Nada Yoga – Sound Meditation

sound meditation tabla sitar

The universe was manifested out of the Divine Sound; from It came into being the Light.” Shams-I-Tabriz

Nada yoga, or sound meditation, is a powerful meditation technique which uses music, tones or chanting to absorb the mind. Read on to find out why you should be listening closely.

The word yoga means yoke, to bring together, to balance between the extremes like yin/yang, positive/negative. Nada means sound. Nada yoga can be practiced by using and concentrating on sounds made by instruments, chanting or natural sounds. In yoga, we practice focusing on the breath as a vehicle to absorb the mind. Where emphasis is placed on audible ujjayi breath, even this simple act is a form of nada yoga.

This natural affinity of the mind to be drawn into itself through music has led nada yoga to be described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (the classic Sanskrit Hatha yoga manual) as one of the most powerful and fruitful meditation techniques to calm the mind.

Classical Indian musician Roop Verma describes it thus: ““Music was confined to the temples for sacred ceremonies and rituals. They were not entertainment forms of music, but what I call very potent sound formulas. Such formulas are like different elements; you put them together and you get a certain effect. They were used in ancient times to bring tranquillity and peace to agitated minds and tired bodies, as well as to change and transform the listener.

On the one hand it had a therapeutic effect; to heal disease, to heal sickness. On the other hand its aim was to focus the attention of people who came to the temple – towards one-pointedness. When we are centred and one-pointed, our lives take on a different meaning. When, on the other hand, our minds are scattered, the way we experience things is also influenced. So in order to achieve that focus, music was instrumental.