Yoga is perhaps one of the most diverse forms of exercise, and nada yoga brings an added level of mindfulness and spirituality to the practice. Incorporating sound and vibrations, nada yoga helps focus the body’s energy, and establish a connection with the wider universe.

OriGym’s full exploration of nada yoga will explain exactly what the spiritual practice involves, how nada yoga can be highly beneficial for the body, and which exercises you can do to make it accessible to even yoga beginners.

We’ll also touch upon any risks that might be associated with nada yoga, and how you can mitigate these, ensuring you can focus on your spiritual and mindful connection.


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What Is Nada Yoga?

what is nada yoga

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise and meditation – sometimes utilized in conjunction with religious worship – that focuses on strength, flexibility, and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. 

With a vast array of yoga styles out there (read more in OriGym’s comprehensive exploration of different types of yoga styles), yoga is also one of the most diverse and adaptable forms of exercise, accommodating all fitness and experience levels with its varied difficulty and intensity levels.

Nada yoga is one of the ancient and traditional forms of yoga that is known around the world. In addition to it being one of the oldest forms, it is also one of the most easy to use, as it is a very simple and non-straining form. 

Sound yoga (or “nada yoga”) is sometimes considered a part of Jivamukti Yoga, which is the holiest or most spiritually deep style of yoga, often because of its connection with the Aum (which we’ll explore in more detail in a later section). 

Despite being so revered, nada yoga is not traditionally written about, and is in fact a tradition that has been passed on mostly through verbal teachings. As a result, many professional yogi around the world have different opinions on the subject, and will often tailor the practice to their individual views. 

It’s only in recent years that nada yoga has been rejuvenated and brought back into the forefront of yoga traditions. 

Essentially, nada yoga (also written as nāda yoga), is worldly known as the “Yoga of Sound” and its most accurate translation is “Union through sound” which is an appropriate name for this style due to its nature. This style of yoga stems from the belief that everything vibrates and that the Universe was created from pure vibrations.

The nāda yoga system is divided into two categories: silent vibrations of the self or internal music called anahata, and external music called ahata.

Anahata nada is the name given to the cosmic sound or the so-called “white noise” that is present everywhere. Ahata nada is the name given to external sounds, including natural sounds such as animals, wind, rivers or rain, and manmade sounds, such as Zen music, drum music or more modern music.

To practice ahata nada yoga, a practitioner could select some soft, calming music to listen to whilst in a comfortable meditation pose. Focusing all their attention on the music or the sounds and if/when thoughts arise, bring their focus back to the music. 

Types of Nada Yoga

sound yoga nada yoga

Now that we’ve explored what nada yoga is, and how it works, let’s explore some of the different ways a naga yoga teacher (or “yogi”) can utilise the two different options of anahata (internal sound) and ahata (external sound).

Within these two categories of nada yoga, there are four specific types. There are 4 types of Nada yoga:

  • Valikhari: which means audible sound. Valikhari is ordinary verbal speech, the kind we all hear and use daily. It is an expression of kriya shakti, the power of action.
  • Madhyama: which means mental sound. Madhyama is articulated but unspoken, the internal monologue and dialogue; it conveys the power of knowledge and wisdom (jñana shakti).
  • Pashyanta: which means subconscious sound. Pashyanta is the internal, unconscious ideas we have that we never fully articulate. It is the action of iccha shakti, or the power of desire. 
  • Paranada: which means transcendent sound. Paranada is considered pure intention—pure because it is a direct expression of the will of reality, and is considered by yogi to be endowed with the cosmic sound Aum/Om. 

These variations can be used to better fit the style of yoga being undertaken, or the students in the class. For instance, if the yogi wants to achieve a greater sense of spirituality and connection to the cosmos, then they may opt to use paranada in their nada yoga classes.

Or, for classes that are more active, or that the yogi feels would benefit from sounds or music, they may choose to incorporate valikhari into their sessions. Other forms of yoga, such as laughter yoga harness the power of sound and noise to better channel the focus and mindfulness of yoga, and achieve a sense of enlightenment and spiritual elation.

What Is The Aum?

nada yoga meditation

In traditional yoga ideologies, the aum is the cosmic sound of the vibration that the universe is believed to have been created from.  It’s also often referred to as “Nāda Brahman” – Nāda meaning sound, and Brahman literally translates to bee. Therefore Nāda Brahman translates to “Bee sound” or “bee humming”. 

With nada yoga practice, there are three main sounds that are integral:

  • First is the “Aaa” sound, described as a noise where the vibrations stem from the navel or belly button. 
  • Next is the “Ooo”, which is described as a vibration that builds where the ribcage meets, in the centre of the chest.
  • Finally, the sound is completed with an “Mmm”, often described as a vibration that stems from the pit of the throat.

When these sounds are put together, you create the sacred “Om” or “Aum” sound that’s stereotypically associated with enlightenment practices, and in particular nada yoga. It signifies the essence of the Atman (soul, self-awareness, consciousness) and the Brahman (ultimate reality, divine, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, and knowledge).

These sounds are critical to Nada Yoga because they are the noises one can make without the use of the tongue, and are therefore considered to be the pure, natural sounds of the body. 

They also form a foundation of many of the breathing techniques, often referred to as pranayama, that make up much of the mindfulness practice of modern yoga. These are designed to relax the body in a similar way to nada yoga, and are the core of all yoga exercises, mirroring the sounds of nada yoga.

Where Did Nada Yoga Originate?

nada yoga exercises

Nada yoga was first documented in the Shurangama Sutra, which is most notably recognised as one of the main texts used in the Chán school in Chinese Buddhism. In the Sutra, it’s said that enlightenment was achieved through concentration on the subtle inner sound.

The Shurangama Sutra features the bodhisattva (a person who is able to achieve inner enlightenment, or nirvana) who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas, and so this is the first significant mention of the importance of “inner sound”, or anahata.

This influential figure (and their achievement of nirvana) has ensured that the idea of naga yoga meditation is a key path towards enlightenment and inner peace, and that its teachings continue to provide one of the best opportunities for mindfulness.

Many passionate nada yogis believe that nada yoga is the exercise that will create a union of the mind and soul through the use of sound. This is because many yogi share the belief that sound or nada meditation is the most powerful path to self-realization. 

Furthermore, out of the five elements (also referred to as Panchmahabhuta) in Hindu philosophy, space is the most primal, which forms part of a spiritual connection to the ear, which is of course how we process sound.

With that understanding, sound is the most primal experience of all when compared to smell, taste, sight, and touch. It is also in most cases the most accurate and more precise than the others.

How Does Nada Yoga Differ From Other Forms Of Yoga?

nada yoga training

When we think about yoga, the first thing that usually comes to mind is lots of stretches, flexibility, and movement routines. We might imagine stereotypical actions such as crossed legs or the downward dog.

Nada yoga is vastly different from this, as it does not necessarily rely on stretch sequences of routines, but rather focuses on the connection between mindfulness and sound. Nada yoga is a type of yoga that can either be done in solitary or in conjunction with another form of yoga, such as hatha yoga or vinyasa yoga

Because of its diverse nature and focus on sound, nada yoga can be done in a multitude of ways, unlike most forms of yoga. Different yoga masters often teach different forms of nada yoga. 

Some yogi focus on sounds of instruments, others will use natural sounds around them and some use the focus on the practitioners’ own voice. Or, they might choose to emphasise the importance of the inner sounds (anahata), keeping a silent studio.

Given that there are so few original texts surrounding nada yoga, it is often up to the individual or the yoga instructor on how to make the best use of this sound yoga.


The Benefits Of Nada Yoga

Nada yoga benefits from its ability to be performed nearly anywhere due to its flexible nature and the many different ways that it can be done. 

Physical benefits, especially for musicians and singer practitioners, nada yoga can help the individual improve their vocal range; strengthen their vocal chords, and allow them to find their own “inner” sound. 

As well as these physical benefits, there are many therapeutic benefits too. Some of these benefits are the following:

#1 – Enhances The Subconscious Mind

nada yoga benefits

From daily worries to exam stresses, one of the main benefits of nada yoga is that it can help alleviate some of those worries, and calm your mind by focusing your thoughts on simple things. 

By focusing on the natural sounds around themselves, or even the sound of their own heartbeat or breath, the practitioner can lose focus on anything that may be troubling them, including worries that they might not even realise they dwell on. 

Nada yoga offers a way to detach from the hectic modern world, and focus upon how your body feels, connecting to the sounds and sensations that nada yoga can bring.

This inner focus also translates well to other activities or exercises that promote mindfulness – pilates or yoga are the most common ones, but other exercises such as tai chi can really benefit from some of these strategies. 


#2  – Calms And Relaxes The Mind, Body, And Soul

nada yoga purification practice

The nature of nada yoga as a simple and easy to do exercise means that it allows you to focus on something other than daily worries or work, and makes it the perfect exercise to help calm and relax.

Sound yoga (or nada yoga) helps the practitioner to relax their mind. In the same way, it helps relax the mind, it also helps relax the body. Through nada yoga meditations, you can help relax your body’s muscles entirely, including those muscles we may never have realised are tense. 

By focusing your attention on one thing (in this case, it could be the sound associated with the type of nada yoga), you are able to realise the things that impede this focus, including personal concerns, negative emotions and tense muscles. 

Even a beginner can use nada yoga training to help alleviate their emotional and mental stresses and muscle tensions, although we would recommend having a yoga blanket on hand to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible.

In fact, a recent study from Biological Psychiatry supports the belief that meditation has many physical benefits of physically relieving stress. 

The study looked at the physical benefits of meditation with 35 adults who reported that they were experiencing high levels of stress, and found that meditation and mindfulness practices all helped in reducing those stress levels.

#3 – Improves Your Concentration Levels

sound yoga

Through ritually focusing on one sense, nada yoga can help improve a yoga enthusiast’s concentration, simply because the very practice of nada yoga is to focus on only one thing, ignoring all other thoughts and things. 

This makes nada yoga meditation perfect if you’re studying for tests or analysing large chunks of data that need your focused concentration, as you’ll be better disposed to focus on something for a long period of time. 

In fact, a recent study found that meditation can have a profound effect on concentration, and how much you’re able to focus. Nada yoga meditation is, at its core, not very different to standard meditation, and therefore you can expect to see this same benefit for your own mental focus and concentration. 

Numerous meditative practices aim to maintain attention and disregard unwanted thoughts. With this in mind, it makes sense that those who meditate would have enhanced focus, and an increased patience when it comes to concentration. 

With more traditional eastern styles of meditation becoming popular in western civilisation, and especially with the advent of online yoga classes and free yoga apps for beginners and experts alike, it’s no surprise that nada yoga exercises are also on the rise.

#4 – Increases Thinking Capacity And Cognition

sound yoga benefits

Similar to improving concentration, through meditating and focusing on sound, you can help eliminate intrusive thoughts and worries, and instead be able to think about more important things at a much superior and faster rate, improving mental capacity and cognition. 

By providing an opportunity to disregard anything else you might be thinking about, nada yoga can allow you to remove all distractions or thoughts that might previously have clouded your mind.

In fact, a recent study included in the Consciousness and Cognition journal found that meditation does improve mental cognition, as well as improving the ways in which we concentrate on tasks, and how much we can process.

Nada yoga meditation, as well as maintaining that positive mental attitude that nada yoga instils,  should help expand your thinking capacity and mental cognition, as well as clearing your mind of any lingering worries.

#5 – Reduces Anxiety, Fear, And Aggressiveness

nada meditation

With all of these great nada yoga benefits, it’s easy to see why it’s quickly becoming popular with many yogi, fitness and self-help specialists. 

Nada yoga can also help a practitioner effectively deal with their negative emotions, and harness a more positive outlook. Sound and music are often associated with the improvement of someone’s mental health and therefore nada yoga could be the perfect exercise for those with anxiety or aggressiveness issues, and want to help reduce these negative feelings.

In terms of supporting research, this comprehensive research review looked through over 19,000 meditation studies, and found a distinct correlation between mindful meditation and reduced levels of psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.

With this in mind, reduced anxiety, fear, and aggressiveness appear to be some of the most understated nada yoga benefits that you might experience. 

Enjoying this article, and looking to learn more? We’ve picked out 3 more for you!

Nada Yoga Practices & Exercises

sound yoga meditation

Now that you understand what nada yoga is, it’s time to learn how you can do it.

To get the best possible experience with sound yoga, here are our nada yoga exercises that will help guide you through your first experiences. The first step is to sit in a comfortable position. We recommend doing this on a yoga mat, a rug, or just a cushion. 

Then, it’s time to adopt your first pose that’s ideal for nada yoga. As a beginner we’d recommend: 

  • Sukhasana (Sitting Position): Sitting down with your legs crossed so that one ankle is tucked under the other. Each time you take this pose, try alternating which leg you place on top. If you want extra support, you can practice this move by resting your back upright against the wall. 
  • Padmasana (Lotus Position): Sit with your legs crossed so that the balls of your feet are pointed upwards and the tops of your feet are resting on your thighs. This position is not suitable for everyone, so if you feel any discomfort, stop using this position and seek advice from a yogi or a medical expert. Substitute with another seated pose if you have any problems with your knees or ankles.
  • Virasana (Hero position): This position involves sitting on your ankles, with the tops of the feet facing down. Make sure that whilst in this position you keep your knees close together and separate your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.

(If your ankles are stiff, place a rolled-up blanket or thick yoga cushion underneath to decrease the stretch).

Now you are in your chosen sitting position, ensure that you are comfortably sitting upright with your spine straight, and without any discomfort or strain, then place your palms open and facing upwards, resting on your knees or thighs.

Once you are in a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on the sound of your breathing.  Maintain a natural rhythm to your breath for a few minutes. Slowly begin to focus on the sound of your own heartbeat, each pump, then after a few minutes focus on another sound in your area: the sound of the wind, or running water, or even the sounds of insects in your garden. Repeat the transition from one sound to the next and slowly come back to yourself, focusing on your breathing. 

If you wish, before ending your meditation conclude with the AUM chant that we looked at earlier in this article. You can also practice nada yoga whilst performing other yoga styles and routines, simply by making use of the AUM chant.


Nada Yoga and Rocket Yoga Exercises

nada yoga poses

One of the best forms of yoga to do this exercise alongside is rocket yoga. Rocket yoga is a modified form of the traditional practice of ashtanga yoga which is where movements flow from one to the other, the difference is rocket yoga is much simpler! 

OriGym’s full exploration of rocket yoga and its benefits looks at just how adaptable the practice is, and how you can incorporate it into your routine. 

When you begin your exercise ensure that you are fully comfortable and can breathe freely and without restraint. Upon beginning your first exercise begins the start of the Aum mantra, starting with the “Aaa”. 

As you progress through the exercise, either as you approach the middle of the movement or the middle of your holding time, begin to transition to the “Uuu” part of the chant, and hold for the middle of your move or hold time. 

Once you begin to transition into the end of the exercise or are reaching the end of the hold time, finish with the “Mmm” part of the mantra concluding the mantra upon the completion of the exercise. 

Repeat for each of the exercises.

Incorporating this “aum” chant into your regular yoga practice can boost the emphasis upon mindfulness, as well as enhance any of the benefits you may have received from completing that particular form of yoga.

Nada Yoga Purification Process

nada yoga sound yoga

The purification of chakra is considered an essential part of any yoga practice, and nada yoga is no different. Nada yoga’s form of purification is, much like the rest of the practice, focused predominantly on sound.

The reason that purification is so important is that it is believed that, once the body has been purified through the various practices of yoga, it consequently causes an increase in the flow of energy (prana) through the entire body, improving your ability to work, and how effectively you think, digest, taste, feel, and experience life.

All yoga purification processes are centred around the Nadi (or Nāḍī), which is the term used for the spiritual channels for energy travel through, in traditional Indian medicine. According to the Indian philosophical teachings, the nadis are said to connect at special points of intensity, the chakras. 

The chakras, are critical to yoga practices, being the focus of nearly all yoga forms, including nada yoga. It’s because of this that the nada purification process is considered crucial to nada yoga.

The three most important nadis are Sushumna (the middle of the body, central spinal cord, the highway to the divine within); Ida (the left nostril which is associated with the moon, negative, cool, and the nervous system); and Pingala (Related to the right nostril, the sun, positivity, heat, and sympathetic nervous system).

Throughout the whole Chakra Purification process, ensure you’re sat up straight and tall. Begin chanting “Aum” (using the strategy we’ve explored) three times. You can also burn a smudge stick (usually a small bundle of sage leaves) to “purify” the space before undertaking your nada yoga meditation.

Who Is Nada Yoga Suitable For?

sound yoga training

Given its calming and introspective nature, nada yoga is said to be suitable for anyone. Nada yoga is often considered the most relaxing form of meditation, and incorporating it into your schedule can often bring about a more balanced state of mind.

However, there are a few caveats to be aware of. If you find it difficult to maintain a single position for longer periods of time, have a persistent medical issue that limits your range of motion (such as sciatica), or are heavily pregnant, we would recommend speaking to your doctor before giving naga yoga a try.

It’s important to prioritise your own health before trying a new form of exercise, and that goes for even relaxed forms of yoga such as nada or yin yoga. With nada yoga, though, the benefits can often outweigh the possible negatives.

In fact, yoga practice has been found to be beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains (including lower back pain) , depression, and stress.


Risks of Nada Yoga

While we’ve covered an extensive array of the benefits of nada yoga, it is important to be aware of any inherent risks that might be associated with the practice, and with yoga in general.


#1 – Can Cause Discomfort

yoga nada

As we’ve mentioned earlier, some standard yoga exercises that you might apply to nada yoga can also cause pain or discomfort. This is of particular importance if you combine nada yoga’s techniques and ideologies with another form of yoga, such as rocket yoga.

Positions may cause discomfort, especially if you’re not particularly flexible, or have stiff joints that only provide a limited range of motion. Of course, yoga is an incredibly adaptable activity, and if one position is too difficult, or causes minor discomfort, then you’re able to simply do as much as you feel comfortable doing.

However, if you experience serious discomfort or pain, we would suggest stopping immediately, and speaking to your doctor before trying it again. Exercise and fitness are hugely important, but it’s vital that you find what works for you and your body.

#2 – Dry Throat

nada yoga training uk

During your nada yoga training, you can risk developing a dry or sore throat. Whilst this first seems an inconsequential thing to worry about, when you are deep in meditation you might not realise how dry your throat becomes during chants. 

This can easily be remedied by having a small drink before you meditate, maintaining hydration throughout the day, and having some cold water prepared for after your meditation. 

Sometimes it could be that your chanting is too powerful, or that you aren’t properly hydrated. If you’re focusing on maintaining a loud clear chant you might be straining your vocal chords. 

Try experimenting and finding the correct tone that you’re comfortable using.

Or, you may be forcing your breathing during meditation, which can cause your throat to become sore or strained. Ensure you’re following your natural breathing rhythm – it should feel gentle, and never forced.

How To Get Started With Nada Yoga

nada yoga advantages

Now that you understand what nada yoga is, and what you need to do to fully experience the nada yoga benefits, you’ll likely want to know how to get started. We’ve compiled a few recommendations for getting started, and any essential yoga equipment you’ll need:

  • A Yoga Mat – As we’ve already touched upon, having a soft, comfortable mat to perform your poses on is essential. The best yoga mats will offer support so you can undertake the practice barefoot, as well as being easy to store and clean.
  • Comfortable Clothes – Meditation and nada yoga are practices that rely on you being able to completely relax and distance yourself from distractions, which is why we’d always recommend finding clothes that are comfortable and breathable. This can be a pair of yoga leggings and a tracksuit top, or even just loose trousers and a comfortable t-shirt.
  • A Quiet Space – Arguably the most important piece of equipment you’ll need isn’t a piece of equipment at all. Having a quiet area or space (even if it’s a secluded corner of your garden) is crucial for having the best possible nada yoga experience. The less busy your environment is, the easier it is to immerse yourself in nada yoga meditation. 

These are just the bare essentials we’d recommend having before getting started with nada yoga, but you can add more yoga equipment as you get more involved with the practice, and start to experience the myriad benefits of nada yoga.

How To Find A Nada Yoga Class

yoga om sound

Sadly, given the secretive nature of nada yoga and its origins, there are very few in-person classes out there. Most gyms will offer some form of yoga class, which can offer a taste of meditative practice, but if you’re looking for a much more introspective experience, nothing comes close to nada yoga.

Fortunately though, with the internet readily available there are an innumerable amount of Nada yoga classes and courses out there for you to try! We’ve picked out a couple of our favourites, with options to suit every budget.

Nada Yoga School

Offering online Yoga Classes and Online Workshops, as well as guidance and advice on best to achieve the most from nada yoga. Their vast library  includes textbooks and printed course materials, daily lessons from 8 professional staff yoga teachers and guest lecturers, and dedicated sessions to nada yoga every Sunday. 

As arguably one of the most well-established nada yoga providers out there, the Nada Yoga school aims to provide the benefits of nada yoga to a much wider audience. And for just £20 a month, they’re also a much more affordable option, even matching some of the cheaper gym memberships out there.

Heart Of Sound

Unfortunately, Heart of Sound only offers long term courses, but it is also one of the most world-renowned nada yoga teaching facilities, and is an ideal option if you’re looking to continue with nada yoga for a longer period of time.

However, this caveat is offset by the range of courses and classes that Heart of Sound offers. 

If you’re just starting out with nada yoga, they offer completely free taster sessions that give you a good overview of what you’ll be undertaking should you decide to opt for a longer, paid schedule of nada yoga classes.

You can also choose to jet off to one of their bespoke yoga retreats. Here you’ll be completely immersed in the yoga of sound, and understand the ideas of enlightenment through nada yoga in a serene environment.

How Much Does A Nada Class Cost?

sound yoga or nada yoga

This is unfortunately a question that doesn’t have a single answer, especially as each individual provider will price themselves differently. However, our two favourite options have numerous options available that we’ve outlined below.

Nada Yoga School

The Nada Yoga School has numerous online courses that you can pick from. This includes their introductory classes, which explores what nada yoga is in much greater detail , as well as healing through nada yoga, the basics of chanting and its types, and an introduction to nada yoga using traditional Indian music.

There is only one level for this course and it usually costs $250 (£178.08). All their lessons are recorded and posted onto their online platform so you can rewatch them at your convenience. The recording will be available for the next 3 months (90 days) after the workshop ends.

Heart Of Sound

If you really want to invest in furthering your nada yoga expertise, you could immerse yourself into Heart of Sound’s 7 module course, which starts at $697 (£492). In this course, you’ll learn to find your own unique “inner voice”, exploring different forms of traditional Indian nada yoga music, and discovering new and innovative ways to explore enlightenment.

In addition to these modules, you can also opt for additional monthly private lessons, which do incur an additional cost of $129 (£91) per month, but offer you the rare opportunity to discuss the intricacies of nada yoga with qualified experts on a 1-to-1 basis.

Before You Go!

Our aim with this article was to answer that initial question of just ‘what is Nada yoga?’, and has given you everything you need to get started with the introspective practice.

Nada yoga is a unique and intriguing form of yoga, and its adaptability makes it an incredibly diverse way to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your daily life. We hope with this knowledge that you are now confident enough to explore deeper into the other areas of yoga, and experiment with different types to find your style of choice.

Or, if you’re already confident in your fitness choices, and want to take that to the next level, then a career in fitness could be your next step.

OriGym’s internationally recognised personal training diploma is unparalleled. We offer unlimited career advice, 7-days-a-week expert support, guaranteed post course interviews, all for the lowest price amongst our competitors.

Our FREE prospectus explains every detail of what we offer, and how it could be ideal for your development!


  1. Creswell, J., Taren, A., Lindsay, E., Greco, C., Gianaros, P., & Fairgrieve, A. et al. (2016). Alterations in Resting-State Functional Connectivity Link Mindfulness Meditation With Reduced Interleukin-6: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Biological Psychiatry, 80(1), 53-61. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.01.008

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About the Author: Nicola Glancey

Nicola graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Language & Creative Writing from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). She has a real passion for fitness and has spent over ten years training with TAGB TaeKwonDo, holding held her Black Belt since 2014. During her time at University, Nicola worked alongside The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway where she helped the awards group diversify their review criteria. When not writing, Nicola enjoys hiking and researching the latest trends and diets. She has also recently taken up learning BSL.

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