Stress is palpable these days, and it may seem like it will never ease up. We take on more, worry more, and often live in a state of constant stress and anxiety. Our inner peace is constantly being disrupted to the point of illness. While we know meditation can help us cope, many of us find it difficult to slow down or still our minds long enough to relax. Perhaps, then, now is the time to consider a sound bath.
If you’re not familiar with sound baths, don’t worry. Also called singing bowl meditation, a sound bath doesn’t require you to be immersed in water at all—instead you will be set peacefully adrift in a sea of sound waves.
What Is a Sound Bath?
A sound bath is a unique relaxation technique used during a meditation session. Sound waves produced by instruments such as singing bowls, chimes, or gongs, along with a person’s voice, fill the air around you, drawing in your focus. Thoughts scatter or fade as the sound waves envelop your body and draw your mind’s attention into active listening.
Repetitive notes are played in succession at various frequencies. As a result, you will be able to turn away from your rampant thoughts and toward a state of mindfulness. You may reach a relaxed meditative state or even go further, falling into a deep sleep.
Sound therapy, such as this, is not a new practice. Its holistic effects have been recognized and used since ancient times by many different cultures. For instance, the ancient Greeks often used sound waves to assist with digestion, ease the mind, and facilitate a good night’s sleep.
Benefits of Sound Baths
The benefits of immersing yourself in a sound bath are much like those of traditional meditation, but with the added element of deliberate sound waves. These carry with them healing therapy for both the mind and the body. There are many benefits of sound baths, including:
- Reducing anxiety and stress by activating both your alpha and theta brain waves, which can lead to a deep meditative and peaceful state
- Stimulating the nervous and circulatory systems, which helps to lower blood pressure and decrease pulse rate
- Restoring the respiratory system
- Cleansing the body’s energy meridians
- Gaining a sense of inner peace
- Resetting and recharging the body and mind
Using Sound in a Group Setting
A group setting is an ideal place to add sound waves to reach a meditative state as it provides a safe space for all to rest and relax. Participants lie in Savasana (corpse pose) or maintain a comfortable, seated position that can be supported by props. Blankets and eye masks are often used as well. It’s up to each participant to choose the restorative pose that works best for their body.
Focusing on your breathing, you follow the voice of your guide, which will give way to varying sounds and frequencies from the instruments being used. You will feel the sound’s vibration as it flows throughout your body.
Depending on the location, your guide and instruments may be positioned at the front of the room or in the center of the group. The number of instruments may vary as well, depending upon their availability. These can include chimes, crystal singing bowls, Himalayan singing bowls, and tuning forks.
Is Sound Bath Meditation Right for You?
Sound bath meditation is good for beginners who wish to reach a relaxed state as well as experienced practitioners who aim to reach a deeper meditative state. Overall, it offers a powerful therapeutic effect on the body as well as the mind, at whatever stage you are at in your meditation practice.
If you find that meditating on your own is not working, and group guided meditations only work slightly better, then sound baths may be what you need. By focusing on the sounds around you and feeling the sound waves that flow over and through your body, you will receive the beneficial effects whether you realize it or not.
You don’t need to know anything about the instruments being used. All you need is a willingness to stay open to the possibilities and the desire to reach a relaxing state. This includes a desire to alleviate stress, anxiety, or even pain.
As we strive toward more mindfulness these days, sound baths can contribute by bringing us to a more relaxed state of being. This relaxed state, in turn, can have a profound positive impact on our physical health as well.
The use of sound baths in group meditation sessions are growing increasingly more common these days. If you don’t see these available in your area, try reaching out to others to find a way to bring them in. Attend regular sessions if at all possible and feel the weight being lifted off your shoulders.