|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 487 ]
Shabda is the Sanskrit word for "sound," and thus the following two practices, shabda kriya and shabda pratyahara, employ the agency of sound.
As mentioned earlier, the sensation of sound/hearing is the jnanendriya which is the most difficult to gain control over.
The shabda kriya consists of two related techniques:
- Establish yourself in a comfortable, relaxed and steady sitting position and perform a few rounds of breath in either the sukha or savitri rhythm.
- Draw your attention towards the point at the centre of the eyebrows (known as bhrumadhya bindu).
- Listen to discern the loudest sound in your external surroundings.
- Put your attention fully upon this sound, listening to it so intently that you become absorbed into it.
- Literally 'become one' with the sound, where you no longer perceive it as being separate from yourself.
- Hold this state for as long as possible. If the mind wanders, continue to bring the attention back to the practice.
- Practice this technique regularly until you are able to stay absorbed in the sound for several minutes without distraction.
- Opposite to the first practice, turn your attention now to a sound in your vicinity which is not the loudest sound.
- 'Listen through' all of the other sounds with intense concentration until, like the first practice, you become absorbed in the chosen sound.
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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