Naam Yoga is a lesser-known yoga type that combines yogic philosophy and physical exercise with western mysticism. It is a complex holistic system that aims to expand one’s consciousness, heal their body, and offer tools to improve the quality of life.
Naam yoga classes are now available worldwide and might be an interesting addition to your yoga journey, especially if you’re interested in both western and eastern mysticism and spiritual traditions.
Naam Yoga is a holistic practice that combines yoga techniques with esoteric elements from western mysticism. The result is a unique mix of two powerful traditions that support the practitioner’s spiritual growth.
The name Naam refers to a sacred sound represented in a variety of mystical schools and traditions worldwide. Naam yoga combines this healing sound with other well-known yogic practices, including hand gestures, poses, mantras, and breathing exercises. It also includes knowledge from “Universal Kabbalah,” which teaches the laws of nature and how to connect to them both on and off the mat.
Naam yoga is designed to aid the practitioners in self-healing, including bringing the body to a state of balance or homeostasis and allowing them to connect to universal consciousness.
Naam Yoga was founded in 2006 by Doctor Joseph Michael Levry, but he taught a similar fusion of Eastern traditions since as early as the 1980s. In the beginning, his system combined sound therapy, pranayama, movement, mudras, and breathwork with the belief in the laws of nature from the so-called Universal Kabbalah. Later, Dr. Levry also included an ancient practice called Sukshma Vyayama, which comes from the Himalayas and which he called Shakti Naam Yoga.
He learned this particular practice from a teacher called Shri Bal Mukund Singh, who was a student of a renowned yogi master Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari Ji.
Shakti Naam is a subtype of Naam yoga brought to the west from the Himalayas. This practice is believed to help slow aging and combat/prevent disease. It includes standing postures, movement, breathwork, acupressure, and vocal mudras. The goal is to increase one’s lifespan and increase health, positivity, and quality of life.
The founder and teachers of Naam yoga believe this system fills a gap between those who practice only yoga and those who are only focused on researching western mysticism.
They believe knowledge of natural laws (including cause and effect) may help yogis who have a strong spiritual practice improve other aspects of their lives, like careers and relationships.
Meanwhile, those who only strive to understand and implement these “cosmic laws” can benefit from yoga. It can teach them about their bodies and health, including the nervous and digestive systems. Yoga practice may help them strengthen their physical bodies and develop a powerful spiritual practice.
The idea of Naam yoga is to bring together these two complementing practices to create a unified system that transforms bad karma into fortune for the future and brings a sense of peace and fulfillment in the present moment.
Naam yoga teaches students to use sacred words or sounds in prayer, awaken their true selves, and heal the body and mind. Meanwhile, the Universal Kabbalah teaches the laws of nature, which help answer any questions one may have about this universe and face everyday challenges with knowledge and grace.
With all these ideas in mind, Naam yoga seems like an interesting option for those looking for a holistic system for health and spirituality and who want to deepen their knowledge of the world. It is a comprehensive school with a worldwide, connected community. It offers a unique set of skills and information that may prove helpful to further develop your spiritual journey and encourage self-growth.
Potential benefits of Naam Yoga (taken from the official website):
- Increased energy levels
- Balanced and strengthened nervous, digestive, glandular, and immune system
- Relieved chronic pain
- Improves stress and emotion management
- Reduced anxiety, stress, and depression
- Improved physical health and well-being
- Greater self-awareness
- Aids in spiritual seeking and growth
Naam yoga elements include:
- Mudras (hand gestures)
- Kriyas (yogic sequences including poses and breathwork)
- Mantras (sacred sounds which are listened to or chanted)
- Theoretical knowledge of western and yogic mysticism
How to Practice Naam Yoga
Naam yoga is an elaborate system, and many aspects might be new to you, even if you’re an advanced yogi. The structure of the class and the method of practice unifies different traditions, many of which are not common in other yoga styles. For this reason, it would be best to be introduced to the practice by a certified teacher. Preferably, it would be a teacher in real life, but there are also many online resources you can use to start.
Before you decide to practice Naam Yoga and prepare for class, it might be helpful to know the general structure.
Each full-length Naam yoga class is built upon three main pillars.
The first pillar is what gave the style its name and refers to the power of sound. In a practical sense, that means you will go through a mantra meditation practice, which uses the power of sacred frequencies to clarify the mind and encourage healing.
The second pillar is Shakti Naam Yoga or physical practice. During this part of the class, you will activate your entire body with yoga poses. The second pillar also involves Sukshama Vyayama, an old yogic tool that works on the energetic body. This practice doesn’t only activate the joints and muscles but also energetic pathways and organs. It involves pranayama (breathing exercises), bandhas (energy locks), and mudras (hand gestures).
Finally, the third pillar of Naam Yoga deals with the logical or mathematic side of spirituality, and the laws of nature, dubbed “Divine Spiritual Wisdom”. This part of the practice is more theoretical in nature, teaching the students which natural laws and principles direct the universe and how we can use them to improve our lives. Although this pillar deals with the Divine presence and spirituality, it also aims to change students’ mindsets to better tackle everyday things in life, like relationships or careers.
Check out these follow-along videos if you can’t make it to a Naam Yoga studio or want to try it out at home.
Naam Yoga for Vitality – 10-minute class
Shakti Naam Yoga with Allyn Cioban (…can be done seated!)
Naam Yoga for Vitality, Immunity, and Lifeforce
Naam meditation is one of the techniques used in Naam yoga school and involves mantras and prayers. It is designed to help students clear their minds and learn to control habitual thoughts, feelings, words, actions, and behavior. By controlling these five elements, a practitioner will be able to improve every aspect of their lives. Naam meditation is accompanied by musical compositions that use a careful selection of frequencies, pitch, and rhythm to address different body parts and are created following a Golden Ratio.
Universal Kabbalah is an esoteric methodology used in Naam yoga and yogic practices. This discipline involves theoretical knowledge of the ways of the universe, or natural laws, to expand and transform students’ consciousness. It encourages introspection and guides the student to build a healthier philosophy and way of life.
Important: Check with your doctor before trying Naam Yoga for the first time if you have any injury, illness, pain, or are pregnant.