Yoga and Music DAY

Indian Music and Yoga

I was an aspiring musician, and was practicing diligently, to become better at my art. one of my fellow music classmate friends, who was a Yoga master, often insisted that, by following a few Yoga practices, I could become an even better musician. At his insistence, I had started doing some Aasans, but I did not feel that they were helping me. So, one day, I asked him…

Hey Abhishek! At your insistence, I am doing some aasans, but what has it got to do with music?” “Akshay, Aasans is the beginning on the path of yoga. 

Their purpose is to make your body strong and flexible and to be able to control your breathing. The next stage is doing Pranayama, which will be very beneficial to you.

But breathing is a thing that happens naturally, so what is so special about it? Why do you yoga people make so much fuss about breath control and other Pranayama etc? 

Because breathing is the essence of our being. The purpose of yoga is to unite oneself with the source of creation.

And breath control will help me, do it?

yes. Once you are able to focus on your breathing, your concentration powers, your grasping of any subject, and your memory will improve drastically. Also, you will be more alert as to the Suttle changes taking place both inside yourself and outside as well.

Yoga and Music 1So how it will help me in music?

In music, our guruji asks us to hold a note for as long as possible, which also is a kind of Pranayama. While we hold our breath, various Kriyas like Kumbhaka, etc, automatically happen. Another thing is that, with an increase in your concentration powers, and developed awareness, you will be able to notice many small things in music, which others cannot notice. Modern science tells us that, this whole world came through a big bang, which means that, sound is the source of all this we see around us. It’s just that, we can hear the sound within a certain frequency, but there are many sounds that are beyond these frequencies, and so we can’t hear them. but if you really want to benefit musically and otherwise, you must practice Pranayama daily.

 Ok, So, how to go about it?

To begin with, you must do Omkar Sadhana. Nasa has discovered that the sound of the Sun is also Om. In Bhagwadgeeta, there are Shlokas, which describe the importance of Om. So, practicing Omkar daily for some time will help you tremendously. Om consists of 3 basic sounds Aa, U, and M. if you notice, while pronouncing these sounds, our tongue does not move at all. These 3 sounds also stand for Bramha, Vishnu, and Mahesh, which are the forces for creation, sustenance, and destruction of this universe respectively. So, if you pronounce Om correctly, your creative powers will increase and your physical limitations will get reduced.

 Oh, Means there’s so much power in this single letter? I asked with surprise and awe.

Yes, however, even more, superior to Omkar is the practice of the sound OM. When we practice this sound, our brain has only one focal point. It may happen that, while practicing Om, we may focus our brain on a lot of data points, which is not at all useful, and if we sit silently, our mind wanders in all directions, so there is no focus. Practicing Um gives only 1 focal point for the brain, which helps in total concentration on a point itself. It was discovered that the sound of a galaxy is also OM, which is just like a humming sound. If you practice this for 10-15 minutes daily, you will be benefited immensely.

How to do this practice but? And how it will benefit me?

Sit in a straight posture. Take a deep breath, and start chanting OM. While pronouncing this, hold your breath for as long as possible. As regards your music, you will be able to discover your own pure tone. The secret behind many great artist’s success is that they had discovered their pure tone.

Yoga and Music 2Now I was deeply moved. So, all this sadhana is a way to discover yourself? I asked.

Yes. This helps us in revealing our great inner potential, and hidden powers/capabilities. That’s why our Guruji insists on Dhyana and other such Kriyas, which will help us feel all that’s there within us. In Mahabharata, there is an incident, where Yashoda asks Krishna to open his mouth, to check whether he has eaten butter or not, and when he opens his mouth, she sees the whole universe in it. through this incident, we have been told that our body is just a small replica of the entire universe. Modern science tells us that, the basic design of the smallest animal i.e., Amoeba, and the largest animal i.e., the blue whale is the same. Just like the earth, 71 % of our body is also occupied by water.

Just as there is day and night on this earth, our body also works differently day, and night. That’s why, there is a prescribed time for singing various Ragas, in Hindustani music. Our forefathers had found out how different notes affect us at different times. Just like Hindustani tradition, Even in Carnatic tradition, gurus would tell their students to begin their morning practice with Maya Malava Gaula Ragam, (equivalent to Raga Bhairav of Hindustani music, which is also a morning Raga). It has been observed that Ragas having Shudha Madhyama are more effective in morning twilight, while those with tivra Madhyam, are effective in the evening twilight. The notes Komal Rishabh, and Komal Dhaivata, in Bhairav are oscillated, which indicates that the sun has not fully risen, while in Raga Todi they are straight, to indicate that the Sun has fully risen.

 So, music and yoga both aim to unite us with the nature around us, I said. Aren’t ragas helpful in healing diseases? I asked.

The notes Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, etc. affect different Chakras (energy flow centers) of our body. That’s why various Ragas are used in healing diseases, as disease happens due to some fault in one or more Chakra. Bhairavi helps in removing Cough. Ragas like Darbari Kanada, Malkauns, etc. remove insomnia. Ragas like Shivranjani, and Hindol cure memory loss.

Thanks, Abhishek! Today, you have told me how we Indians have got such a rich musical, and yogic tradition and music and yoga go hand in hand. Just like you, I will also keep on telling more and more people about this.

I am very glad that, you have understood this great tradition, and are willing to spread the word about it. it is one of the best ways to serve our great country, Said Abhishek, with a big smile on his face.

*** The characters of Akshay, and Abhishek are entirely fictional.

ByBhushan Toshniwal – Pune
(Toshniwal is a trained Hindustani and Carnatic singer and is a graded artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan.)

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