Nishpanda Bhava, Relaxation Technique with Sound Aid

Author: Randeep Singh / go to all Techniques of Yoga articles

Most of the times we remain caught

up between movements,

agitations, opinions, grudges,

dislikes, and regrets.

Wish man was able to relax whenever

he needed to.

It’s not yet clear why are we

not able to keep our mind vacant

of any occupations,

The mind is scared of its own destruction without the presence of any thoughts,

which are actually the raw material for its existence. Higher the number of thoughts, more agitated will be the body, which will lead to tiredness or waste of the pristine life force or the prana. Relaxation is good for health. We somewhere have to find a means to let go off our fixation of the mind as mentioned above and let the mind truly relax. Nishpanda bhava can help one achieve this. Apart from Yoga techniques some innovative ideas for relaxing the mind from day to day living can also help. 

Ni, in Sanskrit means without and spanda means movement. Thus Nishpandabahava as a technique intends to relax the body and the mind by stopping any of the related movements. This practice relaxes the mind by relaxing the body.  Though Savasana is the most recommended relaxation technique in yoga,  it being a conscious relaxation state, is difficult to achieve by the untrained mind.  NIshpanda bhava prepares us for savasana by experiencing introspection and abstraction from the outside disturbances. We learn to let go, Vairagya bhava, off all our material and mental fixations which lightens the weight on the mind inducing the required relaxation. 

Nishpanda bhava

How to do Nishpanda Bhava​​

  1. Sit on  a yoga mat with its shorter length laid against the wall for support,  the hips must  touch the wall and the legs comfortaby stretched wide (abducted)in a minor split
  2. The spine must  remain relaxed but erect, adequately supported by the wall from behind and the hips thrust against the wall from below
  3. Rest the lower arms on the thighs with the palms facing upwards, keep the palms and the fingers relaxed
  4. After securing this position slowly close the eyes and take the mind to any fading sounds one can hear, do not let the mind to stick to the sound, but let it observe them passively as they fade out slowly in the distance or on their own
  5. In case natural sounds are not present one can play some sounds on an electronic device or ask some to help by producing intermittent sounds with the help of some instrument like a singing bowl or a bell. 
  6. Sound of spoken words should never be used while doing Nishpanda Bhava as words can evocate emotions and other kinds of reactions in the mind
  7. Do not get attached to any of the sounds, train the mind to observe them passively.
  8. Sit in this manner for a minimum of 5 mins and a maximum of 15 mins for receiving the maximum benefit

Contraindications, Limitations for Nishpanda Bhana

Nishpanda bhava can be done by all who can sit in the posture required to do it.

What Nishpanda Bhava Teaches Us

Nishpanda bhava teaches us to accept all the different, even unexpected sound vibration while keeping the same attitude of remaining physically and mentally unaffected by them. Here we train to just be aware of the sound without flowing, attaching or moving along with it. In doing so we also have to accept all the king of sounds we are being exposed to: pleasing and even nonpleasing ones. We learn to accept even the situations and incidents which we do not otherwise like. 

By practicing nishpanda bhava regularly we train ourselves to accept life as it is while maintaining a steady, quiet attitude towards the not very agreeable aspect of life.  Our body, mind and the sense become more adaptable to the vagaries of the external environment over which we have no control. The process of this relaxation technique is such that the practitioner perceives all pain and pleasure in life with equanimity.

Some of my students sometimes request for putting the air conditioner on in our studio in Bandra West while taking the yoga class as they would feel more comfortable practicing yoga in an agreeable environment, some suggest playing light music during the yoga class so that they feel more relaxed while practicing.  But accepting comfort and discomfort with equally balanced attitude is the hallmark of a healthy mind which would project itself as the healthy body. 

One must be able to train his senses to accept and equally enjoy the screeching of the vehicle’s tires suddenly coming to a halt, the thundering of a plane passing overhead, or the sweet singing of a bird on the tree nearby.  If one can remain conscious of all the sounds buzzing around oneself at the same time without getting affected by them, if all these sounds fail to extract any internal or external reaction from oneself, and if  one is able to maintain physical, mental and emotional calm during all the chaos, one is really practicing nishpanda bhava, and one has learned the yoga attitude to life. 

One has to accept all aspects of life without changing the attitude. One must remain the same in joy or sorrow, success or failure.

We teach Nishpanda Bhava at our Yoga practice sessions aided by the strikes on a Himalayan singing bowl as a source of fading sounds.

Advantages, Benefits of doing Nishpanda Bhava

  • Practicing nishpanda bhava inculcates the attitude of disinterestedness, nonattachment, and letting go ( vairagya Bhava), the reasons behind one’s pain and suffering
  • The practitioner of this relaxation technique experiences vanishing of the body awareness which heals the body better
  • It improves the overall efficiency of the body by improving the health of the heart, lungs, the nervous system, and the muscle
  • It is a preparatory technique for meditation, savasana, dradhasana, makarasan
  • Since this technique induces abstraction of the senses it prepares one for higher pratyahara practices​
  • Nishpanda bhava is a significant part of the group of yoga techniques which come under yoga for curing vertigo as it helps relieve the symptoms of vertigo very effectively