Try Dosha-Balancing Indian Classical Music for Better Sleep
It’s well known among sleep researchers that listening to calming music before bed helps to quiet the mind and soothe the autonomic nervous system.But did you know that certain types of music can also help to balance your doshas—the subtle energies that govern your mind and body’s functioning? In Ayurveda, Indian Classical Music (Gandharva Veda) has long been used to help balance the doshas, promote mind-body balance and general wellbeing, and (yes) help you sleep.
What is Gandharva Veda?
Revived by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Gandharva Veda is a form of Indian Classical music that replicates the vibrations of nature at different times of day and night, and during different seasons of the year. Simply put: it is the rhythms and melodies of nature expressed through music.
Devabrata Chaudhuri, a master Gandharvan musician, once explained, “These sublime melodies neutralize stress and disharmony in the environment, and gently restore biological rhythms by attuning the physiology to the cycles of nature that underlie each hour of the day and each season of the year.”
Different melodies are used to create harmony throughout the day, and you can listen to them to feel energized in the morning, creative in the afternoon, and relaxed in the evening and at bedtime.
How Gandharva Veda Affects the Doshas
If you’re familiar with Ayurveda basics, you’ll know that the Vata dosha (mind-body element) corresponds with air and space, Pitta dosha corresponds with fire and water, and Kapha dosha corresponds to earth and water. What you might not know is that Gandharva Veda music gently influences your mind and body by tapping into those same elemental influences.
For instance, ragas (or melodies) played with wind instruments like the bansuri (flute) and shehnai (North Indian oboe) help balance breezy Vata dosha. Melodies primarily featuring string instruments like the sitar, sarod, saraswati veena, etc. help to balance fiery Pitta dosha. Earthy ragas with percussion instruments like the tabla and pakhawaj tend to balance Kapha dosha.
So What Does This All Mean in Terms of Sleep?
Sleep disturbances and occasional insomnia often stem from imbalances in the doshas. To help remedy a Pitta sleep imbalance (characterized by waking throughout the night, or in the wee hours of the morning, often with intense emotions like anger or fear), try listening to cooling Gandharva Veda melodies featuring string instruments.
For a Vata sleep imbalance (characterized by difficulty falling asleep at night and a tendency to lie for hours, thoughts whirling, before sleeping), try soothing wind instrument ragas.
And, you guessed it: for a Kapha sleep imbalance (characterized by oversleeping and difficulty waking up in the morning), start your morning with an upbeat raga featuring the tabla or other Indian Classical music percussion instruments.
Great news for lovers of vocal melodies: vocal melodies happen to pacify all three doshas.
A Balancing Raga for Every Time of Day
Not sure what to listen to, or when? The beauty of Gandharva is that each of the different melodies corresponds to the changing frequencies of nature throughout the day. There are eight praharas (three-hour periods throughout the day)—Sunrise, Morning, Midday, Afternoon, Sunset, Evening, Midnight, and Late Night—and each raga is designed to be played during one of these periods.
Each prahara (and associated melody) corresponds to different benefits. For instance, the Midday melody (to be played 10 a.m.–1 p.m.) promotes greater energy, success, knowledge, and wisdom, among other benefits. The Evening raga (to be played 7–10 p.m.) supports serenity and expansion and helps you settle down before bed. There are also melodies you can listen to at any time of day.
Here's a comprehensive chart:
Listen to Gandharva Veda Anytime: Maharishi Veda App
To listen to the soothing, balancing sounds of Indian Classical Music anytime, try the Maharishi Veda App and stream the melodies from your iPhone, Android, or your computer. For your ease, the tracks are pre-programmed to correspond to the changing frequencies of nature throughout the day—enlivening in the morning, and tranquil at night—and will automatically stream for your time zone.
Access a large library of more than 250 tracks recorded by some of the finest Gandharva Veda musicians in India. Each melody helps restore balance and harmony to your mind, body, and environment. You’ll also be able to listen to classic Vedic recitations from ancient Vedic literature (these relaxing, enlivening, harmonizing recordings are best listened to with the eyes gently closed—and not while driving).
© Copyright 2019 Maharishi Ayurvedic Products International, Inc. (MAPI). All Rights Reserved. MAPI does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. See additional information.