Yoga, sound baths and healing
“Sound forms one of the deepest links between our mind and body. Our world is our mind and our mind is nothing but sound. To change our world, is to change our inner and outer sounds. “ Nitya Mohan
It seems as though sound baths or gong baths are the new way to unwind and destress from the demands of daily life. Think along the lines of ancient vibrational instruments such as gongs, crystal bowls and drums, or something equally as soothing like the cello and even voice.
Our lives are becoming more involved with social media or online exchanges and we seem to have very little time for ourselves to completely relax and find space from our busy schedules. More people find themselves working on the road, in co-working spaces or in busy office environments and there is a constant work-life pressure.
Up until recently perhaps you would have considered booking yourself a facial or massage to help you to relax, but there is a new trend of therapeutic/alternative remedies grabbing our attention. Now you can find yourself invited to gong or sound baths via facebook which are taking place in village halls through to city gyms.
This popular approach to self-care is lifting off to new heights.
I practice with sound in yoga and have experienced gong baths. The two provide different experiences but are equally uplifting, opening and deeply experiential working with sounds in order to heal, open and relax. I’d like to share with you some further insights around sound baths, their intentions and why you may wish to consider attending one yourself.
What is a sound bath?
Sound baths are all about enveloping you within vibrational sounds which have a heartfelt resonance. The noises that are created in a sound bath stem from the sound waves of crystal bowls, gongs, drums, singing bowls and other musical instruments such as the cello or human voice.
This ancient concept is over 2000 years old with origins in Tibetan culture and has continued its journey through to the modern day as a form of relaxation and healing in the West
“..Every sound is vibration and vibration touches every cell in our body, every sound that has loving intention is a healing sound … therefore we not only hear sound, we feel it physically, emotionally and soulfully.” Anne Malone
What happens during a sound bath?
Sound baths tend to take place in a room with several other people, although you could also be working therapeutically in a 121 situation. The session is led by a gong-master, sound-bath specialist or sound healer who guides you through a personal soundscape journey. You will be asked to lie down in a way that is comfortable for you, or sit onto a chair if that is more appropriate. So long as you are comfortable and warm you’ll be more likely to be able to relax and find stillness in your body. There will be a short introduction to the sound bath before the specialist then starts playing vibrational instruments. These instruments will vary in sound, tone, vibration and resonance as they move around the room, swaying their instruments and beating their drum sticks in order to evoke further volume or frequency.
Sometimes they may get quite close to you, and at other times they will be further away. Sound healer and musician (who is also my much teacher) Pauline Briscoe explains she isn’t always clear as to what may happen during a sound bath because she will find herself in a meditative state and respond to what arises from a vibrational point of view. Therefore each sound-bath is unique and the session leader responds to the energy in the room.
What are the lasting effects of attending a sound bath?
The ultimate aim of a sound bath is about creating sound that helps you arrive in a state of peacefulness. They can move you into a deeper form of relaxation which will undo the stresses and strains in your body that are both physical and emotional. Many people will often come away from a sound bath feeling a greater sense of calm and may have the best night’s sleep they’ve had in a long time. On top of this profound insights and levels of self-inquiry can arise. In my own experience of sound-baths I have felt extremely clear in my mind, rejuvenated physically and inspired.
They are unique opportunities for you to relax and re-connect to your subtle rhythms.
Do look into what to expect before you embark on a sound healing journey. If there is anything you are struggling with emotionally you may wish to talk to your session leader before the practice begins as they can then tailor the sounds in a positive way to help. If you’d like to read more about sound-healing this is a beautiful article with Anne Malone, whose approach to sound, healing and yoga is inspired.
If you like the ‘sound’ of a sound bath and enjoy yoga, why not try my upcoming Yoga and Sound Rejuvenator event taking place on the 25th January in my home village? I will be offering an hour of yoga with accessible, breath-focussed movement which will help to release any unnecessary tension, build focus, and lead us towards a state of relaxation in order for us lie and become bathed by a soothing soundscape by Pauline. The session will close with a short meditation and there will be time for you to share your experiences at the end. This is a wonderful way to enhance your experience of yoga and to rejuvenate yourselves during the winter season.
When? 25th January 2020
Where? Magdelene Centre, Broadbottom
Cost? Pay what you can: bring a cash donation on the night £5/£10 or £15.
What you need to bring:
Wear comfortable, warm clothing and please provide yourself with a pillow and a blanket.
Yoga mats and light refreshments will be provided.
Contact Helen to confirm your place.