A Sutra a Day: III-41 – Listening for a Finer Sound

Nov 21, 2012 | Philosophy, Wisdom, XSutras, xTmp, Yoga practices, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Yoga teaching  | 0 comments

As I’ve gotten older, my sense of hearing has paled a little. I do, however, compare myself to others my age and think, ‘I’m not as badly off as they are.’
Some people attempt to save their sense of vision from presbyopia (farsightedness) as they age by doing eye exercises. While I’ve never heard of ‘ear exercises’ – remedies to help correct the age-related hearing loss that’s called presbycusis – but probably someone somewhere has put together yoga poses that treat this condition.
I was surprised to learn that hearing difficulties affect over half of all people over 60 years old, making them the second most common cause of disability in older people.
Teaching yoga compassionately means speaking clearly and projecting one’s voice well. This is even more important for women teachers because their higher-pitched speech is harder for seniors to understand.
If you are an older person, or if you spend time with seniors, you might like to take a little look at this video to see how the inner ear works. With its tiny bones and cochlea, infinitesimal hair cells and sensitive nerves, the ear organ is the most amazing mechanism.
We release tension from the ears each time we do a yoga relaxation by first softening along the jaw line, then the hinges of the jaw, and finally relaxing the ear canal inward and forward towards the eyes.
The reward for complete relaxation of the sense of hearing is the silence of one’s own inner peace.

Srotrakasayoh sambandhasamyamaddivyam srotram

Samyama on the relationship between the sense of hearing and space develops an extraordinary sense of hearing.*
*Patanjali’s Yogasutras, translation and commentary by T.K.V. Desikachar.

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