YOGA AND VIBRATIONS - Tushar Vishnu
The objective of yoga according to yoga sutras is for the practitioner to achieve union with universal spirit. It also suggests the path taken can vary for each person. For example Hatha yoga, Raja yoga, Jnana yoga, bhakti yoga, nada yoga. In addition the yogic path followed can be isolation, or in society, following a normal family life. The first stage is to prepare the body with physical exercises, hatha yoga, and pranayama, and meditation.
In all cases, the objective is, for the practitioner to prepare the mind, and body so it is able to focus on the task ahead with full concentration and determination. Major technique for this is to establish routines, and synchronisation of various activities to connect the mind and body. To aid this various forms of vibrations can and are used. This article will review different forms of vibrations and how they can be used in yogic practice.
WHAT ARE VIBRATIONS
typical dictionary definition of vibrations is:
“Periodic motion of particles of an elastic body or a medium in alternate directions from a position of equilibrium which has been disturbed….”
Vibrations occur in various environments, such as in air, and transmission of electricity through a medium such as wires, magnetism, and light.
Typical examples of vibrations in such medium include
Light consists of wavelike energy. Each colour of light have a specific vibrational frequency. Red being the low-frequency, and indigo being the higher frequency visible to the human eye. Light frequencies also occur at lower and much higher frequencies than visible to the human eye.
Figure 1 Light wave forms
Gases, liquids, and solids are also able to vibrate. Vibrating gases such as the air produce sounds. These sounds are detected via the ears. Solid metal materials such as metal and wood can also vibrate. Generally these vibrations are converted to vibrations in the air which are then detected by the human ear in the form of sounds. Musical instruments operate using this principle.
Figure 2 Sound waves
EFFECT OF VIBRATIONS
The effect of vibrations can be harmful and destructive or constructive and beneficial. Examples of destructive vibrations include explosions. For example an exploding bomb creates very powerful vibrations which are capable of destroying objects including rocks people, as well as vaporising various materials.
Typical examples of destructive vibrations include following
· explosives such as bombs
Figure 3 – destructive vibrations
· Powerful and energy energetic vibrations which disrupt the bonds between objects and change its state. Typically heating water to boiling point temperature will result in the liquid turning into a gas in the form of steam.
Figure 4 – heat energy changing state of matter
Examples of constructive vibrations include
· Speech-allows communication between organisms.
· music-typical audio vibrations of a pleasing nature to many people
· heat-energy provided for warmth as well as cooking et cetera
· Electrical signalling-typically used to transmit data between devices. For example telephone signal between two phones
Figure 5 – Communications vibrations
Vibrations can have different impacts on the body and the mind of an individual.
Melodious and rhythmic sounds such as music generally have a positive and beneficial effect both on the body and the mind. Conversely non-melodious and arrhythmic sounds and vibrations have a negative and detrimental effect both on the body and the mind.
Appropriate vibrations can be regularly applied in various situations to supplement other treatments for enabling the individual to relax and focus the mind on one or more topics.
Scientific investigations have shown that “negative” vibration can be detrimental to plants and other living organisms. In one experiment a group of individuals were asked to speak in aggressive tones while facing a glass a water. Another group was asked to use pleasant to a glass of water. Drainage containers was frozen and its crystals examined. Crystals from the first group were very irregular in shape. Crystals from the second group showed very regular and clean shapes that are normally associated with frozen water crystals. In another experiment, electrodes were attached to plant leaves. The voltages generated were monitored for various conditions. When a naked flame was brought near the leaf it generated a very high voltage signal. Similar situation occurs in interactions between people. A pleasant gentle tone in talking to another person generates an equally pleasant response, while an angry and aggressive tone and attitude results in equally aggressive response.
PHYSICS OF ENERGY AND VIBRATIONS
Traditional physics theory states that matter comprises of molecules. Molecules are composed of atoms.
Figure 6 – atomic structure – traditional view
Atoms comprise of electrons and protons and neutrons.
Quantum physics theory suggests all matter comprises of energy. It suggests energy can manifest both as wave form as well as appearing this solid matter i.e. atoms and molecules.
Figure 7 – atomic structure – quantum view
Einstein represented this with the famous equation E=mc2. Matter is energy and energy is matter. In addition energy is in a constant state of motion or activity. It would be impossible to precisely pinpoint the exact position of such wave element at any specific moment.
Physicists have also theorised that energy waves of vibrations emanate in all directions as a three dimensional vortex. The vortex theory suggests it also radiates an energy bubble towards infinity in all directions. The energy force of the bubble diminishes as it expands outwards but never drops to zero. Two or more such bubbles would also influence other vortex bubbles in its path. This would be similar to waves generated by two stones dropped in upon.
Figure 8 – vortex waves
So every object and every living organism, by definition also emanate such energy forces which interact with each other. This confirms the effects of vibrations discussed above.
YOGIC PHILOSOPHY AND PHYSICS
Hinduism and yogic philosophy suggests the cosmos as a growing and rhythmically moving and changing. Everything in the universe is fluid and all static forms are Maya or illusion. Quantum physics theory is confirming the yogic view. Yogis also believe in the universal mind or Chita. Energy is treated an expression of thought. Energy particles are not considered to possess memories, instead are memories. Memories are an expression of the mind, therefore this represents a universal mind. Yoga is a journey to connect to this universal mind.
Different entities vibrate at their own frequencies, including the universal mind. The ultimate objective of yoga is for individual to ultimately enhance their own vibrational energy frequency(s) to synchronise and connect with the universal mind. Various paths and techniques are available to the Yogi to achieve this. One path is undertaken initially. Ultimately a combination is to be required to achieve the objective.
Karma yoga is a path of action, work, and service. This part is suitable for a person of action.
Jnana yoga is a path of knowledge. Person of intellectual orientation.
Kriya yoga is path of technique. This encompasses hatha yoga together with either meditative techniques to control the mind and the body.
Kriya yoga includes meditation techniques on sound known as Nad yoga and Shabdah yoga.
Bhakti yoga is yoga of devotion to and love of God. This path is suitable for emotional person.
The practitioners’ primary objective is to provide devotional services to their preferred deities or deity. One of the forms of this devotion is singing and chanting. This may be done in isolation by the individual or collectively groups known as Sanga (Sikhism, Kundalini Yoga- Yogi Bhajan), congregation (Christianity), Satsanga (Hinduism, Jainism). Singing and chanting may be accompanied by use of musical instruments. Such instruments range from very basic such as bells, cymbals, gongs, to the very sophisticated musical instruments such as pianos, Tabla, drums et cetera. Singing and chanting, may include hymns or other songs; reading from religious or other texts. Below is a brief summary of cultures of various faiths and their approach to devotional services, based on my understanding of the same.
In Tibet and other locations where Buddhism is practised prayer wheels are used by the worshippers. These comprise of a cylinder set rotate on its axis, with either engraved or printed prayer text. As the worshipper rotates the wheel it’s deemed to offer the prayer to the deities.
The Buddhist monks will recite various prayers from ancient Scriptures. These are known as ‘Slokas’, or mantras. The can be very long, or short depending upon the nature of the ceremony. The ceremonies can comprise of daily prayers, festivals, births and deaths, and others. In meditative chanting these monsters may be relatively short. The practitioner will repeat the mantra for the duration of the meditation which can last from a few minutes to several hours.
HINDUISM AND SIKHISM
Many Hindu temples have bells hanging from the ceiling at a near the entrance of the temple’s particularly near the deities. The worshippers will ring the bell upon approaching the temple. Bells are also sounded for the duration of certain prayer rituals such as offering food to the deities, for the duration of those particular rituals. The priests would be responsible for reciting such prayers, similarly to the Buddhist faith. In addition to bells other musical instruments such as tablas, harmonium, and sitar are also used as a compliment during the chanting of devotional songs and other prayers in groups, also known as satsangs, and other festivals occasions such as Navratri and Diwali. Sikhs’ refer to such groups as Sanga.
In Christianity, the priests will also conduct daily prayer ceremonies, in the church, including reciting text from the Scriptures. In addition, the congregation will also sing hymns, and, either separately or together with, specially trained group of singers called Choir. This will be accompanied by either an organ, or piano. Other instruments may also be used.
The Rabbi, also recites prayers to the congregation in the synagogue. The Congregation will also recite prayers as appropriate for the occasion. As with Christians the will be religious songs together with musical accompaniment as appropriate particularly on festive occasions such as marriages coming-of-age ceremonies et cetera.,
Islamic faith the imam will recite prayers and the regular moss meetings as well as in various festive occasions as appropriate.
The approach to devotion and service matches the principal of bhakti yoga. Elements of Kriya yoga are also relevant in bhakti yoga. In practice, other yoga practices principles are also necessary. For example knowledge of the devotional practices (Jnana Yoga), contemplation and meditation on prayers and rituals (Kriya Yoga), duty and service (karma Yoga), ultimately the different forms of yoga would need to be used regardless of the initial choice.
YOGA OF SOUND
Sound Yoga involves repeating a specific sounds. These sounds are repeated audibly and mentally. These are normally sounds (mantras) that are passed down from a guru to his/her disciples.
The practitioner will try to focus on the sounds as they are heard. This helps the mind from jumping to all sorts of random thoughts which is generates in a normal state. This focus is not meant to be forceful. The practitioner should not get upset when the mind wanders, and gently brings his mental focus back to the sound. It is an excellent form of practising meditation i.e. Dharana and Dhyana. The objective is to gently nudge the mind into control, with patience, over time. This is part of Kriya yoga meditation.
In simple form, a mantra is made up of syllables which exert their influence by means of sound vibrations. Different syllables have different vibration patterns which affect different parts of the body. Each syllable resonates with certain organ or part of the body.
By chanting “aaaa”, one can feel the resonance sensation in the stomach and the chest region. Chanting “oooo” creates resonance sensations in the chest and throat. Chanting “mmm” resonates with the nasal cavity and the skull/brain region.
Joining the above syllables together, we get the AUM Mantra. When chanted sequentially it activates the stomach, spinal cord, throat, nasal and brain regions. The energy and vibration moves from the abdomen all the way up to the brain, channelizing energy and activating the spinal cord and the brain.
A few years ago sciences scientists undertook a research experiment on the Aum mantra. Participants chanted home mantra for a few minutes and the sound recorded. Below you can see the frequency analysis of a bit of time of recording. It shows irregular waveforms indicating an unsteadiness in the mind.
Figure 9 – Initial Chanting of single OM
They were then asked to repeat the chant on a regular basis over a few days.
Figure 10 single chanting of OM after a few Days
The time frequency waveform analysis showed a marked improvement with regular spacing and almost perfect symmetry and harmony. The participants had witnessed dramatic improvements in focus concentration and steadiness. They also stated a dramatic reduction in mental stress and were able to remain calm much longer period.
MEDITATION WITH MANTRA
In yoga meditation the objective is not to make the mind blank or stop its activities completely. In fact this is not possible. The objective is to narrow the mind’s level and field of activity to a very small area. The practitioner must be very careful not to fall asleep but to stay alert throughout the session.
A typical procedure for sound meditation could be is as follows:
STAGE 1 – Audible Sound
· The practitioner says a sound (Mantra) audibly.
· While at the same time listening to it very carefully and closely. So it is important for the volume of the sound to be at level that is reasonable based on the surrounding background noises as well
· Initially the pitch or the tone is not essential, nor its musical quality. As the practice progresses, it is better to improve the pitch and musical quality. Ultimately the practitioner should be able to arrive at a level which is acceptable to him or her.
STAGE 2 Breath
Once the practitioner is comfortable with the audible sound, the next stage is to synchronise the sound with the breath. The practitioner will initially practice basic pranayama exercises for example:
· the three-part training exercise for a few minutes as follows
o Part one is belly breathing. Deep breaths are taken to the lower lungs. This will entail expanding the diaphragm which in turn will expand the belly. On the out breath the diaphragm is released and the abdomen pulled towards the spine to provide a complete exhalation. This should be done slowly and rhythmically without strain or haste.
o Part two is chest breathing. Deep breaths are taken into the chest. This will entail expanding the thoracic cavity resulting in filling the middle lungs. On the out breath thoracic cavity cage is relaxed resulting in the ribs being lowered and the chest deflated. Again this should be done slowly and rhythmically without strain or haste.
o Part three is the upper chest or collarbone breath. Deep breaths are taken into the upper chest area resulting in expansion of this area including opening of the collarbone and shoulder blade area space. On the out breath this area is released and relaxed.
o Finally the three parts are combined to create a full breath. This involves filling the lower lungs, then suggest, and finally the upper chest area with breath. On the out breath the process would be reversed. Again this should be done slowly smoothly and rhythmically without any strain or stress.
· Next the practitioner would repeat the audible sound in synchronisation with the breath.
STAGE 3 – mental sound
In the third stage the sound is chanted mentally, rather than audibly as in stages one and two. The objective is to internalise the sound, and also its vibration.
With practice the flow from stages 1 to 3 would become almost intuitive and instantaneous with a very high degree of the focus and concentration maintained over the duration of the meditation.
STAGE 4 – Integration with Asanas
The final stage is integrating the breath and the mantra with the Asanas.
Initially the practitioner would start with a simple asana and short Mantra. With increasing proficiency, longer and more sophisticated mantras can be combined with Asanas and breathing.
Multiple benefits accrue with use of mantras together with breath and Asanas.
· Improved focus and concentration, both mentally and physically on the task. In other words being able to stay in the moment for reasonable periods of time.
· Improved sense of timing and rhythm in activity. Hasty and abrupt actions are reduced and eventually eliminated.
· Increased ability to “feel and sense” the body and its response during the exercise.
· The person will feel much more calm and relaxed as a result. This will also provide benefit of calming and reducing emotional stress. It should generally provide substantial health benefits resulting from reduction of access stress and tension in the body.
Collectively the above will provide encouragement to develop the practice further as necessary.