We dive deep into the vibrations of sound healing
Balance is a ubiquitous term; yet seeking a sense of equilibrium can be one of life’s greatest trials and tribulations. One such way to unite light and dark or, as the yogis call it, effort and ease, is through sound healing.
It is no coincidence that Tibetan Sound Healing and Gong Aura held their sound-healing event during the autumn equinox. Equal parts day and night marks the start of autumn and this is a sacred time for seeking protection and undertaking healing practices. There’s a motivational cosmic force at play and you can harness its power to embark on change. It’s an opportunity to assess what you have welcomed into your life, as well as acknowledge what you are ready to let go of.
It’s a Friday night in North Bondi. I’m enveloped in the dream-like state of dusk as an ocean mist delicately kisses the air. On one side of the hill is the hustle and bustle of Sydney Harbour, while Bondi rests peacefully on the other. A hall on the top of this hill is where the sound healing session takes place.
I receive a natural linseed eye pillow on arrival in order to deepen the experience that’s to come. “The light pressure [over your closed eyes] will gently stimulate the vagus nerve. This nerve is the primary communicator to the brain to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the relaxation response,” explains Phoebe Joel, one half of the dream team for tonight. Joel is a leading international expert in Tibetan sound healing, and a yoga teacher who specialises in yin, restorative and therapeutic yoga, as well as yoga nidra and meditation.
A bowl, filled with water, is placed on my chest. Its location at my heart centre already feels intense. Then Joel taps the bowl and the reverberation ripples throughout every cell in my body. Energetically, I feel magnified, alive and alert. But this is met with a deep sense of ease and relaxation. It’s the ultimate pairing of opposing forces.
Gong expert Jaye Roberts is Joel’s partner in crime, who has been working in the healing world for more than three decades. The duo work together only once or twice a year, with some extra support tonight from Roberts’ husband Chris. We were encouraged to bring a yoga mat, blankets and a pillow, so “dropping in” to the experience is as effortless as possible. I scan the room, taking in the 20 faces of those whose energy I will be supporting. We may as well get acquainted, as they’ll be holding space for me, too. We start with some seated asanas: juicy cat/cows to awaken the spine, as well as gentle side bends and neck stretches to make space in the body.
We are guided to lie down and have one task: pure surrender. Four gongs, various Tibetan Singing Bowls and other healing instruments are played and moved around the room as we receive the energetic healing. At first, the gentle, nurturing hums of the bowls impart a soothing spell. Then the gongs begin and the vibrations shift into symphony territory. The sounds move as instruments are suspended over different energy centres of the body.
At one point a bowl, filled with water, is placed on my chest. Its location at my heart centre already feels intense. Then Joel taps the bowl and the reverberation ripples throughout every cell in my body. Anything within me that didn’t already feel awake is now on. Energetically, I feel magnified, alive and alert. But this is met with a deep sense of ease and relaxation. It’s the ultimate pairing of opposing forces.
After more than an hour of soaking in celestial sounds, we take a short rest and bask in the soothing sensations. Slowly, as if coming out of a deeper-than-normal savasana, we are instructed to find a comfortable seat for pranayama and meditation, also known as kriya. We sit, we breathe, we gently move and we hold space for each other. With every breath, we drop further into a state of equilibrium.
Then Joel performs shaktipat, an energetic transfer that deepens the state of bliss. Afterwards, Joel explains to me that everyone experiences this differently. Some people don’t sense anything at all, while others feel strong currents of energy, bright light visions or a more profound meditative state. When Joel performs the technique on me, I feel a strong connection of support. Although she isn’t physically touching me, I energetically feel held and nurtured as if I’m receiving a caring hug.
To end the session, Roberts takes us through a closing circle. We have made space physically, mentally and energetically to land in a newfound state of balance. We use mantras and mudras to tune in to the divine energy we all encompass, as well as connect to, the wider flow of the universe. It’s a union that’s felt not just individually, but as a group, too.
Any physical stress or tension, as well as my hyperactive monkey mind, had taken a hiatus. I knew they would return, but I was ready to welcome them with a new set of skills in my self-healing toolkit. On my own, these include new pranayama, meditation and asana techniques, but in a group it’s something more profound: a sense of connectedness, equilibrium, stability and ease that can only be facilitated with the help of others.
The following day after yoga practice, I dropped into one of the deepest meditations I have ever experienced. My worries had dissolved in the ocean at Bondi as I lay on my yoga mat in a state of complete receptiveness. My mind, body and spirit did not just hear the sounds; they were listening.
The writer was a guest of Tibetan Sound Healing and Gong Aur. Learn more about sound healing at tibetansoundhealing.com
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