Published on October 15, 2014
1. Yoga for enhancing music skills S. Sridharan 7/8/2014 1
2. Yoga and Music • Both trace their origin to “Vedas” and as such are very ancient, classical and belong to the India. • “Vedas” gives the means of not only living a happy and healthy life in the world but also the means to reach the Supreme Being. • Both Yoga and Music helps attain the above two purposes. 7/8/2014 2
3. Yoga and Music • While Yoga and Music has parallel concepts that give the means of attaining the twin purposes, they complement each other. • Yoga in particular helps in achieving the best purpose of Music by enhancing the skills. 7/8/2014 3
4. What is Yoga? • The word “Yoga” has many meanings, equivalent words and definitions. • Currently world over “Yoga” is understood a practice of Äsana, Präëäyäma and Dhyäna. Most often they are independently seen. • Looking at it from any definitions, the basic purpose of Yoga is to make the ‘mind’ fit for its best use. The Mind is the man’s best friend and worst enemy. 7/8/2014 4
5. What is Yoga? • This is achieved by a number of means and they have been codified and handed over generations. • Pataïjali Muni gave them in sütra form. In this there a number of means given. Of which three sets are considered important. • They are (1) abhyasa and vairägya (2) kriya yoga and (3) añtänga yoga. 7/8/2014 5
6. Abhyäsa and Vairägya • Pataïjali has two sütras each for these two tools. • Though they are in general applicable to all situations in life, the practitioners of Music will find them very effective in enhancing the skills. • The ‘vairägya’ part is more essential in today’s context when there are numerous things which distract the attention. 7/8/2014 6
7. Kriya Yoga • This has three components, viz., Tapas, Svädhyäya and Éçvarapraëidhäna. • The best way to practice ‘Tapas’ is ‘ähära niyama’ discipline in food. • ‘Svädhyäya’, in the context of music is to dispassionately reflect on one’s musical capabilities. • ‘Éçvarapraëidhäna’ is to surrender to the Supreme the action and its fruits. This will help in maintaining a mental balance in dealing with praise and criticism. 7/8/2014 7
8. Añtänga Yoga • This is the most popular among the various tools. • It consists of eight limbs, i.e., Yama, Niyama, Äsana, Präëäyäma, Pratyähära, Dhäraëä, Dhyäna and Samädhi. • They are expected to be practiced in ‘unison’. 7/8/2014 8
9. Role of Äsana • There are number of ‘äsanas’. Every asana has a different form and a function. • ‘äsana’ uses the body primarily. In our body the most important part is ‘Spine’. Our human system is built around the ‘Spine’. It is important to keep the ‘Spine’ strong and flexible. • Music performance (as well as practice) has to be done in a ‘posture’ (a body position). In carnatic music it is in seated irrespective of whether it is vocal or instrumental. 7/8/2014 9
10. Role of Äsana • The ‘spine’ has to be kept erect for longer hours to avoid back pain and related issues. Also the hip and knee joints have to be flexible. • To enhance flexibility of joints äsana-s done in ‘vinyasa krama’ style such as ‘Süryanamaskaram’ will help. • ‘Vocal’ music uses specially the vocal cord and inverted asana-s like ‘viparitakaraëi mudra’ helps to get good blood circulation to this part. • Playing violin calls for maintaining a special posture and this need strengthening of low back, hands and neck. The fingers will have to be flexible. Use of “nyäsa-s” will help. 7/8/2014 10
11. Süryanamaskar 7/8/2014 11
12. Dvipädapitham 7/8/2014 12
13. Viparitakaraëi Mudra 7/8/2014 13
14. Role of Präëäyäma: • Präëäyäma has the twin function of keeping the energy levels better and the mind calm. • The correct technique of breathing which calls us use of ‘abdominal muscles’ is important. • While there are a variety of Präëäyäma-s, çétali and ujjai präëäyäma will be very helpful especially in vocal music. • ‘Nädiçodhana Präëäyäma’ will help cleanse ‘nädi-s’ and take the much needed ‘präëa’ to all parts of the body and thus energize the entire system. 7/8/2014 14
15. Breathing-Correct technique 7/8/2014 15
16. Breathing – Correct technique 7/8/2014 16
17. Breathing – Correct technique 7/8/2014 17
18. Breathing-correct technique 7/8/2014 18
19. Manifestation of Näda in human body • An interesting description of how Nada is caused in the human body is furnished by Sarangadeva and other writers. The Atma or soul, desiring to speak or sing, stirs the mind; the mind strikes the fire abiding in the body; the fire strikes the wind; the wind abiding in Brahmagranthi, rising along the upward path, manifests sound in the navel, the heart, the throat, the head and the mouth. Nada is thus produced by the combination of Prana and Anala. This description may appear somewhat fanciful to moderns but Tyagaraja, who must have experienced the emanation of Nada in this form, describes the process graphically in his kritis ‘Mokshamu galada’ and ‘Sobhillu saptasvara.’ The supreme aim of music is to realize the essence that shines (T S Parthasarathi) 7/8/2014 19
20. Manifestation of sound in human beings • Thiagaraja Kriti “mokshamu galada” in the raga ‘säramati’ has in the ‘charanam’ has to say “ • While OM-kAra (praNava) nAda (nAdamu) manifests (paraga) as seven (sapta) svara (svaramulai) by (valla) the fusion (sam-yOgamu) of vital force (prANa) and energy (anala) (literally fire),people do not understand (erugaru) the blissful state (manO-vidhamu) (literally mental frame) • The message here is that the sound in human beings are produced by the fusion of Präëa (breath) and Fire (Jätarägni) 7/8/2014 20
21. Role of Pratyähära • Pratyähära concerns ‘senses’. Control of senses is very important. • Use of ‘nyäsa-s’ and focus on parts of the body will help. • When the mind is totally focused on music, pratyähära will occur. 7/8/2014 21
22. Role of Yama and Niyama • Practice of Yoga is not complete without following these two important parts. • Yama is discipline concerning the relationship with the world outside. It has five components, viz., ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacarya and aparigraha • Niyama is discipline concerning inner purification. It has five components, viz., souca, santoça, tapas, svädhyäya and éçvarapraëidhäna. • Following these two disciplines helps get mind rid of impurities such as lust, anger, covetousness, delusion, pride, envy, which takes one towards destruction and are therefore considered as ‘enemies’. 7/8/2014 22
23. Conclusion • There are three more important components of the ‘añtänga yoga’ which are ‘dhäraëä’, ‘dhyäna’ and ‘samädhi’, which have important relevance to music. • My colleague will talk on them tomorrow. • Yoga and music share a special relationship. Each complements the other. Music itself becomes Yoga taking the performer and the audience to the state of ecstasy. 7/8/2014 23
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