Yoga soundscape

Yoga soundscape: how to balance your vibration

Everything in and around us is constantly in motion and has a vibrational quality. These vibrational frequencies affect our energy levels, mental state and health, both positively and negatively.

It has been shown that noise pollution from traffic, electronics, neighbours and construction can disrupt our health, even in our sleep. This causes a range of imbalances such as anxiety, sleep difficulties, agitation, poor memory and lack of focus, energy and concentration. Nature sounds, on the other hand, promote greater calmness and reduce pressure on our nervous system.

One solution could be to pack everything up and move off the grid to find a peaceful place in nature. As appealing as this might sound, the reality of a growing global population along with practical and economic reasons might stand in the way of this Utopianism. Luckily, there are ways to balance disturbing frequencies by enhancing our vibrational landscape with yoga practices that incorporate sound, word or phrase to promote a calmer, more peaceful state of body and mind.

The waves of our mind

Our brain is continuously processing stimuli from sounds, interactions, thoughts, memories and sensations through neural activity, where electrical impulses and chemical signals transmit information between the brain and our nervous system. Rhythmic or repetitive patterns of these activities create neural oscillation, better known as brainwave frequencies. Stimuli can adjust, balance or disturb these brainwave frequencies and influence our mental state and performance.

There are five main brainwave frequencies called Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta that, depending on their vibrational stimuli, excite, suppress or enhance our mental performance. Scientists discovered through brain-imaging technology that a regular meditation practice enhances Theta and Alpha brainwaves and strengthens internal focus, deep relaxation and a clearer discernment of our conscious and subconscious mind.

Mantra: mind-liberating vibrations

Mantra is an ancient Sanskrit word where “man” means mind and “tra” means release. Mantra-based meditation supports neural oscillation, with rhythmic chanting, whispering or silently reciting vibrational sounds, helping to liberate the mind from a constricted, tense and excitatory state.

A good example is Om (rhymes with home), which is often chanted at the end of a yoga practice. Yogis consider Om the primordial vibration, where its echo balances every vibration in and around us.

Mantra practices have been shown to stimulate both Alpha and Theta brainwaves and reduce Beta brainwaves. If overstimulated, Beta brainwaves can lead to anxiety, stress and inability to relax.

Japa Mantra

With Japa, a mantra is recited and repeated several times. The message of the mantra in combination with its recitation creates vibrational frequencies that enhance a state of blissful consciousness. In general, a mantra is repeated at least 108 times, which is the total length of a Mala — a string of beads used for spiritual practices. Each bead represents one recitation.

Try it yourself
Practise Japa Mantra by reciting Aham Prema, meaning “I am love”. Aham Prema carries the power to open and clear the heart. It is a message to embody unconditional love and acceptance towards yourself and others.

Sit in a comfortable, upright position and repeat the mantra Aham Prema 108 times out loud or by whispering. Once finished, rest in the reverberating vibrations of the words as sensations come to life. Observe how external stimuli move to the background and an internal focus grows.

Harmonising prana

The yogic medicine for harmonising vibrational frequencies is by stimulating prana flow, or life force, though the seven energy centres called chakras. Prana gives us the ability to sense and develop physical and mental experiences. Prana is present in us and distributed through an intrinsic network of more than 72,000 rivers called nadis. These nadis create the link between our physical body and mind, where chakras distribute and circulate prana. Undesirable frequencies lead to disturbed, unbalanced and unregulated chakras and prana flow, while positive-vibrating frequencies are harmonised through yoga, meditation, breath, sound and mantra.

Chakra bhramari: a sea of sound

This version of pranayama called bhramari (humming bee) stimulates vibrational energy in the seven chakras by resting the hands on chakra areas of the body and directing a humming (hmmmmmmm) sound to these areas. Sound travels easier through material forms, which makes our body a great acoustic vessel as it consists of water, bones, organs and muscle. The vibrational experience of the hum produces a body and mind soundscape that emanates through every cell and fibre, and results in a deep state of calmness and ease.

How to?

Every hum is repeated three times, where the intention of the practice is to create a harmonising frequency in the chakra areas. Feel the vibration in and around the area where the hands rest as you produce and direct a humming sound to the area. Every chakra centre is like the note from an octave, starting at a high-pitched hum and working its way down as each pitch gets lower.

Sit upright with your eyes closed.

1. Crown chakra:
Rest two interlaced hands on the crown of the head. Take a deep breath and direct the energy of the breath towards the hands. On an exhale, create a high-pitching humming (hmmmmm) sound. Repeat two more times.

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2. Third eye chakra
Rest one hand on the forehead covering the third eye, the other hand at the back of the skull. Breathe into the area of the skull. On the exhale, create a humming sound a tone lower than the crown chakra. Repeat two more times.

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3. Throat chakra
Rest the hand on the neck. Breathe into the area of the hands and throat. On the exhale, create a humming sound a tone lower than the third eye chakra. Repeat two more times.

4. Heart chakra
Rest the hand in the centre of the chest. Breathe into the area of the hands and chest/heart space. On the exhale, create a humming sound a tone lower than the throat chakra. Repeat two more times.

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5. Solar plexus chakra
Place the hand on the upper abdomen. Breathe into the area of the hands and abdomen. On the exhale, create a humming sound a tone lower than the heart chakra. Repeat two more times.

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6. Sacral chakra
Place one hand on the lower belly, one on the sacrum. Breathe into the area of the hands and lower belly and sacrum. On the exhale, create a humming sound a tone lower than the solar plexus chakra. Repeat two more times.

7. Root chakra
Both hands need to meet at the perineum (the area between the anus and genitals), which is the area of the root chakra. Place one hand facing down at the base of the spine and the other hand on the pubic bone facing down, fingers meet at the perineum. Breathe into the area of the hands and on the exhale, create a humming sound a tone lower than the sacral chakra. Repeat two more times.

8. Meditate
Stay seated upright for several minutes and lean into the experience of the vibrational shift.

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Photography Tara D’cruz-Noble

Article Featured in WellBeing Yoga 8 

Jan Denecke

Jan Denecke

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