Music and yoga are two things that seem to go hand-in-hand, and while many people may listen to music while doing yoga, not every understands that there is an actual music yoga known as nada yoga.
“Nada yoga is the yoga of sound,” Lauren Imparato, founder of NYC-based studio I.AM.YOU, told Style Bistro. “It is an ancient practice, part of the tradition of yoga since its inception, aiming to create a musical meditation for your body and mindone that helps you create and transform you into your ideal you, by listening to the true you. Ultimately, the purpose of nada yoga is to connect with the sounds of the inner you. Or as I say at I.AM.YOU., to create your own personal soundtrack.”
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Nada yoga, also referred to as musical meditation, is a way of creating inner harmony through the use of fluid body movements and soothing sound. Though nada yoga uses music played into the environment, it is also about finding one’s “inner” music, or the tunes that allow an individual to achieve a meditative, balanced mental and physical state.
These inner sounds are considered to be a part of the energies within the body, and the most ancient practices of nada yoga suggest inner sounds, or “unstruck” sounds are representative of the chakra heart in the body. Inner sounds are learned to be recognized by the use of “struck” sounds, or outer sounds, which are used to ease the mind into its meditative state.
“With practice, concentration on carefully selected outer or “struck” sounds will enable the mind to become calm and transparent,” states nada yoga practitioner, David Gordon. “At this point you may begin to become aware of the subtle inner “unstruck” sounds. You might perceive inner sounds that seem like bells, or flutes, or even a hum like an electrical transformer. Some of these sounds are actually just the sounds of your own body: blood pumping, or the electrical energy of nerves and inner ear. Other, deeper, sounds are the “sounds behind the audible sound.” It is into this deeper realm that Nada yoga can take you.”
How to do nada yoga at home
The nada yoga experience is different for everyone, and not everyone progresses at the same pace even if yoga skill levels are similar. Nada yoga is about the discovery of inner harmony through music, and every individual’s journey is unique. Some people may not respond to certain forms of music in the same manner; New Age songs may work for one person while classical piano pieces may work for another.
But while the musical journey may vary for each person, anyone who has done yoga in the past can take up the practice of nada yoga at home. The equipment is the same–just a yoga mat–with the addition of something that can play music.
Sol Yoga suggests avoiding music with words; words can be too distracting to the mind. For the first few sessions, try meditating with your chosen music without performing any movements. Again, adding a movement routine will only distract you initially. Spend 10-15 minutes listening to your music, allowing your mind to empty.
Once you can do this efficiently, you can add yoga movements in the same way you would comprise a dance routine. Eventually this process will be committed to memory and then the true meditation and balance of mind/body can begin.
Not interested in yoga? Musical meditation itself is beneficial. If you are achieving a relaxed state by just listening to you chosen tunes there may be no need for you to add the yoga component.