Why is there such a focus on sound & chanting in Kundalini Yoga?
Yoga White offers you an experience of your inner world through the use of sound vibration. Sound vibration is a powerful healer: we know how music can affect our mood and outlook- that’s why we use it. Yoga White uses sound vibration in the form of gong baths (sound healing sessions) and mantra/ meditation classes.
“Certain forms of music, like beautiful fragrances, awaken associations in us that are primordial, eternal, and ultimate. These timeless associations call us to the core of our spiritual being. They address something in us that canot die or be corrupted, a yearning that reaches out to the infinite. This is sonic mysticism…the experience of sound expressing the Divine Reality.”
Russill Paul, excerpted from The Yoga of Sound
So, What is Naad Yoga?
‘Naad’ means the ‘essence of all sound’. The naad is the substance or ground of being from which all sound arises. By sound, we mean words, music, and any sonic vibration. The naad is the parent, the great ancestor of all sound.
Yoga is ‘union’, or hooking the little me into the greater Reality of all that is. Yoga is when we feel aligned with the flow of Life. Yoga is achieved in many ways. The most well-known form of yoga is the use of postures and physical movement. But sound is also another form of connecting, or bringing about this union.
In Kundalini Yoga, we use Naad Yoga- the use of sound- to create union, and to alter the chemistry of the brain, and thus the glandular & hormonal secretions in the body. When we apply the yogic science of sound (naad yoga) to the bodymind we alter our consciousness.
How does that work?
Sound is a form of energy and, as we know, all energy has an effect on us- like light, electricity, heat and so on. In the same way sound has an effect on us: if we chant a particular sound like ‘har’ we are using three sound units- ‘hhhhh’, ‘aaaaa’ and ‘rrrrrr’. The word may not mean anything to us but that doesn’t matter. The power of the sounds lie in their frequency, their energy signature: the action of making the sound in the mouth also causes the tongue to hit certain parts of the mouth.
The upper palate of the mouth has 84 power points, if you like, or ‘meridians’ and when the tongue hits those points it stimulates them, in the same way that if I hit a button on my computer keyboard something will happen on the screen. As we string together more and more sound units we begin to ‘type’ more and more complex messages into our mouths- the ‘keyboard of consciousness’: these meridian points send signals to the brain as they are hit and tell the brain how to adjust itself and the body chemically according to what the tongue is typing in.
These ‘sound units’ that we type into the brain are mantras: they are all children of the one parent, so to speak- that parent is the Naad, the primordial vibration. Naad Yoga is when we create and express this vibration in the form of sounds, mantras, in our practice to effect change in mind, body and spirit; naad yoga is a science.
What sounds do we use?
- Mantra chanting – a classic & essential aspect of Kundalini Yoga
- Gong baths & sound experiences with the gong, crystal bowls, chimes & drum
- The use of intention as internal ‘energy-setting’ in class
- High vibration music in class
Tell me more about mantras…
Mantras, or ‘mind projections’, are used to effect change in body, mind and spirit: they elevate us and raise our vibrational frequency by activating the chakras, clearing away stagnant energy and cleansing the mind of negativity (think of the damaging ‘mantras’ we usually recite to ourselves like “I am useless”, “I can’t do it” and so on).
Think of how a dark, heavy piece of music can make us depressed, and how an airy light piece can put us in good spirits: the same thing is at work when using mantras. We sound mantras to lift us up and, most importantly, to cut through our egoic patterns, our attachments and psychological complexes.
The sound current that has the power to do that is called the Shabd. And the technology of using sound vibration (the Naad) to alter our consciousness is known as the Shabd Guru– or the ‘Sound Current Teacher’. A shabd itself is a piece of divine poetry, or an extended mantra.
In yogic terms, the use of primal syllables to bring about transformation and re-calibration is about enabling us to resonate with the frequency of the Divine; like using the little sound units as oars to paddle us upstream towards the one primal and infinite sound.
Benefits of vibrational healing with Naad Yoga
- Take time out from the hectic pace of life
- Release stress, anxiety, negative thoughts and emotions
- Restore your natural state of balance and harmony
- Raise your vibratory frequency
- Relax and rejuvenate
Holly is a gifted sound healer and her gong baths transport my busy mind into a state of calm that I cannot achieve when meditating. I simply cannot resist the gong. All I have to do is lie down, snuggle under a blanket and receive blissful sound healing – heaven!Caroline