Tone is almost synonymous with potency. A state of tension is also implied, as a violin string needs to be stretched and tensed in order to produce tones. Whatever is too relaxed lacks tone.
Dane Rudhyar – The Magic of Tone and the Art of Music
Energy or Prana flows through the Nadis as water flows along a stream; Sound Yoga optimises this flow of energy and in so doing is concerned with subtle aspects of being such as thoughts emotions and states of consciousness. The yoga practitioner uses the techniques of Yoga to reach a more balanced state of being whereby the fixations of mental and emotional states are allowed to dissipate, thereby opening up to a state known as Samadhi which is in itself a soundless state.
This understanding of the power of sound to transform being has its roots in shamanic and pre-musical uses of sound and the application of pure sound and tone has profound healing and therapeutic value. By sidestepping a relationship with sound that is rooted in what may be described as left-brain analysis (i.e. tune and melody) and opening up to pure tone, meditative and healing states can precipitate an opening of the right brain. The tools for this are varied and range from the human voice, the use of mantra to instruments, but common to all of these is a direct engagement with tone.
The principle healing instrument is the gong and like many instruments used for transformative or shamanic purposes produces white noise, it is able to confound the analytic brain’s ability to structure and make sense of sound, bringing about a meditative state. The key practitioner in the use of the gong for therapeutic purposes, Yogi Bharjan – the founder of Kundalini Yoga, is often quoted as saying that “the mind has no power to resist a gong that is well played” and furthermore that the mind surrenders within 3 to 90 seconds.
The gong itself has a particular sound structure that in some ways can be related a wave crashing, although if played well and exploratively, the sound will range from rhythmic and therefore predictive pattern into realms that are non-linear. This sound characteristic is able to loosen of states of being and enable the breaking of destructive mental and emotional patterns. The gong has been incorporated into the practice of Kundalini yoga since the 1970’s when Yogi Bharjan successfully took esoteric practices from North India to help heal people with drug and dependency issues in USA using Gong Yoga.