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Home > Hatha Yoga Techniques > Nadanusandhan
Nadanusandhan
The pranayama and mudra techniques in hatha yoga are followed to bring about the retention of prana within the body. This retention of "Prana" instigates the profound `inner heat`, which stirs the sleeping Kundalini from her slumber.

As a result, when Kundalini rises up, and pierces the chakras and granthis, the yogi in deep introspection is said to be able to hear a `subtle` or `inner sound` (Nadam) within the right ear. The sound can also said be the subtle vibration within. This Nada or Shabda, is considered to be Kundalini-Shakti herself manifested as sound or vibration. That is the reason why one of her titles is Shabda-Brahma (Brahma`s sound). As the Kundalini force ascends in the Nadi, the sound becomes increasingly defined and intense. The entire mind and body of the yogi is fully absorbed in its vibrations.

Anusandhana roughly translates as `being intent upon` or `attending to`. Hence the practice of Nadanusandhana (Nada + Anusandhana) is defined as fixing one`s attention upon the inner sound. The entire purpose of the practice is to bring about the dissolution of mental modifications (Chitta-Vritti). This is also the ultimate aim described in Patanjali Yoga sutra where the resulting state is Laya (absorption).

To achieve this state of mind, the Yogi has to sit in the `posture of deliverance` (Muktasana also called Siddhasana). Then he has to apply Sambhavi-mudra, i.e. concentrating upon an inner object. All the external sensations are barred out and the mind is solely withdrawn to the inner "Nada". This state is aided by closing the ears with the thumbs of each hand and using the Fingers to close eyes, nostrils and mouth.

As an analogy to the attention required is a statement given in Hath yoga Pradipika "The mind should be as intent upon the nada as a bee is intent upon collecting the nectar of flowers, remaining undistracted by their `perfume` (i.e. by external sensual experiences)."]

There are four principal stages of intra psychic experience in yoga practice. Each of these is characterised by the audition of a particular mode of nada. As the progression is made with each successive stage, a more subtle aspect of the sound is heard and the mind`s absorption is intensified.

Arambha ("the beginning") is the name of the first stage. The piercing of Brahma-granthi in Anahata Chakra instigates this stage. This event creates a blissful state of `space` or `voidness` (shunya). Various musical sounds are perceived to emanate from within the body, along with the `unstuck sound` (Anahata-dhvani), from which the heart Chakra derives its name. At the commencement of this Shunya state, the yogi comes to possess a fine smelling and radiant `divine body` (Divya deha) along with a `full heart` (Sampurna-hrdaya).

The second stage of Nadanusandhana is called Ghata-avastha or `water jar stage`. This stage is characterised by the piercing of Vishnu-granthi in the Visuddhi-chakra. The resultant vibration is that of ati-shunya (`higher void`) of a sound resembling a kettledrum.

The next stage of parichaya-avastha refers to the `stage of familiarity with (i.e. knowing) the sound wherein. It is said, the nada is like the beating of a drum, and emanates from Maha-shunya (the `great void`). This is the abode of all the Siddhis, which is located in the middle of the brow. Through these vibrations, `Knot of Rudra` is broken through.

The fourth stage is known as Nispatti (completion); a sound akin to that made by a Veena (similar to a lute) is heard.

The four avasthas just mentioned may all be classified, as varieties of `Samprajnata-samadhi` for the nada provides an `object of cognitive support` or `Focus of attention` for the mind. Each progressive stage witnesses the disclosure of a more subtle or refined (Sukshma) aspect of that object. The nada may also be defined as a `Vehicle` that carries the mind through successive layers of self-identity and towards the ultimate state of soundless (Nihshabda) Para Brahma (Supreme Absolute). In other words it`s the realisation of the highest Self (Paramatman).

This final state, which doesn`t involve any sound or other phenomena, is known as the Asamprajnata-samadhi spoken of by Vyasa. The stae defined by Patanjali is that of in which no new thoughts and vrittis are generated. The person is in complete touch with his own pure nature.

Hatha-yoga is a comprehensive discipline. Where each stage is progressively designed to carry an intent person from the stage of novice to the one achieving self realisation. All these technique vary in application from one person to another as per the guidance of "Guru".

For some, a rigorous routine of asanas and purificatory exercises will form a necessary preliminary regimen, establishing improved physical hygiene and stamina prior to the practise of pranayama. While those already possessing the physical capacity and mental discipline needed for pranayama, can begin intensive breathing work at an earlier stage.

Hatha yoga techniques, in succession, moves from outward conquest of physical self (Cleaning and pranayama) to that of achieving the stae of Samadhi (nadanusandhanam). This is in stark contradiction to the believers that convey that Hatha yoga is all about a healthy body training and nothing else.

Hatha-yoga has a systematic approach to spiritual attainment. It progressively `internalizes` the practice engaging the student in an inward journey from the physical body to the most refined mental structures. All this with the purpose to eventually reveal an expanded and divine sense of identity.

The benefits to be derived from the more advanced stages of Kumbhaka, in which the flow of air into and out of the body is drastically (sometimes hard to believe) restricted for prolonged periods, may seem obscure. Also, some doubts may arise regarding the probability of such techniques actually being performed. To understand powerful utility of such practices, it is important to acknowledge the role of prana as the subtle, but all important life energy. Prana is more fundamental source of nutrition than oxygen, food, or anything else that is ingested into the body. The experienced yogi is able to control the breathing cycle to the extent that the breath is suspended for hours. All this is feasible precisely because he has learnt to retain prana within the innermost core of his being. The stored energy in the sushumna-nadi can be utilized by taping into the infinite reservoir of Kundalini-Shakti.

Limited by the known limitations of the body, it`s a lot hard to believe about the yogic feats offered in the traditional literature. The fact that extraordinary instances of endurance and control over physiological processes do occur is beyond question. If hatha yoga techniques seem hard, unconventional and rigorous, so are the intensity of the results yielded by it. This site offers you the analytical depth of the effects from traditional as well as scientific perspective about the influence of yoga in our being.

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