Adding Rhythm to the Breath

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Music is everywhere, in our system, in nature etc. In the wee hours of the morning, if you pay attention to the sounds of nature, you will see there is a certain beat to it – the chirping of birds, the dancing of squirrels, the buzzing of bees. If we are attentive and sensitive to everything around us, we can feel the rhythm of life.  In fact there is rhythm and  meditativeness to our breath, which we are largely unaware of, as we are lost in thoughts and engrossed in the daily conundrum of life. To silence our thoughts and bring attention to the body, mind and energies, we do yoga. Yoga is all about paying attention to the posture (whether doing asanas or just sitting still) and aligning it to the breath.  After much practice, when the mind has calmed down, and the entire system is in harmony, we can feel the inner rhythm buzzing within us. That is how classical yoga is done, where the practitioner uses the body, mind, energy and breath to bring that balance and harmony.

However, nowadays, new ways of teaching and practicing yoga are being introduced. Playing music with yoga has become quite popular. Music, being universal, evokes pleasant emotions and all of us at some level feel the beat. Certain types of music calm the mind and enhance our wellbeing.  It allows us to connect with our inner self.  Recent studies have also shown that music can allow a person to enter what’s become widely recognized as a “flow state” a term coined by the renowned psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”

It is because of inherent similarities of the benefits of each that yoga teachers have begun using calming music as an aid to bring focus and attention to the yoga practice.  The choice of music is extremely important. Playing the wrong type of music during yoga asana practice can not only distract, but also stimulate the senses, which is the exact opposite effect of what yoga brings.  So it can cause some level of damage to the system.  Classical yoga practitioners do not use music as it takes attention outwards to the senses, instead of inwards, which is the sole purpose of yoga.  Yoga practices keep our senses in check, and activate our inner dimension.  Using the right music as a tool along with yoga may achieve the same purpose.

There are conflicting opinions about this subject depending on the instructor.  But one thing is certain, the ancient system of yoga, as propounded and compiled by Sage Patanjali (known as the father of yoga), did not mix music with yoga. The classical practice has continued as per Patanjali’s yoga sutras for thousands of year and it has worked wonders for practitioners.

But with our modern day mindset of countless distractions and fleeting senses, sitting still or using the breath as a tool to do asanas may pose a challenge. So if you want to have an external aid to calm down the mind and draw the senses inward do this practice.

1) Find a quiet place where there are no distractions. Turn off your cell phone and ensure that you don’t need to get up for the period of time that you have set aside for the practice.

2) Sit comfortably on the floor or chair.

3) Close your eyes and keep your attention on the breath.  Sit with attention to your breath for a couple of minutes

4) Play the video below and listen to the sounds. It is the universal sound of AUM.  It is the primordial sound that reverberates everywhere in the universe. It has the power of remove fear, negativity and any type of psychological disturbances.

5) Stay with the sound for 5 minutes.

6) Now start uttering the sound along with the video for another 5 minutes or however long you wish.

7) Once you are done, stay with the experience of the sound for a couple of minutes.

8) Now that your mind has calmed down, you are ready for your yoga asanas

 

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