To come to know who rides upon your tongue: sound sSādhanā—cultivating sSelf through sSwara: A practice-based spiritual inquiry

Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
This dissertation is the account of a group exploration of Sound sSādhanā—an integrated voice and self-study practice designed specifically for research purpose—undertaken as an artist's spiritual journey over a three-month duration. The purpose of the study was to explore Sound sSādhanā as practice-based spiritual inquiry from a sound yogi practitioner perspective. This research design emerged from two intertwining oral teaching traditions: Indian music foundational voice cultivation practices; and Nāda Yoga, the path of exploring consciousness through sound, vibration and resonance. Ontological themes of dual and nondual, identified self and transcendent Self, informed the journey, the language, the voice techniques, sound forms and mantric compositions of this inquiry. The voice was the medium of exploration, and voice cultivation was engaged as a yogic path of personal and artistic transformation. Through voice cultivation and re-sounding reflective writing practices, each participant was invited to be a sound Yogi, to study their voice and their practice as a yoga sādhanā, to refine their voice and their personal sādhanās, and to develop witness consciousness to their own person, art, and spiritual inquiry. The research involved a group of six participants as Yogis through a course of individual voice sessions, group gatherings (Satsang), and daily personal Sound sSādhanā practice. The transcripts from the Satsangs along with the written reflections and field notations from each participant's daily practice, were gathered as a testament to a journey taken and as documentation in support of this research study. Thus, multiple voices re-sound in this dissertation document, which contains the Sound sSādhanā journeys of the six research participants, including the author as researcher, teacher, facilitator, mentor, and Sādhaka (spiritual seeker/ Yogi). This research revealed multiple benefits, including: enhanced creativity, a sense of expanded consciousness, increased self-awareness of body, breath, word and thought; vocal awareness and refinement; enhanced listening; and, increased clarity and organization of thought. This dissertation holds the unique experiences of an oral teaching tradition and reflects the Sound sSādhanā research journey as an invitation to the reader to witness a new form of scholarship within the Yogic paradigm unfolding in the area of art, education, and spirituality. This research contributes to research and education in the field of practice-based spiritual inquiry, sound and consciousness studies, inquiry-based voice yoga practice, and the contemplative arts.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Fels, Lynn
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input_data\21299\etd21406.pdf 3.5 MB