breath & blow

How to handle the mind and slow it down? Flute therapy may be the answer, says Nishiraj A. Baruah


Here is one more innovation from the world of wellness and this one is called Flute Therapy. A Delhi-based cultural organisation which seeks to “conserve the tangible and intangible heritage and culture of India” has recently conducted a workshop called Bansiyog demonstrating the healing power of flute and yoga combine. We, as journalists, would not have taken notice, except that it had three biggies involved: Colorado based internationally acclaimed flautist Nawang Khechog who is also a Grammy award nominee; the apex body of Indian industries CII; and Mohan Tewani, the first registrar of S-VYASA Yoga University, Bangalore.

Conducted at the CII headquarters in New Delhi, the session organised by Krishna Prerna Foundation drew in a number of industrialists, CEOs and the media. So what exactly is Bansiyog?It is a Deep Relaxation Rechnique (DRT) that combines the principles of yoga with therapeutic qualities of the flute to create a module to harness energy and develop focus. It helps to de-stress and enhance productivity,” says Arun Budhiraja, the promoter of the event.

“My understanding of this particular therapy is that you utilise the flute as an instrument to build spiritual values, compassion, love for all humanity and all species. We use the energy and power of the flute to explore your soul and calm you down. The soul-stirring sound of flute comes out of a deep spiritual existence. The vibrations work to bring in harmony and keep you at peace. It has the power to heel,” says Khechog who counts Richard Gere among his biggest fans. Of course, it can be any instrument played with soul. But flute, adds Khechog, has a deep connection with your heart and soul because “you play with your breath which comes from within you.”

He should know because Khechog’s divine music has often been used in hospices (where terminally ill patients spend their last few days) in Australia and the U.S. as well as in kindergarten schools to calm aggressive children. But then, flute therapy can work in our normal lives as well. Says Tewani, popularly known as Mohanji, “Our mind is bombarded with millions of thoughts. We suffer from information overlaod. It is forever racing, fast and furious, and never restfull. We live in a world of fast cars and faster music. Flute and yoga work wonders to slow your mind.”

Mohanji goes on to talk about various states of our mind. For example, Tamas is when you are lethargic and your feelings and energy are suppressed. Rajas, on the other hand, is whne the mind is in fear, anxiety, anger and boredom. That is a state of mind when many take the help of sleeping pills and tranquilisers. In fact, in the U.S., tranquilizers sell more than any other drugs. “Today 90% of the diseases are a result of stress. We don’t get our eight hours of sleep and if we do, it’s disturbed,” he says, “leading to road rage, back aches and other psychometric ailments.”

Interestingly, flute therapy is the exact opposite of high energy aerobics with uptempo music and vigorous body moves. “Sometimes you need this kind of exercise to wake people out of their lethargy,” says Mohanji.

At the session, the deep slow hypnotic voice of Sri Mohanlal urged one to “take off your watches and glasses, free yourself from all bondages and loosen the calf muscles, temple muscles, shoulders, toes and fingers and enter a world of dark blue ocean.” The soft and lilting flute of Khechog played in the backdrop, sometimes barely audible, sometimes hitting a high note, mesmerizing everyone present. At the end of the 55 minute session, it didn’t come as a surprise that some actually fell asleep. Said Shefali Chaturvedi, Director, Manufacturing, CII, who was one of the participants “One session is not enough for me to turn me into a flute yogi, but one thing is certain – this is the best flute I have ever heard in my life!”

Encouraged by the responses, Budhiraja, the promoter, now plans to conduct such sessions more often, especially for corporate houses (where stress levels are high) as well as in schools. Even if it doesn’t heal, it has the power to clean your ego. Says Khechog, “Flute is hollow from inside. It has no ego and thus helps you clean your ego as well. Flute is also a very divine instrument in the Indian context played by Lord Krishna to woo women, animals and nature in Mathura and Vrindavan. You can experience tremendous bliss.”

We agree, especially coming as it does from someone who has been a monk for 11 years; trained by the Dalai Lama on Buddhist philosophy and meditation; and lived as a hermit in the Himalayan foothills for several years.

(The writer is the Managing Editor of Air India Magazine, the in-flight magazine of Air India’s domestic and international routes)

Recommended music for yoga: Tranquil Flute Compositions inspired by the Tibetan Dream Journey of Universal Compassion. A spacious and smoothing album perfect for meditation, bodywork, yoga, t’ai chi and deep relaxation.

Nishiraj A. Baruah

Former Executive Editor of Air India's in-flight magazine and Harper's Bazaar Bride. Lifestyle journalist, travel writer and blogger who collects knives and plays the drums.

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