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The Practice of Nada Yoga


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Krishna Das Introduction Part one Overview 1 Listen! 2 What Is Nada Yoga? 3 Practice Makes Perfect 4 The Four Levels of Sound 5 Before We Begin Part Two Vaikhari, the First Level of Sound External 6 How We Hear 7 Filtering 8 Focusing 9 Hearing the Room 10 Echolocation 11 Every Room Has Its Note 12 I Hear What You're Saying 13 Body Music 14 OM Part Three Madhyama, the Second Level of Sound Mind 15 Outside In 16 It's All in Your Mind 17 Train of Thought 18 The Inner Voice 19 Picture This Part Four Pashyanti, the Third Level of Sound Visual 20 The Colors of Your Mind 21 A Soundtrack for Your Life 22 The Lightness of Being Part Five Para, the Fourth Level of Sound Beyond 23 Infinity and Beyond 24 The Six Pieces 25 The Posture 26 All You Need Is Love 27 The Light 28 Absorption 29 The Sound 30 Absorption into Light and Sound Part Six The Practice 31 The Four Components 32 The Basic Meditation with Full Instructions 33 The Basic Meditation with Simple Instructions Part Seven Additive Practices 34 Six Additions 35 Meditation with Additions, Full Instructions 36 Meditation with Additions, Simple Instructions 37 Meditation in Its Simplest Form Part Eight Supportive and Ancillary Practices 38 Asana 39 Pranayama 40 The Eight Limbs 41 The Chakras 42 Neti 43 Sleep 44 Invocation 45 Lifestyle Part Nine A Final Piece 46 Innervision 47 The Eight Steps into Clear Light 48 Practice, Practice, Practice! Gratitude Acknowledgments Appendix: The Source Texts Notes Bibliography Index Audio List

About the Author

Baird Hersey is a musician and National Endowment for the Arts Composition Fellow. He has composed extensively for television and for organisations such as Harvard University and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. A student of yoga and overtone singing since 1988, he studied ashtanga yoga with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois for 9 years, vedanta for 12 years with Swami Chinmayananda's student Shubhraji and chant with the Gyuto Monks of Tibet. In 2000 Hersey formed the 9-voice overtone choir PRANA, which regularly collaborates with renowned kirtankar Krishna Das. Baird Hersey lives in Woodstock, New York.


"Musicians and music lovers, as well as the average person who simply wants to understand nada yoga, will enjoy this fascinating book. Musicians will find the music meditations and exercises for experiencing music on a higher sensory level of particular interest. Everyone will benefit from Hersey's teachings on the healing powers of sound. Inspiring, clearly written, and engaging, this title deserves a place among top yoga books." Ajoke Kokodoko, Library Journal, January 2014 "Brilliant, revealing, and extensively researched, The Practice of Nada Yoga eloquently explains how all of the yoga practices are based on the fundamental concept that the whole of existence is composed of sound. Through the practice of yoga, one can penetrate into the essential spiritual truth that our bodies are sound bodies, and music is the very nature of our soul." Sharon Gannon, author, musician, and co-creator of the Jivamukti Yoga Method "In his new book, The Practice of Nada Yoga, musician Baird Hersey sheds light on a yoga practice that is rare to the West. Nada yoga, the yoga of sound, is rooted in the Rig Veda, one of the world's oldest religious scriptures. But Hersey argues that the ancient teachings are just as relevant-and transformative-today. Hersey prefers to define Nada yoga as the yoga of listening. The practice is a form of meditation that involves running into sounds around you and within you. It can be a soothing way to quiet your mind and experience a sense of connection with the universe by becoming absorbed in sound vibrations that permeate it and each of us. His book is based on his interpretation of various Sanskrit texts (such as the Hatha Yoga Padipika) and offers nearly 40 exercises to help readers learn how to listen more intimately with their ears and, eventually, with their hearts and minds. For example, one has you pay attention to a specific sound surrounding you and listen for subtle fluctuations in pitch. Another has you plug your ears and notice sounds within your body as you move a little. Hersey's book is a mix of traditional teachings and contemporary applications that will appeal to yogis, musicians, and anyone wanting to deepen their meditation practice through the soothing medium of sound." Shannon Sexton,Yoga Journal, March 2014 "Baird, through his many years of practice and study in yoga and in music, has traveled to the depths of nada yoga, the yoga of sound. He leads us, in this remarkable book, to the infinite source of this sacred sound, the Self. If you are a disciplined student of yoga or music, this journey with Baird is an indispensable trip." Beryl Bender Birch, author of Power Yoga "Baird's writing voice is strong and sonorous, confidently leading us toward a tranquil mind, an undefended heart, and a more sustained connection with the divine. His meditation exercises are among the clearest and easiest to follow that I have ever read. In a world where sound is associated with stress and overload, The Practice of Nada Yoga reminds us, as Baird says, what we might hear if we could listen through God's ears." Gail Straub, cofounder of Empowerment Institute and author of Returning to My Mother's House "Baird Hersey describes in clear, exact steps the process of developing the ancient practice of nada yoga. While these Hindu and Buddhist exercises are often clouded in mystery, he manages to make the process both comprehensible and accessible to Westerners serious about their meditation, contemplation, and concentration practices. This is a book by an experienced practitioner who knows the terrain." Jose Luis Stevens, Ph.D., cofounder of the Power Path, author of Awaken the Inner Shaman, and coauth "Presented with in-depth experience and study, Baird Hersey's book makes nada yoga accessible to all levels of seeker and is a valuable tool for their practice." Shubhraji, founder of Namah Vedanta Center " This is an excellent book for anyone interested in attaining enlightenment and listening to your inner voice. It is very detailed, yet very easy to grasp. This is especially helpful to those who are on their path without a Master to guide them. At this point in my life I found this book to give me a welcome perspective on my own higher nature and a guide to a personal experience of the after-death experience through meditation. It is an inspiring read." David H., Bargain Book Reviews, January 2014 "Hersey's book offers simple and clear instruction for focusing attention, quieting the mind, and opening to a deep awareness of sound." Spirituality and Health, January 2014 "Baird Hersey, the very successful, award-winning composer, musician, and yogi expresses his love of sound in The Practice of Nada Yoga. With the blessings of Krishna Das, Hersey, an accomplished yogi and long-time student of Sri Pattabhi Jois, skillfully integrates his knowledge of yoga with the exploration of sound, or nada yoga." "The Practice of Nada Yoga is well organized, beginning with the four levels of sound and moving into an explanation of what sound is (vibration, which you already knew!), echolocation (think dolphins), the art of listening, and the sacred sound of OM-just to name a few chapters. Hersey provides meditation exercises, asanas, chants, breathing (pranayama), the Eight Limbs (observances) of Yoga, and even a quick chapters on using a neti pot and the importance of sleep." "Hersey's book is a well-rounded and responsible guide to Sacred Sound, which also includes the physical practice of yoga and self-care through a healthy lifestyle. Any reader looking to explore meditative sound and principles of self-care through yoga will enjoy this very accessible and thorough book." Allyson Gracie, Wellness Specialist, Pilates & Yoga Instructor "The Practice of Nada Yoga: Meditation on the Inner Sacred Sound is nearly too dense, like a deep rich gong tone. It's got a lot packed into it, and a cursory read isn't the way to go about it. It's more like a handbook, a manual, for a particular line of spiritual inquiry...go purchase this book right now!" Ivan Nahem, Yoga Teacher Magazine, Summer 2014

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