Context: I tried Nada Yoga meditation for the first time and enjoyed the mindful experience it brought. The teacher guided us to tap into the 7 Chakra (energy centers) in the body via sound. I researched on the basics of Nada Yoga, shared below.
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Nāda yoga (नादयोग) is an ancient Indian metaphysical system.Wikipedia
It is equally a philosophical system, a medicine, and a form of yoga.
Nada Yoga: Unify the Individual Mind & Cosmic Consciousness via Sound
“Nada” stands for sound (vibrations) and “yoga” for union. Put together, Nada Yoga refers to “the union of the individual mind with cosmic consciousness through the flow of sounds”:
When the river of consciousness is impeded by the ego, Nada or special sounds can remove the obstruction, allowing the river of individual consciousness to unite with its source, the ocean of pure consciousness.
…Space is connected with the ear, and the ear is the receptacle to sound…sound is the primal experience of all in comparison to smell, taste, vision and touch. It is also the most accurate and more precise than the others.What is Nada Yoga? – The Sacred Sound on the Nada Yoga Blog
Nada (sound) could be grouped into inner vs. outer music
Nada (sound) comes from:
- Anahata = inner music, i.e., our own sound vibrations. Anahata is considered to be (a) inseparable from the self, i.e., I cannot share my Anahata with someone else, and (b) sacred – with the potential to hep individuals open their Chakras, i.e., energy centers. Chakra is introduced in more detail below. Nada Yoga believes we receive Anahata not from our ears, but from the anahata chakra – this is also explained below.
- Ahata = outer music. We receive Ahata via the sensory organ of the ear.
The aim of Nada Yoga practice is to help us better listen to and receive Anahata, our inner music – the music that carries “spiritual weight”.
Inner music is mentioned as the key to achieving Enlightenment in some Buddhist literature
In the Shurangama Sutra, a buddhist sutra, it is recorded that the Buddha gave praise to Avalokitesvara, who claims to have been enlightened by his inner music:
All the Brothers in this Great Assembly…should reverse your outward perception of hearing and listen inwardly for the perfectly unified and intrinsic sound of your own Mind-Essence, for as soon as you have attained perfect accommodation, you will have attained to Supreme Enlightenment.The Buddah’s praise of Avalokitesvara
Chakras: Energy Centers Vital to Harmony of the Body
To understand Chakra, we need to go back to a medieval-era theory of human life that originated in India. This theory believes that there are two dimensions of human life – the physical body (mass) and the subtle body (energy).
The subtle body is thought to be made up of nadi (energy channels) that are interconnected by chakras (energy centers / nodes). There are different claims as to how many chakras each person has – below I introduce the popular 7-chakra system, which is also taught during the meditation practice I attended.
1. Root Chakra (Muladhara, “Root”): Trust
Located at: base of spine
When open, we feel: grounded, secure, stable
Lotus: Red with 4 petals
2. Spleen or Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana, “Where the Self is Established”): Creativity, Sexuality
Located at: lower abdomen
When open, we feel: creative, pleased, high sexual energy
Lotus: Orange with 6 petals
3. Navel or Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura: “Jewel City”): Power
Located at: upper abdomen
When open, we feel: high self-esteem & confidence
Lotus: Yellow with 10 petals
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata, “Unstruck”): Love, Healing
Located at: center of chest
When open, we feel: full of love, peaceful
Lotus: Green with 12 petals
5. Throat Chakra (Visuddha, “Purest”): Expression, Communication
Located at: throat
When open, we feel: expressive, articulate, keen to communicate
Lotus: Blue with 16 petals
6. Third-Eye or Brow Chakra (Ajna, “Command”): Intuition, Awareness
Located at: middle of forehead
When open, we feel: imaginative, intelligent
Lotus: Indigo with 2 petals
7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara, “Thousand-Petaled)”: Spirituality
Located at: crown of our head
When open, we feel: connected to a higher consciousness
Lotus: Violet with 1,000 petals
Linking back to the spiritual theory introduced at the beginning, the first three Chakras are the Chakras of Matter, the last three are the Chakras of Spirit, and the middle one (Heart Chakra) is the connection in between.
Nada Yoga practice aims to help us unblock the chakras to achieve better harmony and spiritual enlightenment.