The Practice of Nada Yoga (Paperback)

Meditation on the Inner Sacred Sound

By Baird Hersey, Sri Krishna Das (Foreword by)

Inner Traditions, 9781620551813, 224pp.

Publication Date: December 19, 2013

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Meditation exercises for listening to the four levels of sound, to still the body, quiet the mind, open the heart, and connect with the Divine

• Details the teachings on nada yoga from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika with clear, step-by-step instructions to find and hear the inner sacred sound of nada

• Explains the 4 levels of sound through a series of practical meditation exercises

• Includes instructions for a daily nada yoga meditation practice as well as ways to strengthen your advanced practice

The ancient practice of nada yoga is not complex. It is the yoga of listening. It is a journey from the noise of the external world inward to a place of peace and bliss, to the source of the transformational power of sound--the nada. By meditating on the inner sacred sound of the nada, we can release ourselves from mind chatter and obsessive thinking. We can still the body, quiet the mind, and open the heart to create a state of mind where joy naturally arises.

Sharing his experiential understanding of the classic Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Baird Hersey offers precise, step-by-step instructions on how to find the inner sound of the nada. He explains the first three levels of sound--first, how to truly hear the ordinary sounds of the world around us (vaikhari); second, how to quiet the sounds of the mind (madhyama), such as sound memories and internal dialogue; and third, how to access visual sounds (pashyanti), tapping in to our ability to see sounds and hear colors. Mastering the first three levels prepares one for the fourth level of sound (para), the heart of the practice that connects one to the inner sound of the nada. The author provides detailed exercises to guide you through each level of sound and instructions for a daily nada yoga meditation practice.

Hersey explains that by focusing our minds on this internal sound we reunite our essential self with the eternal and infinite. In this re-union we find bliss in both body and mind, an uplifted spirit, and heightened states of consciousness.

About the Author

Baird Hersey is a musician and National Endowment for the Arts Composition Fellow. He has composed extensively for television and for organizations such as Harvard University and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. A student of yoga and overtone singing since 1988, he studied ashtanga yoga with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois for 9 years, vedanta for 12 years with Swami Chinmayananda’s student Shubhraji, and chant with the Gyuto Monks of Tibet. In 2000 Hersey formed the 9-voice overtone choir PRANA, which regularly collaborates with renowned kirtankar Krishna Das. Baird Hersey lives in Woodstock, New York.

Praise For The Practice of Nada Yoga: Meditation on the Inner Sacred Sound

“Musicians and music lovers, as well as the average person who simply wants to understand nada yoga, will enjoy this fascinating book. Musicians will find the music meditations and exercises for experiencing music on a higher sensory level of particular interest. Everyone will benefit from Hersey’s teachings on the healing powers of sound. Inspiring, clearly written, and engaging, this title deserves a place among top yoga books.”

“Brilliant, revealing, and extensively researched, The Practice of Nada Yoga eloquently explains how all of the yoga practices are based on the fundamental concept that the whole of existence is composed of sound. Through the practice of yoga, one can penetrate into the essential spiritual truth that our bodies are sound bodies, and music is the very nature of our soul.”

“In his new book, The Practice of Nada Yoga, musician Baird Hersey sheds light on a yoga practice that is rare to the West. Nada yoga, the yoga of sound, is rooted in the Rig Veda, one of the world’s oldest religious scriptures. But Hersey argues that the ancient teachings are just as relevant—and transformative—today. Hersey prefers to define Nada yoga as the yoga of listening. The practice is a form of meditation that involves running into sounds around you and within you. It can be a soothing way to quiet your mind and experience a sense of connection with the universe by becoming absorbed in sound vibrations that permeate it and each of us. His book is based on his interpretation of various Sanskrit texts (such as the Hatha Yoga Padipika) and offers nearly 40 exercises to help readers learn how to listen more intimately with their ears and, eventually, with their hearts and minds. For example, one has you pay attention to a specific sound surrounding you and listen for subtle fluctuations in pitch. Another has you plug your ears and notice sounds within your body as you move a little. Hersey’s book is a mix of traditional teachings and contemporary applications that will appeal to yogis, musicians, and anyone wanting to deepen their meditation practice through the soothing medium of sound.”

“Baird, through his many years of practice and study in yoga and in music, has traveled to the depths of nada yoga, the yoga of sound. He leads us, in this remarkable book, to the infinite source of this sacred sound, the Self. If you are a disciplined student of yoga or music, this journey with Baird is an indispensable trip.”

“Baird’s writing voice is strong and sonorous, confidently leading us toward a tranquil mind, an undefended heart, and a more sustained connection with the divine. His meditation exercises are among the clearest and easiest to follow that I have ever read. In a world where sound is associated with stress and overload, The Practice of Nada Yoga reminds us, as Baird says, what we might hear if we could listen through God’s ears.”

“Baird Hersey describes in clear, exact steps the process of developing the ancient practice of nada yoga. While these Hindu and Buddhist exercises are often clouded in mystery, he manages to make the process both comprehensible and accessible to Westerners serious about their meditation, contemplation, and concentration practices. This is a book by an experienced practitioner who knows the terrain.”

“Presented with in-depth experience and study, Baird Hersey’s book makes nada yoga accessible to all levels of seeker and is a valuable tool for their practice.”

“ This is an excellent book for anyone interested in attaining enlightenment and listening to your inner voice. It is very detailed, yet very easy to grasp. This is especially helpful to those who are on their path without a Master to guide them. At this point in my life I found this book to give me a welcome perspective on my own higher nature and a guide to a personal experience of the after-death experience through meditation. It is an inspiring read.”

“Hersey’s book offers simple and clear instruction for focusing attention, quieting the mind, and opening to a deep awareness of sound.”

“Baird Hersey, the very successful, award-winning composer, musician, and yogi expresses his love of sound in The Practice of Nada Yoga. With the blessings of Krishna Das, Hersey, an accomplished yogi and long-time student of Sri Pattabhi Jois, skillfully integrates his knowledge of yoga with the exploration of sound, or nada yoga.”

The Practice of Nada Yoga is well organized, beginning with the four levels of sound and moving into an explanation of what sound is (vibration, which you already knew!), echolocation (think dolphins), the art of listening, and the sacred sound of OM—just to name a few chapters. Hersey provides meditation exercises, asanas, chants, breathing (pranayama), the Eight Limbs (observances) of Yoga, and even a quick chapters on using a neti pot and the importance of sleep.”

“Hersey’s book is a well-rounded and responsible guide to Sacred Sound, which also includes the physical practice of yoga and self-care through a healthy lifestyle. Any reader looking to explore meditative sound and principles of self-care through yoga will enjoy this very accessible and thorough book.”

The Practice of Nada Yoga: Meditation on the Inner Sacred Sound is nearly too dense, like a deep rich gong tone. It’s got a lot packed into it, and a cursory read isn’t the way to go about it. It’s more like a handbook, a manual, for a particular line of spiritual inquiry...go purchase this book right now!”