Have you ever tried to meditate? I’ve been trying to, and despite my best efforts to zero in on my breath, everything else seems to come up instead. I draft emails in my head, remember texts I need to send, plan appointments I need to schedule. It’s a common challenge, and if you’ve experienced it too then you may be interested in today’s Wellness Report. We’re exploring the world of sound baths, and who better to try this auditory wellness practice than the team’s own songstress, Chanel.
Sound has been used for healing and therapy across many cultures throughout history, from the Tibetan Buddhist monks who’ve used gongs and chanting in the path to enlightenment, to Pythagoras who prescribed music as medicine. Today sound baths are used for a wide variety of benefits, like reaching a deeper state of meditation, decreasing anxiety, lowering blood pressure and improving physical aches and pains.
I spoke with Austin’s own Singing Bowl Lady, Sandee Conroy, to learn what she loves so much about this wellness practice. There are different ways to experience sound baths, from gongs, to drums, to chanting, and Sandee’s method of choice is the crystal quartz bowl, “I love them,” she says, “and I feel like what I do is provide a space for people to each have their own unique experience through them.”
Over the years, one of the main comments she’s gotten from people is that “they felt the vibrations in a certain place – in their knee, in their hip, in their elbow – and it happened to be an area where they were having problems. I think it’s interesting that the bowls seem to find the area that needs to come into harmony. Parts of the body can be in a disharmony, and the bowls bring them into a harmony.”
As a singer, Chanel was excited to see how they would resonate with her, “I’ve been a singer my whole life so I thought I might connect to this more as a practice. I definitely consider hearing to be one of my strengths, when I hear something one time I tend to remember it, when I hear a song I can sing it back to you, so I’m interested to see how this affects my sound bath experience.”
Watch to see how Chanel’s first singing bowl session at Austin’s Meditation Bar went.
I chatted with Chanel afterwards and she said “From the beginning I was very preoccupied with what the sound was doing, I kept listening for patterns and where it was going around the room and inside my body.” It’s common to try to analyze the sound, but a part of the release of this practice is not knowing what’s going to happen next, and not being in control.
She also noticed the ways certain parts her body reacted to the vibrations, “my left knee was twitching, which is interesting because that’s a problem area for me.“
Immediately afterwards, Chanel reported feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, “It felt like getting 8 hours of sleep in just 1 hour. When I got up I felt like I needed to stretch for an hour because I was so well rested.”
Whether you believe in the health benefits or not, I can imagine new mothers, sleepless students, and busy professionals could all benefit from the feeling of a full 8 hours of sleep.
Weigh in below! If you’ve tried a sound bath, what effects did you experience? And if you haven’t, is it something you’d consider?