Understanding Sound Baths
Sound is Everywhere
The basic definition of sound is that it is an energy or vibration. We are immersed in sound, sound baths, all the time. If all environmental sounds were silenced, there would still be the symphony of sounds from your body, including your beating heart, digestive tract, and breathing.
Through our body and voice, we have our own sound, energy, and vibration. We are unique musical instruments, entraining and resonating with all the organic and inorganic energy and sounds around us.
Sound and Our Senses
Each of us has a unique connection with sound. We translate it based on ear anatomy, senses, life experiences, time of day, location, mood, etc. For example, consider for a moment how the sound of ocean waves makes you feel. For most, it is calming. However, if you consider the beach’s location, the time of year, and the weather patterns, those waves might not sound as relaxing.
Cymatics is the study of sound visually. Hans Jenny was the first to discover this phenomenon. He placed sand on a metal plate and ran a violin bow down the side of it, and the sand vibrated into a geometric shape.
Cymatics on water is fascinating to me. Masaru Emoto spent many years studying the effect of sound on water. In 2004, he wrote a New York Times Best Seller for his studies on geometric shapes created with water when using spoken words like love, hate, compassion, and anger. Considering that you are made up of about 80% water, ask yourself what kind of geometric shapes you would have vibrate through you.
We also feel sound. Imagine standing in front of a speaker at a concert and feeling the vibration coming from it. That pulsing sensation is sound. It permeates right through your skin and into every cell in your body.
Sound is not music
Music is a form of sound. Music is structured with melody and rhythm. We recognize that music affects our emotions. It can anger, calm, uplift, motivate, or comfort. Sound, as in a sound bath, has no composition. It limits the distraction of analysis. One of the reasons sound baths are relaxing is because you can listen without expectation.
It removes the anticipation of what should come next because there are no rules. Like a good wind chime, the sounds are calming, beautiful, and unstructured. You are not searching for a rhythm or melody when you listen to it.
Sound Bath Sounds
The most commonly used instruments in sound baths are singing bowls. Singing bowls have been around for thousands of years. Originally hand-crafted from copper, more modern metal bowls are made of bronze or mixed metal. In the 80s, bowls began being created from quartz crystal, remnants from silicon computer chips. Due to their strong, clear resonating sound, they have grown in popularity.
Other instruments may also be used. Examples include wind chimes, bells, gongs, tuning forks, and drums. Instruments are intuitively played, meaning no sound bath will sound the same. Each one is as unique as we are.
Participating in a Sound Bath
In a sound bath, you participate by listening. While lying on a towel, mat, or blanket in a comfortable position, you listen to the sounds produced by various instruments. If it is more comfortable for you to sit, that is also an option.
You are immersed, or bathed, in sound. The sound is now. By bringing your awareness to the sounds, you are practicing being in the moment.
With practice, this kind of deep listening allows your awareness to expand. As a result, your brain shifts from an awake, Beta state, to a meditative, Alpha state, or even a dreamlike, Theta state.
Your body begins to relax. Your heart rate slows and stress hormones decrease.
It has been said that if getting to a meditative state is like taking the stairs, sound baths are like using the elevator.
Sound therapist Sara Auster sums up the sound bath experience beautifully in her book, Sound Bath. She writes, ”A sound bath is a deeply immersive, full-body listening experience that intentionally uses sound to invite therapeutic and restorative effects to the mind and body.”
Join me for a Sound Bath
I am hosting group sound baths locally on Sundays in downtown La Grange, Texas. So that you know, anyone can attend. Come as you are. You will sometimes find me wearing jeans because I am comfortable in them. You don’t need to dress up – come to relax. All you need is a blanket, towel, or yoga mat to lie on.
Other items that are welcome but not mandatory include a towel or bolster to put under your knees while lying on your back, pillows, and eye masks. Sound baths are a welcoming and safe place to be curious and explore. Please join us. If you have questions, please reach out to me. I am happy to answer any question and intend to help you feel comfortable in this experience. Also, please feel free to reach out to me about business or private sessions.