Sound is all around us continually, unless you are in a vacuum! Even in silence there is sound! So what is it’s significance and why is it so important to have sound in Yoga & Meditation? Or not?
One of the greatest teachings that I received during my yoga teacher training was the reminder to always continue to learn – to remember that as yoga teachers, we are the student and our students are the teachers.
I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when a student of mine was experiencing a negative reaction during a yoga class and her brain was getting ‘busy.’ I put on some ‘soothing sounds’ but she only became more distressed.
Yet once I switched everything off, she was much calmer.
The physical response to the sound got me thinking . . . How does sound impact our yoga practice? And beyond that, how does sound impact our lives?
Music is the Mediator between the life of the senses and the life of the spiritBeethoven
I write this sitting in the garden listening to birds tweeting, traffic driving past, human voices continuing with their daily life, planes high in the sky, and I am drawn to thinking how these familiar calming sounds create a relaxed feeling in my belly and chest.
Think about how you feel sitting next to the ocean, or listening to any running water – that peaceful whooshing of the waves or surge of the waterfall. Take a deep breath and notice how you feel, and then contrast this to the sound of horns, a dog barking – and notice the chemical effect this has on our mind and body.
Aside from sound in yoga, let’s begin by considering our brain and its incredible construction.
I am going to get VERY science – ey here.
The brain (like the rest of our body) is made up of millions of cells called neurons. These neurons communicate with each other using tiny electrical charges, creating electrical brain waves.
Sound travels through air with vibrating sound waves. These vibrate at different frequencies, depending on the depth and pitch of the sound. Sound waves travel up the auditory canal and into the auditory cortex, transferred from sound wave into an electrical signal, which the brain then recognizes and reacts to accordingly. WOW!
Then continuing with this amazing process, the vibrations of sound waves mingle with our electrical brain waves to create the chemical reaction in the brain.
It’s important to note that there is also the Gamma brain pattern, which is enlightenment. The physical body is shed away and higher consciousness is reached, but for the sake of this article, we will focus on the brain patterns which we all experience on a daily basis.
During our yoga practice, we desire the brain to be somewhere perfectly balanced between Beta and Alpha and, of course, ending in a sublimely blissful Alpha state. Having a meditative, relaxed brain feels so good because it is here that the brain increases its production of dopamine – the ultimate, feel good, happy chemical.
Sound helps regulate the brain waves to encourage an Alpha state wave pattern. Sound can unconsciously remind us of a memory, a place, a person, or a different time, and bring about feelings of joy and comfort stimulating that dopamine production. Likewise, the rhythm of a piece of music, or a particular frequency of sound will affect brain waves.
Experience a change in your brain waves with this Kundalini Nyasa Practice.
First, consider that all things vibrate – our body cells, the air around us, the universe. Sound waves travel through these vibrating cells. Knowing this helps explain how sound can create such a physical response like goosebumps, chills, warmth, tingling, as well as a mental and emotional response.
Our mental, emotional and physical state and our taste in music or soundscape are interchangeable with any given day – depending on everything else that is happening in our full and exciting lives.
Some days you may want sound to accompany your yoga practice, other times just silence.
Vibration is at the heart of nature. Music allows us to feel itGlenn Kurtz
So for your yoga practice, choosing a soundtrack can be challenging yet is such an important aspect of your teaching! As with my student, who prompted this thinking, the mind journeys from moment to moment, as does the physical body.
I am an Actress, Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Children’s Yoga Teacher and Mama. As the founder of The Mindfulness for Children Project, I enable parents, teachers and any care giver to share mindfulness to children and teenagers.
My passion is ensuring that women are able to practice their self-care and enjoy their spiritual journey, allowing it to effortlessly fit into their lives. That is why I created the It’s All Yoga Online studio,
a spiritual toolbox for women all over the world.