A sound bath is NOT on the list of things I have done before. Honestly, it wasn’t even on the list of things I knew existed!
So, when I got the invitation in my inbox to join in on an online sound bath experience, I was intrigued.
And now I may be addicted.
What is a sound bath, exactly?…
Do you want your body to sing, all of the way down to your cells?
This is what a sound bath meditation feels like, and is claimed to do.
In a sound bath, which is sometimes referred to as sound healing or sound bath meditation, you enter some sort of meditative state while a practitioner/healer/singing bowl master uses meditative instruments to enhance and bring further benefits to this state.
What I’m saying is that you lie down and someone plays instruments around your body and you feel it – like going to a really loud concert, except way more relaxing and way less drunk people.
Sound bath benefits…
Why would anyone want to do that??
My online sound bath experience was facilitated by singing bowl master KOXNINAWA of INDIGOTOPIA who explains that sound healing benefits are from the vibrations he creates that activate and act upon certain parts of the body.
Circling the lip of each crystal bowl he uses in his practice creates a different frequency meant to work on a different place in your body an activate and clear a specific chakra.
KOXNINAWA explains that he begins in the root chakra and moves that sweet, sweet prana upward until he reaches your crown chakra, balancing your energy and leaving you a zen superstar.
In layman’s terms, the sound healing benefits come from vibrations from the bowls that completely relax you into a shapeless pile of goo…but in a good way.
This is one of those sweet spots where the medical meets the spiritual.
Where did sound baths come from?…
A succinct and interesting research article put together by Jill Ferguson for Sivana East details the known history of sound bath healing and traces the origins to Australian Aboriginal people some 40,000 years ago.
The most popular sound bath healing practices we see (and hear) today have roots in a later tradition.
According to the Underground Health Reporter, the metal singing bowl arose around 560 B.C. in Tibet where the sounds were likened to the sound of the Universe. But, again, this information is reliant on known history.
Many of the sound bowls seen in practice today, including those of singing bowl master KOXNINAWA, are made of quartz crystal.
These awe-inspiring vessels surely have ancient origins in a land of deep and powerful mysticism, right??
In an odd plot twist, crystal singing bowls were born from quartz byproducts of the fledgling computer industry in the 1980s, according to Sunreed Instruments.
While sound baths DO utilize singing and crystal bowls, they aren’t the only game in town.
Meditation instruments, beyond the bowls…
When trying to wrap my mind around what a sound bath meditation is, I found this video of Mike Nichols from Wanderlust that does an incredible job of explaining both the use of the sound bowls, but also a few other meditation instruments used.
I love this type of info-packed video and he crams a ton of valuable tidbits into under 6 minutes.
Besides metal and crystal bowls, there are a few other players he demonstrates.
The didgeridoo is a 4-foot long wind instrument that also hails from the Aboriginal people of Northern Australia.
My husband visited Australia for a month in college and flew home with a didgeridoo, which is a super-convenient item to fly with.
He said that out of the airplane window he watched the baggage handler take it off of the cart and pretend to use it like a giant bong.
That is what I think about every time I hear the word “didgeridoo,” and maybe you will now, too. You’re welcome.
He plays the didgeridoo in the video below (Mike Nichols, NOT my husband!) and you can hear for yourself the very low, soul vibrating tone it makes.
Mike Nichols also demonstrates another of the sound healing instruments, tingshas that look like 2 tiny cymbals on a string and have their beginnings in Tibetian Buddhist tradition.
This one is simple, you just hold the cord and tap one cymbal against the other.
I think even I could do that.
Tingshas produce a nice ringing sound, but it is higher pitched and works well for the end of meditation practice.
See these sound healing instruments in action below.
A meditation instrument that is new to me and is also used in sound healing is the tongue drum.
According to The House of Musical Traditions, the tongue drum comes to us from the ancient Aztec people.
I am finding it very interesting how so many cultures so widely spread in geography and time share so many similarities.
BUT ANYWAY, The tongue drum is generally tuned to a certain scale and is very chill-inducing, like you are in your own dream-sequence.
Give it a listen below.
Soooo…I just came across my favorite internet thing of the moment and it is the Gongs Unlimited Official YouTube Channel.
Up until I began this research, I had never seen anyone use a gong except on the Gong Show (obviously).
That was yesterday and already today I feel like:
- I need to own a gong.
- I need to be best friends with the people from Gongs Unlimited.
You must AT LEAST go and listen to the theme song entitled “We Got Gongs” they wrote for their channel page.
According to the Vienna Symphonic Library, the first mention of gong use in history was in 700 B.C. China.
While the singing bowls create a rejuvenating, releasing feeling for me, the gong, on the other hand, sounds like unadulterated, humbling power and induces complete surrender.
It is somehow both alarming AND comforting.
There are entire gong sound bath experiences that utilize no other meditation instruments, which I would love obviously.
Damn. I need to get a grip on my love-affair with gongs.
The next meditation instrument in our cast of sound bath characters is the Koshi Chimes.
My research turned up no history on Koshi Chimes. They remind me of wind chimes, but really high-quality, melodic ones minus the irritating clanging.
Last but not least, I present to you: tuning forks.
I am not going to lie, watching videos of tuning forks reminds me of the hearing test from grade school.
According to the Smithsonian Institute, the tuning fork was invented in 18th century Britain and the intent was to have a standard by which to tune musical instruments.
Because of their precise tuning to a specific frequency, when used as a sound healing instrument the vibration from each fork is thought to affect a specific part of the body or chakra.
You now have a visual of many of the things producing the music in a sound bath meditation, so let’s get to it!
*Learn how to use meditation music for a better night’s sleep here.
Meditation with singing bowls, how it works…
Obviously, sound baths are not traditionally meant to be experienced online.
I was curious about what a live sound bath experience may look like and I found this under 2-minute news story from CBS New York highlighting the practice and filming inside a studio during a session.
It reminds me of other forms of meditation with the eye pillows and savasana (corpse) pose.
In this example, it is done in a group, but I have also seen videos of solo experiences, as well.
At some point, I think I am going to have to try the live sound bath version, for sure, but for now, I am going to have to settle for experiencing it via the good ole’ world wide web.
*Be sure to try out this other super EASY type of meditation that is perfect for beginners: Calming Words: 45 Guided Meditations To Chill NOW.
The online version of meditation with singing bowls will be best experienced with headphones and in a place where you can completely zone out.
Enter my hammock.
Hammocks are my FAVORITE. If you can work one into this equation, you will not be sorry!
If not, any comfortable place to lie down will be just fine.
This particular experience is an hour-long sound bath meditation so don’t forget to put your phone on Do Not Disturb!
I’m going to be honest.
I didn’t have the highest of hopes for this “adventure,” especially considering it was done online and not in person.
Plus, I struggle to sit or lie still MOST of the time. I figured there was no way I was going to make it through this whole thing before my mind or body checked out.
I was pleasantly shocked.
Not only was I able to completely submit to this online sound bath meditation for the duration, but I also found it to be mind-blowing.
I was expecting the calming music, but I wasn’t expecting them to take me on this trippy odyssey of relaxation (the gong obsession should have been a clue).
Seriously, this shook me in a good way.
This type of sound bath healing meditation would be AHHMAZING for adding to a morning meditation routine.
Try this for yourself…
I can’t even imagine what this would be like in person with the vibrations traveling through your entire body, but it is now on my bucket list so I can find out.
Here is the online sound bath experience that I listened to and I hope you find it to be as mystical of a journey as I did!
The Soundbath with Aximal is part of the Creator Sessions hosted by ConvertKit.
If you like this format, find installments covering other topics here.
Want to take this further?…
I found an INCREDIBLE sound bath YouTube channel (sorry) that has nothing but soul rocking, online sound baths with variations such as Sleep Music for Anxiety and Hypertention, and my new favorite title, Moonlight Mind Massage.
You can also learn to do this yourself with many online sound bath training options, one of which being the Academy of Sound and Healing offering both free and premium courses.
We have learned what a sound bath meditation is and ALL about many of the sound healing instruments used in the practice.
Next, we investigated what an in-person experience could look like and explored some online videos to try meditation with singing bowls.
Finally, we looked at a few programs and classes for sound bath training that could bring sound bath healing into our own wheelhouse.
Now that I’ve found you, I’m not done with you, sound bath meditation…not even close.
More on this to come, for sure.
If you haven’t already downloaded your virtual sound bath flow chart, download that below. ↓
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