Updated: May 26
The more I learn about sound the deeper the connection becomes. Not only for me, but for my clients. I look forward to seeing the calm softening of a person's spirit alter after a Soundbath.
When I get a chance to hear about a client's sound experience, another connection is made. The colours they might see, the physical sensations they experience, and the emotions that are given space.
The more I study sound, the more I see the links between yoga and sound. The same teachings are mirrored in each practice.
So I thought I'd dive a little deeper and share some of the inspiration that I'm drawing upon and transferring into the spaces I'm bringing to my community.
One of the 8 limbs of yoga is Dhyana(7th limb), the root of meditation, Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind. In using a mantra or a focal point such as a candle or the breath, you are bringing the awareness within as in the practice of pratyahara, or the fifth branch of yoga.
I thought of the ease with which we can meditate when we practice with sound, it is like a fast root to a meditative state, for those of us with very loud thoughts sound can cradle our struggling minds and offer support and peace. Once we learn to focus, our brainwaves synchronise during a sound healing, it encourages a profound state of calm, freedom from our thoughts and a deeper knowing of the self…
The Koshas are a fundamental framework taught in the yoga tradition. As part of our Greek retreat offerings, I am bringing the teachings of yoga and sound together in our Realign Retreat.
During sound healing, we journey through every single Kosha.
Let me summarise:
Annamaya Kosha, the body… The physical body we have been given for this lifetime, our relationship with it, and how we can bring ease to the physical body. To move with more freedom and space.
When we choose to let go in sound healing, physical tension can be held in the body, through physical action(eg: a sports injury) or mental tension(trauma held in the memory of our tissues, and anxiety creating tension). Can be soothed, and alleviated through sound. Firstly through vibrational cellular healing. Everything is movement/energy and when we work with sound the body has a chance to reset, tension is literally vibrated out of the body, you might experience this as a heavy body, or feel the injury, pain, or trauma leaving the body as tingle, long drawing out sensation or a soft release.
Pranamaya Kosha, the energetic body. Imagine your body as a huge set of paths, highways, and winding roads. If we live in a stagnant way, don't move, breathe deeply and block emotions, we will feel stuck, possibly with physical ailments or depression. Prana is at the core of a yoga practice, we utilise the breath, and movement to shift stuck energy. Sound utilises this in a similar way. vibrational healing shifts stuck energy, reveals emotions that have been stuck and clears stagnation so we can turn a page and start a fresh.
Of course, we can resist healing, when we do we might find a soundbath painful, hard, or annoying or the if the mind is very present it will block the process, talking us out of letting go. This can hopefully be avoided if you find a practitioner that makes you feel safe and seen.
This can be thought of in yoga as prana, the breath but also the energy running through the thousand channels, or Nadis. In sound healing, there is also a lot of external energy work taking place, balancing the biofield or aura.
prana is then said to be subdivided into various forms called the vayus. They are: prana, apana, samana, udana and vyana. But I'll go into this in another post.
By balancing our energetic field, internally and externally we bring a greater sense of ease and balance over the whole body.
Think of it as a course of roads running around the body, and energy can get stuck, internally or externally, this might manifest as emotional or physical.
During sound healing, especially when certain instruments are asking us to let go and release(the drum, the gong) we feel a dramatic shift in energy, tears might be shed, and you might feel anger leaving your body or warmth and glow in the heart. There's also strong research on the acceleration of healing cells and injuries through the vibrational and energetic healing of sound.
I still find it amazing that conversations about energy are somewhat viewed as ‘out there’ and ‘woo woo’, even though more and more research, especially in the field of quantum physics is proving that energy governs so much. How our energy levels can be felt by others and also how we feel within ourselves… I often think about a long day in front of my laptop, trying to process my to-do list, versus a long walk in the woods, possibly lunch outside, and seeing a good friend.
Of course, that is a work day vs a day off, but still, the energy around these activities is palpable…
Entertain me for a moment, allow your mind to drift: scan through your life and see a situation where you have felt the presence of strong energy near you, a person who is agitated or just heavy. Or maybe, you've been working with someone who is negative about others, complains, or is pessimistic, I would offer that you feel this... On the flip side, you're greeted by someone full of love for you and a deep connection, when you leave their presence you feel warm, light, full.
If you think of your body as an orchestra, your various body parts are all musical instruments playing at their own frequency or pitch. If you are healthy, your body will play a harmonious tune. If your body parts are discordant, you can use certain tuning forks to bring your body into alignment. When the right tuning fork is put near the organ or the chakra that is not in harmony, the sound waves will raise the vibration or pitch of that area. Tuning forks clear energetic blockages in the meridians in a similar way to acupuncture.
Manomaya Kosha & Vignanamaya kosha, thoughts and reflections, feelings and emotions
It can be so hard when we get stuck in a brain loop or neural pathway, that is hard to change, especially when it has a negative impact on our mental health. For me, a weak spot in my brain wiring is fear, a sense of lack and worry… the path is so familiar yet takes a lot of yoga and sound to turn it around. These thoughts are heavy, they are lacking, I feel the weight in my heart and in my mind. It blocks me from creativity and joy, wonder and power. With sound, especially the crystal bowls, we regulate our brainwaves, using the entrainment of sound to build new neural pathways.
In the Bronze Age, people used ceremonial chambers that were acoustically tuned to particular brainwave frequencies in order to induce an altered state. Ancient Greeks built spinning wheels that allowed sunlight to flicker through them in a specific way.
Modern brainwave entrainment prompts the brain to access a particular state through a variety of different stimulation modes, including pulsing sounds, lights, or electromagnetic fields. Essentially, the stimulation convinces the brain’s activity to synchronize to the external stimulation. The stimulation can be low-power to bias the brain activity or higher energy which can activate brain cells directly.
Most people experience brainwave entrainment as producing a trance, enhanced concentration, relaxation, meditation, or sleepiness.
Our creativity is fired, and feelings of love and hope are awoken. Sometimes, it feels like you’ve hit the reset button, for an hour we are free from the limited beliefs or thoughts we place on ourselves, we let ourselves dream and find new magic ways of thinking.
I’ve had a few incredible experiences during sound healing, once profound moment was a clear image of my sitting in a cross-legged sea on a cliff, I tilted my head back and a stream of anger and sadness left through my mouth… this was such a strong image, I felt the emotion leave but did not feel the emotion itself. I also have a truly empowering time when seeing myself as a Viking riding through stormy seas and bellowing at the top of my lungs… In reality, I was lacking confidence and courage, my Viking self sent such an empowering message to me that day.
The final ing of the Koshas is Joy, you can think of this as being connected to the divine, but it's really about trying to find joy through freedom. The point of the koshas is to also witness our journey, we have to move through all the realms of the koshas in order to find joy, we can just reside in the body and then skip forwards to Vijnanamaya-kosha, the final outer ring connected to the cosmos and space.
I keep on finding all these teachings have links, and layers and layers of wisdom to be shared. I have a life time of learning to do, but surely, that's the point isn't it.
I do hope to see you in the space soon, for all events and bookings check the website. You won't regret it, come take a journey through the body, spirit and soul.