Nada, Naada, or Nāda yoga? Which is correct and what does it mean?

nada yoga Nov 16, 2022

Wondering how to spell Nāda yoga correctly? Or what it means?

Naad yoga training starts with understanding the meaning of the term (because it's easier to explain than the spelling!)

Whether you spell it Nada Yoga, Naada Yoga, or Nāda Yoga... or Nad Yog, Nād Yog, nAd, etc.

Nāda = vibration, sound, musical sound

Yoga = union, communion

When we use the term "nada yoga" we're talking about union through sound, a meditation on vibration, or communion through music and/or mantra.

Now for the many variations in spelling:

To learn why there are different spellings, first you need to understand that it's a Sanskrit term, and the Sanskrit alphabet has 50 letters (while Roman English alphabet has 26).

Nāda yoga is the spelling when using a transliteration system called IAST.
(Transliteration is a way to get the sounds of one alphabet to fit into a different alphabet - in this case we use marks to get the 50 Sanskrit letters to fit into the 26 English alphabet.)

The first syllable has a longer vowel sound than the second, and that's indicated in this transliteraton system by a horizontal line over the ā.

Naada yoga is the spelling when you're trying to get people to pronounce the longer first syllable vowel but don't want to use the IAST marks or can't.

Some fonts get funky looking and glitchy in some browsers when you add the marks, which is why we have left it out in our Sound Training Courses page, but not on our Nada Yoga Online Course description. Or look at the title of this blog post and see how it distorts the ā in Nāda yoga! Many websites and typesetting programs get glitchy like this with transliteration, so we sometimes adapt and prioritize visuals over transliteration accuracy.

NOTE: If you're learning Sanskrit mantra, you *MUST* get resources that are properly transliterated, or you'll end up learning your mantras without accuracy and you'll be sending out haphazard vibrations into the atmosphere! Yikes! Check out my free Mantra Yoga ebook in the Gifts section for more on this. (Of course all of our Mantra and Nada Yoga training materials are properly transliterated!)

Nada yoga is the spelling when you're kinda lazy. LOL! Or when you want to spell it in the most "common" or accessible spelling and hope people will say it right.

nAda yoga is the spelling when you're using a different Sanskrit transliteration system. I've never been to fond of it, myself, because I don't think it looks very elegant.

Nad yoga (or Nād yoga) is the spelling when pronouncing the Hindī version of the Sanskrit word. Hindī and Sanskrit use the same alphabet, but the pronunciation rules are different. In Hindī, you don't pronounce the "a" that's inherent in the Sanskrit letter when it's at the end of a word. You'll also hear Hindī speakers refer to it as Nad Yog, or Nād Yog, for the same reasons. (That's also the same reason why the famous Hindu figure Rāma is called Rām by many Hindī speakers, for instance.)

NOTE: The capital letters on Nāda Yoga are not required; I just use them sometimes when starting a sentence with that word (obviously!) or when I want to draw attention to the term in a formal way.

Hope that satisfies your nerdy nada yoga soul! :)

These sorts of queries plagued my mind and confused the heck out of me for years... until I went back to India, learned the Sanskrit script of Devanāgarī, and studied Indian classical music with a master teacher in Delhi in 2009.

Since then I feel like I've heard it all, seen it all! It's my pleasure to distill that (often painful and tedious) learning for you, so you can just get to the heart of the sound and enjoy your communion through vibration, whether your pleasure is mantra, or music, or both!

We'd be happy to have you join us in our Nada Yoga Training Course Online or a free chant experience soon!




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