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The four levels of sound with Nada Yoga

May 9, 2017 by Ben Stanford 

People will often ask me, “what is your internal experience when you chant?” I often am unsure what to tell them, what I do is a little ambiguous, even to me I cant explain it! When I sing I release my thoughts and feelings and the stuff of the day, then I start to get quieter inside.

The whole idea to chant is to release ourselves from the obsessive thinking that holds us as prisoner, we should focus on what we are experiencing in the moment, it is simple to chant and to let the practice flow and work on us.

Sound is a very powerful medium, our body is vibrating making a sound, vibrating our molecules, the universe is vibrating making a sound. That is om or ah, this cuts through any kind of physiological drama, any kind of version of ourselves that we hold.

We are all moving in the same direction, we are all apart of that one, whether we realise it or not, anything that helps us relax into our true nature is a good path.

The structures of the four levels of sound

The four levels of sound came from linguists of the Vedic period in ancient india. It was handed down through the Vedas and the Kundalini Upanishads.

To apply these four levels more broadly to sound, we can move up form the gross level vaikhari to the most subtle para.

The first level of sound – Vaikhari

This is the first level of sound in the external world, and sound we can hear through our ears. The sounds of our ambient environment. This includes things like music, language, your cellphone, appliances which are apart of the hundreds of sounds we hear everyday.

The second level – Madhyama

These are the sounds of the mind, any sounds we can imagine or hear in our mind.

The third level – Pashyanti

This is the visual level of sound, it is where the visual world and our auditory world intersect and overlap

The fourth level – Para

This is Para “beyond” which can understood in a number of ways, beyond words, beyond sound going beyond our sense of organs, beyond what we have reached before, beyond what we know. Para is the inner perception of our connection to something greater that ourselves.

Supportive practices with Vinyasa Yoga

This is a movement of Yoga linked to breath. A vinyasa is often done between postures. By moving breath after holding posture, vinyasa brings the body back to neutral. It wipes the slate clean for the next posture. By the repetition of vinyasa we also strengthen the blood vessels that control flow to the brain. Vinyasa encourages flow to both our circulatory and lymphatic system and detoxifies the body and brain.

By changing our physical posture through yoga and practice we can change our physiological state. If we are feeling down according to my chiropractor, simply by straightening our our shoulders and spine, lifting out head and looking up we can instantly change our mood. The body is sending a message to the brain that “I feel good”.

All forms of yoga have the same aim, a deep realization of the spiritual truths that lie beyond existence. What kind of choices does the modern practitioner have?

If you are motivated you can find teachers of yoga which focus on the emphasis of sound and chanting on love, of the mind rather then the body. In fact we gain a sense of wholeness, for which ever yoga practice we choose. The full integration of yoga into your life is felt rather then taught. It makes sense to use methods that you enjoy and that resonate with you, but the inner experience of becoming more aware, wise and in touch with yourself and the universes.

Beginning his practice in 2003, Ben's continuing studies at Physiotherapy Victoria have expanded his scope to include yoga acupressure, physiotherapy, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine and applied kinesiology.