Yoga and Health Magazine (UK): Nada Yoga – Yoga and Sound

BY Parvati

By Parvati Devi
Yoga is not just a physical practice but a way of life. It is about learning to be present in all one does, to see the divine here, now, in this moment. It is about feeling connected to something much greater than our limited ego or will. It is about being in service to life, feeling interconnected with that very life force.
We like to think one thing is spiritual and another is not. Our minds tend to judge, categorize and divide. In so doing, we miss seeing the fullness and the beauty of life. When we walk into a yoga studio, we may hope to find peacefulness and spirituality. We may find it. We may also find lots of egos stuck to their mats.
When we walk out onto the world, we may see rushing people and hear loud noises. What happened to the stillness we found in our yoga practice? Have we have lost the eternal quiet that exists perennially beneath the noise?
If we see only a yoga studio as serene and the world as noisy, we miss an opportunity to deepen our yoga practice and find the divine everywhere, even in things we find harder to like. The world is our studio, our body our temple and our yoga practice everywhere.
The practice of seeing yoga in that which you may feel is dark, stressful or unpleasant becomes a creative seedbed for the birth of new light. After all, out of the darkness of the womb, new life is born. In the blackness of the center of the cosmos, the eternal sound OM reverberates.
The process of creating “Yoga In the Nightclub”, the title track of my new album “YIN: Yoga In the Nightclub”, was a yogic experience for me. A spontaneous, expansive and rooted arising from my soul, it expresses the celebration of merging with the divine while in human form.
“Yoga In the Nightclub” is not hatha yoga. It is a way for me as an artist and yogini to inspire and plant the seeds of possibility. The presence of expansion and spiritual transformation exist within the very fabric 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.
There is a yogic path recognized as a means to attain God-realization through music: Nadopasana – singing, playing and composing music as an expression of the divine. In this tradition, the divine is Nada Brahman, the embodiment of sound. All that has form was created by and is sustained by sound. ”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…and the Word became flesh”, says the Bible (John 1). The ancient Hindu texts that predate the Bible say something similar: “In the beginning there was Brahman (God) with whom was the Word, and the Word is Brahman.” (Rig Veda) Interestingly some scholars trace the origin of the word Amen to the mantra OM.
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 expresses this succinctly: “I dwell not 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 resonates with 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.
As you move through the stress of your busy life, see if you can meet the noise of the day by tuning into an underlying stillness and quiet. It is there. By engaging with noise, you feel noisy. But by focusing on the quiet, you become still. And in that stillness, you will open to greater possibility, feel more refreshed and energized. Allow the sound to remind you of stillness, and know that the still small voice, the peace within, is home.