NADA YOGA: THE YOGA OF SOUND

(Continued from Yoga Is Everywhere)

The ability to open to finding yoga (the divine) everywhere, even in a nightclub, came from my willingness to trust my still small voice and open to possibilities beyond the boundaries of my yoga mat. One of the greatest gems I found in the period of transition and exploration out of my rigid Hatha yoga practice, was discovering Nada Yoga, the yoga of sound.

The notion of art as a means to express our relationship with the divine is as ancient as the first people that walked this planet. From cave paintings to Bach, man has always felt moved to express love for the divine through art.

In East Indian yogic traditions, there is a yogic path recognized as a means to attain God-realization through music. It is called Nadopasana, singing, playing and composing music as an expression of the divine. Music is not seen as a form of entertainment, but as a means to attain moksha (liberation).

In this tradition, God is known as Nada Brahman, the embodiment of sound. Form, that which we experience as material, was created by sound. The ancient Rishis knew this. The Christian Bible says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” The ancient Hindu texts that predate the Bible known as The Vedas also say something very similar: “In the beginning there was Brahman (God) with whom was the Word, and the Word is Brahman.”

The practice of Nada Vidya, music as spiritual practice, is considered a powerful form of yoga in which an aspirant may quickly realize underlying spiritual truths. There are said to be two kinds of sound: the sound that exists in the music of the spheres and the sound that we create through our effort.

When a yogi sees music as a meditation, he begins to express a oneness relationship with the sound of the spheres, rather than expressing the noise of his chattering thoughts. To find and express from heartfelt stillness becomes a point of engaged, meditative focus for the Nada yogi. A quote from the Vedas, attributed to having been said by Lord Narayana Himself, expresses this succinctly: “I dwell not in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of yogins, nor in the sun but where my devotees sing, there I will be.”

A Nada yogi understands that the purity of the soul desires to express, speak or sing. This stirs the mind. The mind activates the body. The body creates sound. The aim of Nada Yoga is to realize the essence that shines behind sound. Music is seen as a spiritual practice, which inspires us to experience the light of pure consciousness.

(Continues tomorrow with Tantra)