Last weekend my girlfriend and I drove up to West Seattle to attend a Sound Bath.
I had been wanting to go to one for over a year and I was excited I finally found one that was on a day I could attend; I was even more excited when my girlfriend, Joelle, had the day off to come with me! The first 90 minutes we did a restorative practice with lots of props, followed by a 20+ minute Savasana. The sound artist played the entire time and added in vocal toning during Savasana. I would definitely attend another!
What is a Sound Bath?
As you can see from the picture, the artist used 6 different crystal singing bowls and a large Sol gong. Each of the bowls play a slightly different sound. I’m not at all musically inclined, so I won’t pretend to know what I’m talking about in regards to pitch, harmony, etc. The woman who played the bowls for us did explain that sometimes she will play them in harmony and sometimes they will be dissonant.
The idea behind the sound bath is that the sound from the bowls will help ease you into a meditative state and aid in the release of pent-up thoughts/feelings/emotions. I could feel the energy immediately as soon as she started playing. Strong feelings of release, happiness, sadness, or aggravation are all normal emotions that may arise during a sound bath. (If you’d like to read more about Sound Healing, go here.)
The other thing I found interesting is that during a Sound Bath you leave your normal waking brain waves of Beta to enter the deeper waves of Alpha and Theta. During our normal waking hours, say, as you are reading this, your brain is emitting Beta waves. But, the sound from the bowls helps to entrain the brain to move into the deeper Alpha and Theta brain wave frequencies. These are the frequencies associated with meditative/peaceful states, and the first stage of sleep is associated with Theta waves. If you are a frequent meditator, most likely you have entered into the Alpha state while awake, and some of you, the Theta state. Once you have been in these states while awake several times, it becomes quite easy to identify when you re-enter them during meditation. For example, most times when I’m meditating I do not reach the Theta state, but easily slip into Alpha. During my float, however, I did enter Theta. These states are not completely unreachable while awake, but do require practice. However, with the Sound Bath, it is very easy to drop down into the Alpha and Theta states without much effort.
What are Singing Bowls?
There are many, many different types of singing bowls, but the owes shown are made of crystal. The small one I have on my altar is made of metal. Go here to read a bit more about Tibetan Singing Bowls. Each one will have a slightly different sound and some are specifically made to align with each individual chakra. In that instance the sound resonates with the specific chakra to help balance and harmonize the energy center.
As I mentioned earlier, as soon as she started playing I could feel the energy of the bowls. Once we got into our first pose and the shuffle of students stopped I felt extremely relaxed and peaceful. I did not feel any type of aggravation as she warned may happen, and that is fine with me. After we chanted our final “Aum” at the end of practice I felt extremely peaceful, much like I did when I finished my first float or any time I sit and have a deeper meditation practice.
If you are at all curious about Sound Healing or a Sound Bath I would encourage you to check it out! They are not expensive – this one was $25 early bird/$35 day of – and are a great introduction to the world of sound healing and singing bowls.
Questions? Comments? Please don’t hesitate!