What Is A Sound Bath? Here’s All You Need To Know
I’d been wanting to try a sound bath for years, so I was super excited when I found out my local yoga studio offered an immersive one-hour session with a seasoned facilitator.
Westside Yoga in Seddon, Victoria, hosts monthly sound baths with master gong practitioner Mona Rujis. While the studio is currently undergoing a one-week makeover, stay tuned. The next sound bath will be on in March.
Healing Sound Therapy
A sound bath can be interpreted in many ways, but essentially it is healing and meditation through being ‘bathed’, i.e. immersed, in beautiful sound, vibrational waves, and frequencies: there’s no water involved.
Though the notion of a sound bath may be new to some, the use of sound for therapy has been used around the world since ancient times for all kinds of ailments. Recent studies show that music can lower blood pressure, help the nervous system, reduce stress, and aid digestion.
The sound in question can be made using gongs, quartz crystal bowls, Himalayan singing bowls and various other sound tools depending on the sound therapist and type of sound experience.
You can achieve an array of states on your sound journey to healing for body, mind and spirit through sound. People report deep relaxation, meditation, altered states of awareness, wild imaginations, self-discovery and more.
Where Can I Find One?
Sound baths are mainly held at yoga studios. The one I went to was at Westside Yoga: a studio I’d been going to almost every day for weeks. Each yoga class features its own spice depending on the teacher. Every day features something different, whether that be singing mantras, yin, meditation, intense vinyasa flow or something else.
Aside from practice, Westside Yoga offers teacher training, events, and much more. Since going to the studio, I felt like I’d grown, blossomed, got more grounded, fitter, and happier in a short space of time. So when I found out about the sound baths, I was keen to sign up. It cost $30 for members or $35 for non-members.
The host Mona Rujis is a highly-trained and experienced gong practitioner that facilitates sound baths, gong concerts and deep listening events. With her accolade of instruments from the East, Mona curates immersive experiences where people can explore ‘the listening body’, where the ear hears, the brain listens and the body senses vibrations. Find out more about Mona’s work on Instagram.
What Happens During a Sound Bath?
Walking into Westside Yoga for the sound bath, Mona greeted me and signed me in. While familiarly quiet, the studio looked vastly different: it was dusk and there was barely any light except some flickering candles. This was instantly relaxing and got me in an appropriate state of ‘yin’.
Yoga mats were already laid out for everyone – and we were packed in fairly tightly. Top tip: Get there at least 15 minutes early for a better chance of securing a bolster and blanket. Bring an eye pillow if you wish.
In the centre, Mona’s majestic instruments were laid out in a shrine-like fashion, surrounded by candles. There were singing bowls, crystal bowls, chimes, a shruti box, a rainstick, and a 36-inch symphonic gong – the largest, most imposing style of gong, standing mounted.
The Experience Itself
Once we were all in the room and settled, Mona gave us a briefing of what to expect and offered us a focus on the breath throughout the session. She explained that for some, the sound bath might be a great opportunity to clear the mind, rest, meditate and feel a sense of timelessness. Meanwhile, for others, it can stimulate the imagination, creative thought, rich imagery and insights. As Mona said, there’s no wrong way to experience it.
Soon, softly, and slowly, the sounds began, and energy flowed from gongs and bowls through each of us; I felt the deeper sounds and vibrations within my bones. It was less like a yoga class in the sense that the energy exchange was less between teacher and student directly. The instruments were the medium, and sound was the mode, there for us to interpret however served us.
The eerie, ethereal, higher-pitched sounds emitted by the symphonic gong moved me the most. I sneaked a peek at Mona’s technique – how was this magic being created? It seems the highest frequencies were coming from the outer annulus/periphery area (close to the outer edge).
My sound bath experience was one of quenching curiosity, and it was a pleasantly connecting one that I experienced with my partner by my side. Yours might be totally different – but you’ll never forget it and you’ll want to go again. It moved my partner too: at home that night, he was on his phone, looking up gongs on Marketplace.
Click here to book a sound bath at Westside Yoga.
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