By Ashley Singh and Meghan Hanley
Quarantine has me trying all types of new things. Until two weeks ago, I had no idea what a sound bath was, I just hoped it didn’t involve my actual bathtub. I mean, my tub is fine, but with two roommates it’s not quite the urban oasis you see on Pinterest. So when I found out a sound bath was a bath of sound, I was relieved and intrigued.
I’ll be honest ten years ago if you were to tell me I’d be starting my morning lying in bed, listening to a woman make sound out of metal objects, I would have thought you were crazy. Throw in, we are in the middle of a global pandemic and the woman is coming to you through your phone, and I probably would have hung up on you. But here we are. And there I was, having my first sound bath.
I’d like to say the experience took me to another dimension, but truth be told I had a tough time getting into this type of meditation. We were asked to set an intention, and I set mine as “peacefully productive,” as I woke up feeling anxious (which is always fun.) Throughout the bath, my mind was racing, wandering, analyzing and questioning. Finally, I said to myself, this isn’t for me, but I’m here, I have 25 minutes to go, so I might as well work on my breathing. And then suddenly, it was over!
I couldn’t believe it. Surrendering, giving in, led me to unconsciously let go. As I opened my eyes, I didn’t feel euphoric, but I did feel clarity. I sat up and thought, “Wow, peacefully productive.” It worked! Proving time and time again during this pandemic, that The Rolling Stones were right, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what we need.”
So Ashley, what is a sound bath anyway?
Maybe you’ve heard the term. Or perhaps you’ve even been invited to one. That strange, yet interesting definitely-sounds-like-witch-craft meditation event. It has a label. It has a mission. It has a name. Sound bath.Chimes and crystal bowls may not be your thing, however, the wellness community is proving vibrations of sound to be one of the most effective ways to heal anxiety disorders and chronic pain that, while not always outwardly spoken about, is often present in the hospitality industry.So, what is a sound bath anyway?The experience often combines meditation and breathwork, followed by a combination of vocal toning and a wide range of overtone emitting instruments which can include crystal singing bowls, drums, gong, tuning forks, shruti box, sansula, bells and chimes, all used intentionally to invite therapeutic and restorative effects. When the body is exhausted and fatigued from ten-hour shifts, and standing all day, it’s about using this practice to effectively relax an overactive nervous system and restore the body’s equilibrium.Sure, it sounds woo-woo. But science proves the benefits of sound therapy go far beyond relaxation and even helps reduce migraines and improve focus and mental clarity. Even trying it once can offer these benefits all the way through busy season. Having an open mind is key, and taking a few moments to tune into calming sounds around you, like the chirping of birds, or rustling of leaves, can cleanse you of any residue of stress and tension.