What Is A Gong Bath
Simply put, a Gong Bath represents an ancient, multi-dimensional form of sound healing meditations that continue to be practiced today. Predating the Bronze Age, gongs have been used for meditation, healing, and communication purposes for nearly 6,000 years. As rightfully described by Gong Master Don Conreaux, the gong is known as an instrument of transformational power and translates to an engine of power releasing tone resonance and complex harmonics that are transferred to the recipient. It is considered a bath as you are bathed in vibrations from the instruments.
Today, Gong Baths may utilize one or several gongs, in addition to various other ancient and/or new age instruments. Journeyers who participate in these sacred sound healing meditations often receive experiences that oscillate between the intensely introspective and the extremely cosmic, often fusing into some combination of the two while helping you shed that which does not serve you. And thats just the beginning
On a production level, a Gong Bath works by participants laying down with their heads closest to the gongs, allowing the vibrations of the gongs to wash over them the crown to the root. This allows energy to be discharged from the fingers and toes. Participants are encouraged to lay in complete stillness to allow the vibrations the opportunity to move stagnant energies.
So What Is A Sound Bath Anyway
Do you go into a bath? Is there water? Weve heard it all. The term bath just means that your body is bathed in sound, or healing and relaxing frequencies, waves, or vibrations. Some people are able to meditate deeply during the sound bath. Others relax deeply in a quiet and present awareness that they are unable to find in daily life. Some people go into a trans-like state and see colors and visions. In the end, you leave feeling relaxed and energetically cleansed.
The Power Of Sound On The Body
Its long been understood that soothing sounds can be incredibly healing, according to Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Late-Life Mood, Stress and Wellness Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Thousands of years ago, people used chants for spiritual healing. Research has since shown that chanting has strong physiological effects: Studies show it may improve mood and cognition, boost anti-viral activity and more.
A study from 2016 found that people reported significantly less tension, anger, fatigue and depression after doing sound meditation with a Tibetan singing bowl. Feelings of spiritual well-being also increased, and the effects were most notable among people whod never tried sound therapy or singing bowls before.
Theres also evidence that the singing bowls can lower and heart rate. According to Lavretsky, this is because certain sounds activate the parasympathetic nervous system the part of the body that regulates rest which is what causes muscles to relax, breathing to slow, and blood pressure and heart rate to lower.
All of those sounds working together, the chimes, the gongs and bowls, essentially make it easier to meditate, to clear your mind and zen out.
The Five States Of Consciousness
Brain waves are electrical pulses which shoot through your brain and may control your emotional state and thoughts. The bandwidth of a brain wave will depend on your current mental state and how actively you are using your mind at that given time. To fully understand how this works, we must look at the five different brain wave bandwidths.
The Basics: What Is A Sound Bath
But having a primer on the history of sound therapy still doesn’t tell you what a sound bath is, which was exactly what I wanted to know before I attended my first session. Essentially, a sound bath is a meditation class that aims to guide you into a deep meditative state while you’re enveloped in ambient sound played by instructors, or sound therapists. Sometimes participants stay in a seated position on comfortable cushions during sessions, though some instructors ask attendees to lay on yoga mats.
In general, meditation is excellent for managing stress and improving your overall wellbeing. While it sounds easy enough, if youve ever actually tried to meditate, you know it can be very difficult. It’s hard enough to quiet the distractions in your physical environment, let alone the distractions in your own brain.
Personally, I find it very difficult to turn off my thoughts. I have quite a short attention span and am constantly checking my phone. I could easily spend 45 minutes on Instagram and look up from my phone without having learned anything. Its a mindless activity thats not restorative. If youre like me and have difficulty with meditation, you may find sound baths helpful.
The Healing Power Of Sound
Megan Monahan is a certified meditation instructor and has studied under Dr. Deepak Chopra. She is also the author of the book, Don’t Hate, Meditate.
Though sound baths may seem like a new age concept, the practice of healing bodies through sound is technically thousands of years old with deep roots in cultures across the world. This spiritual, cleansing music” varies according to place and culture, but it can be as simple as chanting an om following your yoga session or as complex as an hour-long experience in a dedicated space with a sound practitioner.
With expert guidance, weve outlined everything you need to know about what sound baths are, what benefits sound baths may provide to participants, and how you can experience one yourself.
#1: Heals Your Body By Reducing Stress And Anxiety
The sounds created by the particular instruments used during a sound bath are meant to activate the alpha and theta brain waves which are associated with deep meditative and peaceful states. When one is able to access these brain states it develops a more conducive space for healing the body, heart, and respiratory rate.
Additionally, new research has been done on the benefits of binaural beats, which is when two tones at slightly different frequencies are played together, and its effects on anxiety levels and mood states. One study by Padmanabhan, Hildreth, & Laws found that binaural beat audio has the potential to decrease acute pre-operative anxiety while another study by Le Scouarnec et al. discovered that listening to binaural beat tapes in the delta and theta range may be beneficial in reducing mild anxiety.
The Ancient Origins Of Sound Healing
Though many people have only recently heard of sound baths, the use of music for healing is nothing new. From Tibetan singing bowls to Aboriginal didgeridoos, music has been used for its therapeutic effects for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used sound vibration to aid in digestion, treat mental disturbance, and induce sleep, and even Aristotle’s De Anima detailed how flute music could purify the soul.
Then, at end of the 19th century, researchers began to focus on proving the correlation between sound and healing. These studies proved that music could lower blood pressure, decrease pulse rate and assists the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for digestion and some metabolic processes. This totally makes sense after all, I feel amazing when I listen to Beyoncé, and who doesn’t have a go-to song for decreasing their anxiety?
The History Of Sound Baths
In ancient eastern beliefs, there are seven studied energy centers in the body, called chakras , the Sanskrit word for “wheel.” The belief is that these energy centers run along the central meridian of the body, ruling different aspects of our well-being. When they get off-balance or blocked, the physical body is affected in the form of anxiety, depression, and illness. For a simplified example, if you have chronic stomach pain, your solar plexus chakra may be out-of-balance.
Sound frequencies have been studied for years, as music in all forms does fascinating things to the brain.
Many sound bath facilitators study frequencies, or Binaural Beats, aimed at opening up these energy centers to release blocked energy. For example, Jonathan Goldman, a musician and therapeutic sound expert, studies of how sound frequencies can be used for healing and opening our chakras.
And hes not the only one. Sound frequencies have been studied for years, as music in all forms does fascinating things to the brain. Scientists have even examined how sound healing can improve anxiety, depression, and overall mood. In one study, they analyzed sound therapy as integrative medicine and showed how different frequencies from a variety of instruments, such as traditional Tibetan singing bowls, large bowls made from quartz, bells, and flutes, calmed participants nervous systems.
May Reduce Pain Levels
In truth, theres nothing worse than suffering from any form of physical pain. Research published in the Nursing Journal suggests that sound therapy and traditional medical care can help to reduce pain levels.
To strengthen this idea, another enlightening study on this topic was published in the US National Library of Medicine. The research suggests that low-frequency sound vibrations could have a positive effect on those suffering from fibromyalgia, an illness that causes great pain. The participants in the study also reported less pain, improved moods, and more high quality sleep each night.
But First What Exactly Is A Sound Bathand What Happens Therapeutically During It
No two people will necessarily experience the same thingjust like with any other meditative practice. Generally speaking, though, using a combination of singing bowls, tuning forks, gongs and other overtone-emitting instruments, your alpha and theta brain waves are stimulated. And this is what can lead to those good-for-you benefits.
“These waves are associated with deep, meditative, and peaceful states that are highly conducive to healing,” Auster says. “As these sounds assist a downshift of the nervous system, they can also slow the heart and respiratory rate, creating therapeutic and restorative conditions for the mind and body.”
The potential benefits of a sound bath are also highly personalized, potentially including effects like lowered blood pressure and improved cognitive skills. Most people, Auster says, report a having a good night’s sleep post-bath, which leads to a more generalized sense of calm and groundedness. And some may feel disorientation after a sound bath, thanks to its effectiveness at putting people in a relaxed state. “People can feel a little spaced-out afterward,” Auster says. “Being in a deeply meditative state can sometimes make you so relaxed, you cant find your shoes.”
What’s generally universal about the effect of a sound bath, though, is that it’s relaxing. Thanks to that mind-set shift from an active state, to a more relaxed state, to even a dreamy state, sound baths are adept at putting those who practice at ease.
What To Expect At A Sound Bath Session
Once Hillstrom finished his introduction, the session began. I was immediately aware that, as each bowl was played, the sound seemed to orbit my head. I peeked from behind my eye mask and saw that the speed at which the sound seemed to be circling my head was tied to the speed at which the mallet was traveling around the rim of the bowl.
Initially, Hillstrom played notes that harmonized with one another. But as the session wore on, the paired notes were more dissonant. These skull-vibrating combinations almost felt like invisible hands massaging my brain kind of like using one of those metal scalp massagers. In other words: amazing.
Occasionally, the sounds of snoring interrupted the mix, but only briefly at the beginning of class, Hillstrom had asked us each to consent to a gentle nudge if we fired up the buzz saw.
At a few points during the session, I could see lights similar to the aurora borealis behind my eyelids. Ive experienced that before during meditation, but this seemed more vivid .
One downside: I soon realized that an hour of savasana is a lot more challenging that a few minutes of savasana at the end of a yoga class. My tailbone bore the brunt of the discomfort, and I spent several minutes shifting my pelvis this way and that before sliding my hands under my butt to relieve the pressure.
How To Experience A Sound Bath
Sound baths exist in brick and mortar locations across the country, and there are even pop up sound baths you can seek out that occur in parks, churches, and other communal spaces.
Yoga and meditation studios often host these events regularly and are a great place to start your search. Where you live affects how plentiful these opportunities are, but in general, it shouldnt be too difficult to attend one locally.
Resasco also highly recommends a 1:1 sound bath experience, especially if you have a specific injury that you want to target. She says, The different frequencies of sound healing instruments such as tuning forks and crystal singing bowls, affect different organs, emotions, illnesses, diseases, chakras and trauma. Having a sound therapy session personally tuned to your needs is a game changer.
You also have the option of purchasing sound healing instruments, or using your own voice, to create a sound bath at home. However, Resasco notes that you may find its easier to enjoy the experience if youre being guided by an expert.
For a happy medium, consider listening to a sound bath recording. Misterka offers several on his website and a number of sound bath apps also exist.
What Is A Sound Bath And Why Does It Matter We Explain All
Sept 17, 2019 / Gong
What is a sound bath? The method is a highly powerful type of therapy. As spiritual as it is cleansing, those undergoing this meditation feel renewed and energized in its wake. Most commonly using the traditional gong, the healing process harnesses micro-vibrations through sound to heal a person on a range of levels from the physical to mental. Lets take a look at the origins, benefits, and methods of this particular method.
#3: Helps Tune Out Your Thoughts And Tune In Your Meditation
The healing sounds and vibrations created by the various instruments helps give you something else to focus on other than your thoughts which enhances and improves your meditation. While there have been multiple scientific studies proving the healing benefits of meditation it can sometimes be very difficult for individuals to completely clear out their mind and concentrate. However, by having the added benefit of different sound frequencies surrounding you during your meditation you can clear out your thoughts and focus your mind on the sounds and vibrations, making it easier for you to clear and reset your mind.
How Sound Baths Help You Heal
Should you be in need of physical healing, a sound bath may be an option. In the same way that the vibrations may alter your brain waves, they can also encourage your body to heal itself. You may choose to try a sound bath, singing bowls, or alternative types of sound therapy when you need support in this area. Lets take a look at what the scientific evidence suggests in relation to this form of therapy and healing.
Gong Meditation / Sound Healing Etiquette And Information
I went to my first Sound Bath around 2009 at Inner Wisdom Yoga on South Blvd in Oak Park. The word was spreading around about these sound baths or gong baths . I didnt know much – just that the vibrations were relaxing and healing. I took two of my buddies . We each brought a pillow and a blanket and stepped into the unknown
Nowadays, sound baths are a bit more mainstream – theyre all over the place, and even integrated into regular classes. Kundalini Yoga uses gongs and/or bowls at the end of each class, and many of Ahimsas restorative or yin classes as well.
What It’s Like To Experience A Sound Bath
When I attended my first sound bath, I walked into an open room that had spots set up for attendees with blankets, pillows, and mats. It looked like a professional napping set-up, and I was instantly in heaven. We laid in savasana ,and I was so grateful that I had dressed for a nap rather than a buttoned-up board meeting.
The first 15 minutes were filled with breath work and I kept getting distracted by the performance of the instructors. Then I started focusing on the sounds, the environment, and my breathing, and something changed. By the last hour, I felt like I was asleep but was also fully aware of my surroundings. It was wild I believe that it was my first time experiencing a meditative state.
However, not every sound bath, nor every person’s experience, is the same. For example, while The Den conducts its sound baths in a dimly lit space, Inscape in NYC uses colored lighting to set the mood. Sara Austers Brooklyn-based sound bath, Scent and Sound, occurs on a city rooftop when the weather permits.
I felt refreshed and relaxed after the sound bath, like I had justexperienced a great massage.
Not all sound therapists use the same instruments, either. But they should all share the goal of leaving you feeling refreshed and relaxed. Take your time finding the right sound bath for you and treat it the same way you would find your favorite exercise class: through trial and error.
A 9 Day Advanced Retreat Style Teacher Training In Baja Mexico
Yandaras Sound Bath and Yoga Nidra Training is open to all levels and is an elective part of our Advanced Yoga Teacher Training Program. During these 9 days we will explore the sacred art of Sound Bath and the relaxation-based meditation technique, Yoga Nidra! You will learn what you need to create deeply meditative and rejuvenating sound baths and guided relaxations for yourself and your students. This program is well suited to dedicated yogis and teachers that are looking to add depth to their practice and enrich their classes. This retreat-style training will be nurturing for body, mind and heart. We will prioritize the cultivation of a calmer, more heart centered state of being through daily regenerative practices and activities.
What To Expect From A Sound Bath Session
What may you expect from meditation and gong sound bath classes? These classes can be undertaken on an individual or group level. While theres no single way to conduct a sound bath, many of the contemporary forms of this therapy include gongs. Your teacher will instruct you to lie comfortably on the floor before they begin the sound therapy session. You should close your eyes before the healing begins.
What Should I Expect In A Sound Bath Session
Not every sound bath looks the same; Nikolov says you’ll find that practitioners use different instruments in their sessions, and may prefer groups over an individualized session, or vice versa. There could be singing bowls, gongs, tuning forks, cymbals or other instruments producing “repetitive notes at different frequencies” to help you relax.
If you’re entering a session alone, Nikolov says most practitioners will place singing bowls around, or directly on, your body. “The vibrations will be moving through the body and its water composition, stimulating circulation which enhances muscle relaxation and improves lymphatic flow,” she adds. “The results have been described as a profound state of relaxation and feelings of bliss.”
Benefits Of Sound Therapy
A ton of research has been done about the benefits of sound baths, and there are countless reasons why many health experts swear by this technique. Here are several examples of those benefits:
- Provides a deep state of relaxation
- Reduces stress
- Relieves or lessens anxiety and depression
- Boosts immunity
- Can induce an altered state of consciousness
This workshop is for everyone, no meditation experience necessary.
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A note on Wellbeing – Creating a safe and sacred space
We wish to create a safe and sacred space to study, practice and grow for everyone. Please take care of your own health and wellbeing while participating in classes, workshops and, trainings offered by Delight Yoga. If you’re currently having any physical, emotional or mental issues, or prefer no hands-on adjustments, please make sure to discuss this with the teacher up front.
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Master Class: All About Sound Baths
Susy Schieffelin is about to raise your vibration
Sound baths may be one of many wellness trends to take over L.A. in the past decade, but the instruments used in these restorative sessions, like crystal singing bowls and gongs, have been used by Tibetans for healing purposes for thousands of years. So, how does it all work and why are sound baths so freaking great? We explored the topic with sound healer Susy Schieffelin.
May Help You Manage Pain
Perhaps one of the most surprising benefits of this form of therapy is that it could help to ease physical ailments. Should you be suffering from any form of physical pain, the practice may be worth your time. Sound therapy combined with traditional medicine can lower patients pain levels, according to one study published in the Nursing Journal.
Of course, before you undergo a sound bath, you should speak to a professional about what you hope to gain from the experience. These practices can prove highly intense and powerful, especially the first time you take part in them. Consider your aims and the aches that you hope to target throughout the bath before you get started.
Brain Waves And Your Mental State
Each of these bandwidths represents a state of consciousness in the human mind. Whenever your brain waves change in bandwidth , you will find that a different area of the mind is active. Using sound healing, we may be able to alter the phase of the mind using sounds and vibrations to their most genius effect.
When you choose to undertake meditation and gong sound bath classes, you will have the chance to manipulate the way in which your mind vibrates. This can help you to shift seamlessly from brain wave bandwidth to brain wave bandwidth. As this happens, you will notice remarkable transformations in your mood, mental state, and thought patterns. In essence, this means that you can take real control over your mind.
There is scientific research to suggest that you can change your brain waves and instantly rid yourself of negative emotions. For instance, one study from the Wiley Online Library suggests that sound healing can lower peoples levels of anxiety.
That is merely one example of how sound bath sessions and other forms of meditation can help people on a mental and emotional level. Of course, the unspeakable ability to change your mental state unlocks a wealth of benefits and could also help you heal over time.
Sound Bath: The Basics
The use of sound and vibrations within the healing sphere is nothing new. It is a practice that has existed in many eras past. There has also been a wealth of research and studies into the effects of this type of meditation and the way in which it works.
Before you determine whether sound healing is the right pathway for you, you may wish to learn more about the method. With that in mind, we will here take a look at the ancient meditation form, how it works, and any foundational research that underpins it. First of all, lets deal with the basics: What is a sound bath and why does it matter? Put simply, this is a healing practice that uses vibrations and sounds to allow a person to enter a meditative state. The practice has been used in a range of countries and cultures around the globe for a matter of centuries. However, it is only recently that we are starting to learn of its power and put it to use in the western world.