If you routinely meditate to music, you know how it enhances your practice. If not, you’ll be delighted with its benefits! Certain genres are preferable, soothing the body, emotions, and mind. Here’s how to find music that aids going within.
Know What Comprises Quality Meditation Music
For music to promote deep serenity, it must possess three properties:
- slow to moderate tempo
Since the primary goal of meditation is a tranquil mind, avoid music paired with words. Hearing them activates your left brain hemisphere, stirring up thoughts. Conversely, instrumental music activates your right brain, the source of intuition.
The exception to this guideline is compositions of sanctified sounds or yogic mantras. Such sacred words are charged with stilling power, imparting calm awareness. Yogic mantras are saturated with spiritual energy, enlivened by meditation masters.
Fast music revs the nervous system, whereas a slow pace eases breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. Mellow tones coax contentment while raucous sounds trigger restlessness. In fact, the ideal music serves as a focal point! Whether you concentrate on your breath, a mantra, scripture, or repetitive sound, true meditation music will still your mind through the very act of listening to it. Once you know the traits of quality compositions, you can proceed to find your ideal type.
Clarify Your Reason for Meditating
The incentive to meditate varies among practitioners. By pinpointing your objective, you can select music that aids its achievement. Identify your goal from the following intentions:
- emotional equilibrium
- optimal physical health
- maximal creativity
- sharper focus
- harmonious relationships
- pain relief
- spiritual attainment
Or, your purpose may be different each time you approach meditation. In that case, it’s helpful to keep a repertoire of music from which to choose.
Acquaint Yourself with Various Music Genres
Styles that meet the three quality criteria are ambient music, binaural beats, nature sounds, chakra balancing, and Tibetan singing bowls.
This type of instrumental music induces peace by emphasizing tones and atmospheric qualities versus rhythm. Ambient music is distinguished by the use of electronic instruments, repetitive sounds, and progressive modulation. “Space music” is another way to describe this genre. A classic example is the heavenly swells of “Inner Sanctum” by Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke. Other renowned ambient music artists are Aes Dana, Enigma, Orbital, Aphex Twin, and Brian Eno.
This category is ideal as background sound if your meditation goal is emotional equilibrium, creativity, sharper focus, harmonious relationships, and relaxation. The reason is that ambient music fosters patience.
This type of music requires headphones. A binaural beat is a response your brain has to tones heard through separate earpieces. This reaction is prompted by noting the phase differences between the two inputs. When sounds individually enter the ears through right and left channels, the brain integrates the frequencies, perceiving a third “beat.”
Music designed to elicit binaural beats has a wavy and hypnotic quality. This is due to the waxing and waning of the two channels. Yet, the music is smooth. Sounds at frequencies between 1 and 8 Hz usher the mind into a relaxed and creative state. Binaural beat music between 8 to 12 Hz hones alertness and concentration. Various frequencies relieve pain. Additionally, this music expedites entering a meditative state. Moreover, you can teach your mind to detect tonal differences, a process called brainwave entrainment. Musical compositions are available for this purpose.
Nature’s harmonies induce a relaxation response. So does deep breathing. Pairing both dramatically lowers cortisol, a hormone your body releases when stressed. Focusing on natural sounds also heightens concentration. Specific sounds that evoke calm are birdsong, chirping crickets, rain forests, waterfalls, rain, ocean waves, and wind. The key to success with this genre is listening to sounds with which you’re familiar. Odd noises may put you on edge.
If you meditate for spiritual attainment, you may be familiar with the term “chakra.” If not, it means “energy center” in Sanskrit, a Hindu language in which ancient scriptures and epic poems are written. The human body has seven main chakras, serving as conduits for spiritual energy. The centers are depicted as wheels on a chakra chart. Each wheel:
- occupies a specific location, spanning the crown of the head to the base of the spine
- connects to certain nerves, glands, and organs within the body
- has unique spiritual, emotional, physical, and energetic qualities
In descending order, the names of the seven chakras are Crown, Third Eye, Throat, Heart, Navel, Sacral, and Root. When negative emotions block energy flow through the chakras, symptoms of illness and disease arise. However, certain sound vibrations clear obstructions within each chakra and restore energy movement. These vibrations are known as mantras. Hearing them creates an optimal sound frequency known as resonance. The process of dissolving energy blocks is called chakra balancing.
Chakra healing music comes in various forms, including binaural beats and brainwave entrainment. Certain compositions are designed to improve health, fitness, relationships, and creativity. Examples of chakra balancing music are the Isochronic Chakra Suite and Solfeggio frequencies.
Tibetan Singing Bowls
This music promotes mental balance while drawing negative energy from your body. The instruments issue a reverberating sound, expanding with rich fullness. Listening to their swells feels like floating. Although bowls come in a range of sizes, large vessels produce deeper and more sustained sounds than small sizes.
Musicians make vessels “sing” by touching them with a mallet. Two techniques used are tapping the outside of an instrument or tracing its outer rim with the baton. While assisting meditation, singing bowls have healing qualities. Their tones relieve pain, improve circulation, reduce blood pressure, boost immunity, and balance chakras. When used therapeutically, the music of Tibetan bowls is called sound massage.
Listen to Samples
Once you’re familiar with the various music styles and their benefits, play types that seem appealing. On a computer, you can listen to YouTube selections or obtain free downloads. You can also stream music for free to a tablet, computer, or smartphone from service providers, such as iHeartRadio, Pandora, SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music.
Your local library may also stock meditation music. Bookstores and New Age stores sometimes let customers play samples. Another source of music is an ashram, a place of spiritual retreat where people gather to chant, meditate, and study Indian scriptures. Go online to see if there’s an ashram in your area. You may enjoy the sense of community offered by attending.
When weather allows, you might meditate at a beach, bird sanctuary, botanical garden, arboretum, or park. Identify natural sounds that evoke a pleasant response within you.
Establish a Music Collection
Once you’ve narrowed down your options to preferred styles, create a music library. You may be able to obtain music from where you heard samples. You can tune into nature sounds via CDs, smartphone apps, environmental sound machines, and YouTube videos.
Choose arrangements long enough for the intended duration of your sessions. Keep several genres in your repertoire, suiting various meditation goals.
Certain types of music facilitate meditation. Among them are ambient, binaural beats, nature sounds, chakra balancing, and Tibetan singing bowls. Especially healing is listening to the music of nature, mantras, and sacred instruments. Exquisite sound vibrations expedite focusing, relaxing, and reaching a tranquil state. The right music makes meditation all the more sweet!