On Sunday 17th February we hosted an intimate, female workshop with Jasvir Rabban, a talented Vocalist, Musician and Teacher of Naad Yoga with the Raj Academy.
We really weren’t sure what to expect…some of the ladies rocked up in workout gear with yoga mats…others in casual Indian attirre… but it was quickly apparent that this was a very different type of Yoga.
Jasvir explained to us that ‘Naad Yoga’ is the yoga of sound. All experience has a sound, whether this is expressed out loud or silently. It is the mastery of that sound within ourselves that enables us to shape our experience. If we can hear the expressions of our own mind and soul, and what prompts them, we can go deeper to engage with that process as it happens and to direct it.
It is only when we communicate with our inner experience in its own language, the sound of emotion, with its pitch, tone, and rhythm, it becomes responsive to our influence. By composing our inner experience we also determine how we express ourselves to the external world, and its consequences.
Naad Yoga is the continual process of going inward and outward through listening and expressing. It is sound that provides the map, the points of reference, by which we recognise our own experience.
Jasvir took us through an incredible talk that outlined the history of the original Sikh string instruments: Rabab, Saranda, Sarangi, Taus and Dilruba. She shared eloquently why bowed and plucked string instruments are ideal for accompanying the singing voice. They support and enrich the sound, with a flexibility that can mirror the singer’s emotional expression.
“The instruments we teach were all created or chosen by the Sikh Gurus for singing Kirtan. They were later almost eclipsed in Sikh music practice by the harmonium, introduced to India from the West under the British Empire.
Unlike the string instruments, the harmonium cannot match the voice in the suppleness of pitch and tone. Its fixed notes make it impossible to render the subtle qualities that give Indian music its vitality and emotional power. It has a deadening effect on raag (mood created in music), the core of Sikh music.”
She then took us on a journey of guided mindfulness, to within ourselves, identifying the core of our being and giving it a voice. The energy in the room was electrifying, as we chanted the mantra and allowed our minds to quieten to the sound of the universe.
We also encouraged Jasvir to play for us and sing the GurMantar ‘Waheguru’. It moved us all to another place, another time and connected deeply within us.
The workshop was a profound experience for us, the sound connected within our souls, our divine feminine energy and bonds to each other. Those who joined us described it as “healing and emotional”, “a release for emotions that were sitting on the surface” and “something internal shifted and evolved”.
An incredible encounter that will stay with us for a long time.