Naad yoga: Are you off-pitch or off-tempo?

Naad yoga Raj Academy

Me and my sarangi. Photo by Laure Teyssendier

In naad yoga, some of the concepts we study are tempo and pitch. We do this by playing and singing raags – sacred songs – comprised of certain notes in a specific pattern to a steady rhythm. But on a deeper level, we work on the tempo and pitch of our life. 

Tempo is the pace and rhythm of life. It’s knowing when to start something and when to finish it. It’s about being on time for people and appointments, but also on time for life events. It’s about being ‘in time’ with our destiny. To coin one of Yogi Bhajan’s five sutras of the Aquarian Age, ‘When the time is upon you, start, and the pressure will be off.’

Pitch is our receptivity (listening) and capacity to ‘pitch’ ourself  at the right note. It’s about intuitively hearing the emotional subtext of what others are saying to us. It’s matching our individual tone to those around us. Another of Yogi Bhajan’s Aquarian Age sutras that resonates with pitch is, ‘Vibrate the cosmos, and the cosmos will clear the path.’

My naad yoga teacher, Sidak Kaur, tells me that, in general, we’re skilled at one or the other, but rarely both – unless we work at it. That’s true for me. Tempo is my forte. Rhythm comes easily for me, both when I’m playing my sarangi to the beat of dhol, and on a greater scale, in life situations. I’m an excellent time-keeper, rarely late (more often than not irritatingly early!). I have my daily rhythm down to a fine art, in terms of my sadhana. Pitch, however, is something I need to work on. 

But why is pitch such a weakness for me? It boils down to fear. Listening requires such a depth of receptivity. Listening means to be open to receiving, no matter what we might be receiving. Sometimes it’s safer to fill in the blanks myself, without listening for it. So I’m working on it, this state of deep receptivity. Listening to life, rather than filling in the blanks with my functional mind. Just wanted to share it with you.

Sat nam x