In my previous post, I wrote about the different terms and concepts people typically encounter in the Western wellness world related to healing sound and music. I have explored many of these approaches myself and they have all given me something important. However, the approach I practice daily and want to share with others is Sound Yoga. After briefly explaining the concept in the previous post, I wanted to go slightly deeper into why I find it especially rewarding and what it is and isn’t (in the form of FAQ).
To begin with, the most important thing for me in working with sound is connection: connection to myself, to others and to the Ultimate Reality – hence the name of my company. Sound is a very powerful tool in strengthening that connection, and connection ultimately leads to the realization of oneness. This is yoga. Sound Yoga.
Sound Yoga may not be the easiest modality within the sound healing realm, because quite honestly, it requires effort and is not always just light and joyous. When you really go into it, sound, especially your own voice, brings you very close to yourself, putting you face to face with everything there is, also with your insecurities, fears, shame, and resistance. It is definitely easier to go for the more comfortable options like sound baths or “healing concerts” because they are about relaxation and enjoyment without much challenge, and that is naturally very appealing to us humans. However, with effort come the true rewards: the more you put energy into any practice, the more it will give you fulfillment and joy. For example, working towards being and expressing your authentic self (in this case, through your voice) with acceptance and love, is something incredibly powerful, perhaps one of the most rewarding things you could learn in this lifetime.
So I truly believe that in sound work, like in any other kind of healing or transformative work, creating deep and lasting change requires your own attention and energy. Not just receiving but also participating. It is the same as with physical pain: going to get a massage every now and then is nice and beneficial but for any enduring improvement to happen, you need to do the work to realize the habits that are causing you pain and stay aware and active to continuously keep your body healthy. Massage has its place too, but your own involvement should be the part your transformation and wellbeing ultimately rely on. So I warmly encourage you to come and find out how Sound Yoga practices can support you on your path towards yourself.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
Does Sound Yoga refer to a regular (=asana) yoga practice done with sound or music? – No. It is true that many Hatha Yoga sessions include music and sound, some even a “sound relaxation” at the end with Tibetan bowls, chimes or other “sound healing instruments”. Also it is true that at least in my Sound Yoga sessions, we do use some physical movement and breath work from the yoga tradition to open up our bodies for sound. However, Hatha Yoga and Sound Yoga are two separate streams of yoga: the former is essentially a science of physical health and balance, the latter is a science of consciousness.
What is Sound Yoga like in practice? – In Sound Yoga, you actively explore your inner world with meditation, deep listening, sounding and chanting. The sessions I offer typically include movement, breath work, humming and toning, vocal meditation, mantra, dhrupad and sound journey. Sometimes self-exploration is supported by journaling and/or self-inquiry work.
Is Sound Yoga about relaxation? – Essentially, no. Relaxation is an important part of the process, because for healing or transformation to happen, energy needs to be able to flow and so you need to be relaxed. But relaxation is not the ultimate goal, this work goes beyond relaxation.
Is Sound Yoga about singing? – Essentially, no. We do use our voices, because the voice is an incredibly potent tool for purifying, healing and exploring ourselves. Your voice is a very intimate part of yourself, and if your voice is somehow blocked, your energy doesn’t flow which means YOU don’t flow. Toning and chanting can also effectively nourish our souls and increase wellbeing in many ways. Even so, I wouldn’t call this singing in the traditional sense. It is more about listening and getting in touch with your inner voice, through your voice.
Do I have to know how to sing or play an instrument? – Absolutely not. We are all born as sound beings, and music is our nature. If you have a voice, you can use it to connect with yourself. You don’t need any prior musical skills to benefit from this work. All the practices are simple and you only work for yourself, safely in a group.
Do I have to know yoga or meditation? – No. We are all learning and the practices used are very simple yet effective.
I don’t understand anything about what you are saying, but I’m interested in experiencing this. Can I come? – Perfect! Come as you are, you are warmly welcome!
Can you come up with more questions? I’ll be happy to answer them, so please feel free to post them to me!!
(Originally published in May 2019)