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The magic of NADA YOGA

According to the 100-year calendar, we enter a lunar year on 21 March 2020. The moon stands for our feelings and it is certainly no coincidence that one of the oldest forms of yoga is finding its way back into human consciousness right now: Nada Yoga – the Yoga with sounds. Because NOTHING betrays feelings as infallibly as the human voice! And so the voice is one of the five supporting elements of Nada Yoga, which is much more than just singing a mantra or using a singing bowl during a yoga class …

Like Hatha Yoga, Nada Yoga is also a form of Raja Yoga. It is first performed in the “Nada Bindu Upanishad”, a script of Rigveda, which is one of the oldest scriptures in the world. “Nada” (sanskr.) means “tone, sound, sound” and the unity of body, mind and soul is achieved in the form of yoga of the same name with the help of sounds. Tones are produced in the most natural way by a human being with his voice. With its intensive vibrating effect within the entire organism, nothing can be compared: Neither the vibration of an instrument set up from outside, nor music that is “only” listened to! It is not for nothing that in Indian music the voice is considered the “queen of all instruments”. The importance it has for our well-being and as a means of harmony and balance is still underestimated today. It is only now that the “medium voice” is slowly moving into the focus of general attention. However, it remains unclear exactly how the voice should be used. The once sacred knowledge of Nada Yoga has long since been lost, as there is no living master of this yoga discipline who could have kept this tradition alive. 

But there was the Indian scientist and musician Sri Vemu Mukunda (1939-2000). He spent his life researching this ancient knowledge according to the tradition of his cultural home, the South Indian temple music, and saved the last fragments of it into our time. Before he died, he gave his students the assignment “I only did the first step – you have to continue”. 

In the course of his research on the meaning of sounds for human beings, Sri Vemu Mukunda has rendered great services, without which it would not be possible today to make Nada Yoga accessible to a wider public again:

1.) According to the reports of Rigveda a certain basic tone dwells in every human being. Sri Vemu Mukunda discovered that this personal basic tone becomes visible behind the individual voice frequencies of an adult person. He then developed a measuring method with which it is possible to read out the basic tone from these voice frequencies. However, until today this cannot be done “mechanically” but only personally in direct contact.

2.) He reconstructed the tonal inner structure of a human being. Besides the well-known chakra system, this represents a second, much more differentiated tonal system on the body with which Nada Yoga works. It is based on specific points on the body and the different frequencies on these points, depending on the basic tone. While the chakra system mainly affects the energy body (pranamaya kosha) of a person, this system is connected to the memory store (citta) in the emotional body (manomaya kosha) of a person. Only with knowledge of this inner structure is an active practice of Nada Yoga and a profound effect connected with it possible at all.

3.) Sri Vemu Mukunda developed special, basic exercises in order to first of all revive the sounding sound system of a person and later to specifically influence disturbances of well-being with the aim of inner balance. With this, everyone can “tune” himself like an instrument in every situation in life, simply, free of charge and uncomplicatedly – which is basically what man is, as he carries the infinity of the universe in the form of the infinity of all tones.

4.) He discovered the special characteristics of individual frequencies and derived from them a tonal typology of human beings, from which the system of 12 tones common in the West crystallized in relation to the 12 most important points of the body. The knowledge about the personal basic tone can thus not only be used actively on the body, but also gives a lot of information about the personal strengths as well as the life motivation, which is inherent in every single basic tone. Through the practice of Nada Yoga the individual personality of each person becomes more and more radiant (lat. “personare” = to sound through) and only a few techniques in the sense of a natural personality development can be compared in intensity and effectiveness. 

For a long time, the knowledge of the power of sound was considered “the last, secret knowledge of India” and was only passed on orally from master to student – which is certainly one of the reasons why most of it was lost. After Sri Vemu Mukunda’s death in 2000, a small group of German disciples catalogued his overabundant legacy, which was also only passed on to them orally, and guarded it within the “Society according to the Nada Brahma System e.V.”. This association, whose members now call themselves “SAMA sonologists”, has passed it on since 2004 to a small circle of “Nadopasakas” (sanskr.) = “those who worship the sound”, as an intensive training. With this, the seeds were planted from which Nada Yoga can be practiced again today as an independent form of yoga.  

No special knowledge is required, nor a flexible, physical body, which makes the practice of Nada Yoga possible for almost all people in every situation in life. However, one should be able to chant a tone. Basically, every child can do this, but today it is already problematic for some adults due to a lack of practice and perceptive faculty of hearing. 

Nada Yoga is based on an exactness of frequencies, so – in contrast to many other sound healing techniques – it is not arbitrary with which tones one works. A further prerequisite for a meaningful application of this yoga discipline is the knowledge of the personal basic tone, as this determines which tones are located on which body positions. Thanks to the technique of voice frequency measurement transmitted by Sri Vemu Mukunda, a well-trained SAMA-sonologist can find out the basic tone in a one-to-one session with the client. 

The sounding instrument of Nada Yoga is solely the own voice, by means of which movement happens on the body – primarily inwardly and not outwardly. However, a “beautiful voice” is truly not needed for this! Every voice is the bearer of the individual personality of the voice owner and at the same time his unmistakable “cosmic fingerprint”. The voice unmistakably betrays every one of our sensitivities – words can lie, but the voice does not lie. The inherent intelligence of the voice automatically “tunes” us with every word we speak and every note we sing, thus constantly trying to bring our state of mind into balance. This mechanism can be used specifically through Nada Yoga and thus influence the entire human organism of body, mind and soul. 

Next to 

* Frequency accuracy and 

* Voice is still valid in Nada Yoga 

* the breath, 

* your own rhythm and 

* concentrated consciousness 

to reconcile them. On these five pillars rests Nada Yoga. 

All practical exercises aim to harmonize the human being and to strengthen his or her very own personality, because sounds always have an ordering effect. 

In our modern society, the lack of silence, an enormous flood of stimuli, the fast-paced nature of our time, the superficiality of our society and ever increasing demands placed on the human being have led to the fact that we are almost no longer capable of such a fine perception as can be read in the old writings about the “sound that resonates in everything”. Therefore the knowledge of one’s own basic tone as well as its practical application in the form of Nada Yoga according to Sri Vemu Mukunda is a very precious gift – namely active help for self-help and a key to our personality! It also brings us back into direct contact with the origin of what actually makes us human: our feelings and the infinite, creative richness that lies within us! It is waiting to be awakened and gently unfolded by us with Nada Yoga. 

And as our mastery progresses, we will at some point be able to listen to the original state of Nada Yoga, that omnipresent, inaudible sound that is spoken of in the ancient scriptures. Then we will merge sounding with the Divine “like water with milk” and experience in Samadhi the bliss of “Nada Brahma” – the whole creation into which we tune in – is tone and sound! 

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Antje Nagula is a trained singer and known for her numerous CDs of spiritual music, which she has produced on her label “AbwUnMusic”. Shortly after the death of Vemu Mukunda she got to know his legacy and in 2004 she was one of the first graduates of the SAMA sonology course. She is a member of the “Gesellschaft nach dem Nada Brahma System e.V.” and has been intensifying Nada Yoga for over 16 years now. She acquired her international teaching license at the Nada Yoga School in Rishikesh/India in 2016. She performs personal basic tone determination and consultations based on the tones, offers individual Nada Yoga classes and gives numerous seminars on this topic. 

A book with the title “Nada Yoga – The Sound of Your Body” by her is in preparation. 

Between March and November 2020 there are some dates for Nada Yoga basic seminars in German speaking countries.

If you are interested in a basic tone determination or seminars in English language please contact her directly by email info(at)AbwUnMusic.de

What is “Nada Yoga”?

“Nada” (sanskr.) means “sound, tones, cry, noise” and “yoga” simply means “union, connection”. On the path of yoga one unites the material body with the spiritual dimension of being.

If one practices “Hatha Yoga”, this union takes place by means of special physical exercises.

If one practices “Nada Yoga”, this union takes place through sound and tones.

The Rishis (= seers or mystical wise men in Hinduism) knew the power of sounds very well. They kept their knowledge encoded in the Vedas, the oldest known writings of mankind. There is reported of a technique to experience highest enlightenment through tones and sound. This technique was called Nada Yoga.

In the practice of Nada Yoga, five essential components are brought into harmony: voice, frequency, consciousness, rhythm and breath. Sound is always brought into direct contact with the physical body, which requires knowledge of the practitioner’s personal basic tone. Only in this way can the full effect of Nada Yoga unfold.

Nada Yoga is based on self-produced sounds that can be experienced on the body. The sound is produced either in “Ahata” (Sanskrit = “to make sound”), i.e. in the voiced state, or in “Anahata” (Sanskrit = “not struck, inner sound”), in an outwardly inaudible, but inwardly perceptible state.

The instrument of Nada Yoga is the human voice, called the “queen of all instruments” in Indian music. In this way, a practitioner is able to achieve exactly the level of tone and intensity that is acceptable to him – not too much and not too little. Any form of “foreign influence” on the body by means of attached instruments (tuning forks, singing bowls, monochord, etc.) can exceed or fall short of this measure and its effect cannot therefore be precisely dosed.

Nada Yoga differs from many other possibilities of sound healing by its frequency accuracy. It is not simply “any” tones that are used arbitrarily. There are used exactly those frequencies, which the personal basic tone determined in the context of an individual basic tone determination gives individually for each person. The teaching about the sounding structure of the human being is a central component of Nada Yoga.

One of the essential components that a “Nadopasaka” (= one who worships the sound) should include in his Nada Yoga practice is consciousness. According to the law “The energy follows the attention”, in an act of high concentration tones are directed to certain body points by means of consciousness. The vocally generated frequency unites with the natural frequency at these body points and thus increases the intensity of the tones. In this way we can directly feel the tones on the body and experience how they work.

As in every form of yoga practice, breath is a central component of Nada Yoga. The Indian philosophy assumes that our entire body with all its surrounding energy bodies is traversed by subtle channels, which the Indians call “Nadis”. With each breath we absorb prana energy = life force, which is distributed throughout the body in a system of 72,000 nadis. By means of certain breathing exercises, called “pranayama” in yoga, one tries to gain control over this life energy. However, a “Nadi” is also the channel for “Nada”, the sound. Tones produced with the voice open and activate the nadis through vibration in the body, so that Prana can flow through them unhindered.

The teaching of rhythm, always kept secret in ancient times, is the fifth of the pillars on which the practice of Nada Yoga rests. Dealing with the rhythm elements promotes our ability to logical consequence: just as nested rhythms can be logically dissolved again, so also specific ways out of crisis situations can be found. Rhythm exercises demand a high degree of concentration, distract from emotional sensations and thus clarify our mind. Rhythm exercises make it easier to harmonize mood swings and unconsciously and easily solve “knots” in thinking.

Nada Yoga forms a stable foundation for a healthy personality development – help for self-help (lat. “personare” = to sound through). It is a simple and always available method to harmonize body, mind and soul: Like an instrument, the practitioner can “tune” himself anywhere and at any time to quickly and uncomplicatedly “come to his center”, i.e. to create a balanced and natural state of mind. The strengths of a personality come more and more to the fore with constant practice, while weaknesses are increasingly softened up to the complete disappearance of blockades and old disturbance patterns.