The poet, Srī Kabīrdās, was inspired by this melody resonating within the heart to write the following verse:
“The flute of the infinite is played without ending, and its sound is love.
When love renounces all boundaries it arrives at the truth.”
“In the Anāhata Chakra (physical heart, and ‘heart energy’ center) we hear Anāhata Nāda, the constant, fundamental sound of the Universe, the eternal vibration of the Self. Its sound is SO HAM – “That I am, I am That”. We perceive it as a subtle rhythmic melody similar to a heartbeat, but much softer and more wonderful.”
In Sanskrit, Anāhata means the Heart, its literal translation is ‘infinite,’ ‘continuous’ or ‘unbroken’. Nāda is the primordial sound, the most subtle heard or unheard sound that continuously permeates and vibrates thoughout the Universe. This sound is also inside our bodies; it manifests within everything in existence. Therefore, everything outside of us and within us in its subtlest form is Nāda. Nāda is the very foundation of music, and Nāda Yoga, also known as the Yoga of Sound, has been always inextricably linked with singing in ancient India, the essence of music at its core being esoteric – a vehicle connecting the singer with the divine. Chanting to this day, through the repetition of sacred sounds, as in the traditional singing of Indian kirtan or bhajan devotional music induces a trance like, calm and meditative state. It is through that complete sense of abandonment and relaxation that one is able to disconnect from the mind and the left side of the brain (incessant and logical thinking), and move into just BEING and into the right side of the brain, hence shifting from being in the head to being in the HEART. That ultimately is the very nature and scope of mediation. At the deepest level, the quality of the nāda sound inherent in music purifies the psyche and heals the body and mind.
In an article published through the Chopra Center, How to Use Sound to Heal Yourself, Roger Gabriel (Raghavanand) perfectly describes the meaning and benefits of Nāda Yoga:
“Through Nāda Yoga it is said that you can remove all impurities in the physiology. In the Vedic tradition (Indian), sound vibration is known as Nada. In the practice of Nada Yoga, sound is used not only to restore physical and mental well-being but also as a path to spiritual awakening. With the right sounds, you can align yourself with the vibrations that foster health, happiness, and unity.
Nāda Yoga divides sound into external sounds, Ahata and internal sounds, Anahata.
External sounds are perceived through the ears and Nāda Yoga can be as simple as listening to non-vocal music while gently focusing on the individual notes. You can listen to the different notes within the music of nature—birds singing, rain falling, or the wind through the trees. Or you can chant sacred mantras such as OM or AHUM (I am), with the focus on each individual letter. The aim is to allow awareness to move inwards.
Internal sounds are perceived through the Anāhata (heart) chakra. Each human body has its own unique sound or vibration, which is sacred to that individual. By regulating the breath, with the attention turned inwards, and closing the ears with the fingers, you can begin to listen in on your own inner sound. Re-aligning with this sound serves to balance your energetic body and ultimately re-connect you with your divine presence. With practice, you can also learn to hear the vibration of the universe, a soft distant OM, sometimes referred to as the Cosmic Hum.”
***The practice of Bhramari Pranayama which awakens the inner fire and immediately calms the mind and body is one of the best techniques to connect to the inner nāda sound. Click here for the technique, and to learn about the 4 stages of the manifestation of sound as described in the Vedas, encompassing the external and internal sounds.
Its also important to note that in the Vedic system of health and philosophy (which includes Yoga & Ayurveda), the Heart replaces the mind as the absolute seat of intelligence and consciousness. It is believed that the heart not only feels, but that it actually thinks – like the brain – but on a more expansive and soul perceptive level! Hence, it is the Heart that is the gateway to the Soul. And it is also the Heart that allows us to HEAL, and unbinds us from mental and physical pain and suffering! The Heart inevitably wills every cell in our body and mind to respond to whatever we desire. It is through this very deep connection to Self and our innate DESIRE and WILL to be healthy and happy that integral healing can be attained. All we have to do is be still and listen – make the connection – then speak into the Heart in its own beautiful language.
Each person has a unique sound vibration, a symphony of primordial sound that cannot be replicated, like a fingerprint imprinted in the ether, but which can be heard at a subtle or astral level. That is the very essence of nāda. Nada Yoga as the original sound therapy, is especially beneficial for the nervous system (stimulating the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus) extending to the entire body, stimulating the major glands and organs which are traditionally associated with the key energy centers throughout the body known as chakras. However, the central scope of Nāda Yoga is to expand our consciousness, awakening our superconscious state and the dormant energies of our physical, astral (subtle), and causal (soul) bodies, allowing for complete healing and integration of mind, body, spirit. It should be noted that nāda can be experienced in the meditative ‘dhyana’state, the penultimate state of meditation before entering the deepest state of meditation where one transcends the body and merges with Infinite Spirit in the ‘samadhi’ state.
I was inspired by my Raja Yoga practice, love of devotional music, including sacred mantra chanting, and my attunement to the inner nada sound through my kriya yoga meditation, to combine movement with sound in a unique way, and bring asana and nāda together in what I call ‘meditation in motion’ – Nāda-Raja Yoga Flow. It is also a play on words in a sense – Nataraja is also Lord Shiva as the Eternal Dancer, who spins the universe through his endless dance. The ultimate goal is to tune into the sublime primordial sound using all the exponent steps of classical Raja Yoga (known as the Eight Limbs of Yoga), including pranayama (breath techniques) and asanas (poses) that awaken the chakras, to transcend beyond the limitations of the mind and body through anāhata nāda into dhyana (meditation), the penultimate gateway before dissolution into the final sate of samadhi.
“The basic premise of raja yoga is that our perception of the divine Self is obscured by the disturbances of the mind. If the mind can be made still and pure, the Self will automatically, instantaneously, shine forth. Says the Bhagavad Gita:
When, through the practice of yoga,
the mind ceases its restless movements,
and becomes still,
the aspirant realizes the Atman.”
UPCOMING WORKSHOP & RETREAT DETAILS
I will be hosting a Anāhata Nāda Yoga – Deep Healing Through The Heart 2-Day Retreat & Workshop in the coming future, inviting you to leave the world behind and tune-in to the sound of extreme peacefulness and bliss. You will get to listen to your own inner anāhata nāda (sound of the heart) symphony, as well as get to discover the sound of your own sacred voice, to create a new and more healing and spiritual storyboard for your life. This will also be a part-silent retreat, in order that one may fully immerse himself in the practice ‘pratyahara’ – withdrawal of the senses – which is the prescribed yogic and ayurvedic treatment for clearing the mind and reprogramming our thoughts/consciousness. Journaling and painting will be used to ‘free up’ the mind, release energy and express creativity. Chanting of healing mantras and soothing healing affirmations will be a central theme of the workshop. Hence, most of the workshop will center on emptying, stilling, and purifying the mind – immersing the senses into sublime peacefulness and connecting to the Self through the heart center to access the deepest levels of our creative and self-healing power. Pranayama breathing techniques will be interspersed with Nada Yoga to revitalize the ‘energy body,’ stimulate blood flow, and oxygenate the cells, with almost immediate effects on calming the mind and lifting and balancing the mood. At the end of the day, we will conclude with Yoga Nidra also know as Deep Yogic Sleep or Lucid Dreaming, a guided visualization and mind-body awareness mediation, where one experiences a transcendental state of higher awareness which is deeply healing and equivalent to 4 hours of sleep. Yoga Nidra is currently used clinically in the treatment of chronic stress, insomnia, and anxiety, clinically reformulated as iRest to the medical community by Dr. Richard Miller, and now officially used in the rehabilitation of war veterans from PTSD. These are very advanced yogic mind-body healing techniques as part of the Himalayan Yoga tradition, taught worldwide at renowned yoga institutes, wellness and healing centers. In short, through this workshop you will learn how you can access the deepest healing channels within yourself and experience profound inner peace, joy, and expanded consciousness beyond the physical body – being able to tune-IN through your heart thorough all the layers of consciousness to tune-OUT any physical and emotional pain hindering your true Self from shining vibrantly through the infinite space that is Your Heart.
*THE RETREAT DATES ARE STILL TO BE DETERMINED – Please send an email if you’d like to participate, get an early registration discount, and to be added to the mailing list.