your experience: Everyone’s understanding is different. Everyone’s journey is different. Yours will be different from another’s and will be just as enriching. You can follow guide books but at the end of the day, your experience will only be your own to learn from.
What are the Benefits of Nāda Yoga?
Attention span: One of the most practical uses of Nāda Yoga is that your attention span is widened and your concentration becomes much better.
Negative emotions reduced: Stressful lifestyles can be a cause for a lot of unhappiness. Nāda Yoga helps reduce your stress levels and generally leaves you feeling more content.
Understanding of self: You live with yourself every day. Through Nāda Yoga, you learn to understand yourself through the universe around you. Nāda Yoga helps provide a means to understanding the chaos around you through focused concentration and sound vibration, an unusual and effective combination.