“There are so many ways in which we re-harmonize our being: the asana, the breath, and the vibration,” says Carolyn Little, a yoga teacher who uses traditional chanting, the harmonium, singing bowls, and cello in her classes.
Her quote comes to mind as I uncurl my yoga mat and take my spot in front of the class. My mat is an observatory where I notice physical and emotional energy. These insights ground me, prompt me to shift… Transformation isn’t limited to breath-work and movement. Increasingly, yoga studios from coast to coast are making sound vibration part of practice for health and renewal.
“I open and close every class with an invocation.” says Shankari founder and Master Teacher at Ananda Shanti Studio. “Every chant invokes specific energies within ones self and allows us to let go of what no longer serves.”
Sound Healing uses a mix of singing bowls tuned to different Chakras, gongs, chimes, drums, ektars, tuning forks, and even didgeridoos. The student immerses into deep vibrations, which provide a profound meditative experience.
There is a science to sound. Ancient cultures used sound to counter disease and bring the body and mind back into harmony. The Aboriginal people of Australia used vibrations to heal broken bones. The Egyptians created sound chambers for healing ceremonies. And the ancient Greeks built temples and played music to enhance “dream sleep”. The Ancients thought healing practices were magical, but current research proves that the Aboriginals, Egyptians and Greeks possessed ageless wisdom; they understood how to heal.
Research at the University College, London Hospitals NHS Foundation in the UK discovered that sound waves cure prostate cancer in 90% of their male patients. Other studies show that sound and vibration heal the nervous system, decrease stress, lower heart rate, reduce pain, migraines, and anxiety; sounds can even help with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ms. Little adds, “The cello is the instrument that vibrates closes to human vibration and it penetrates your being. The wave patterns are measurable and equivalent to brain pattern alpha waves. They instill deep relaxation and allow for inner peace.”
Luis Melo and Henrique Oliveira are mathematicians at the University of Lisbon physics department; they discovered Synchronized Swing. They studied grandfather clocks and the rhythm of their pendulums, which start out independently, but converge into simultaneous movement – they can communicate through vibration, adjust their rhythms, and then beat as one. Luis and Henrique write, “We could verify that the energy transfer is through a sound pulse.”
Vishuddha, the fifth Chakra, is located at the throat…
The name means ‘purify’ because sound is one of the ways we may cleanse the body. This powerful chakra enables us to lift and connect the energy around each of us through vibration. Music carries us inward, melts away the ego and disrupts illusions that prevent us from seeing ourselves in the world. My practice allows me to witness from my yoga mat. The class chants newfound clarity. The music within each of us enables a stunning unison, and together we harmonize.
If you would like to experience a Sound Healing class, check out the upcoming programming at these Greater Boston area studios:
August 16th 630 PM at The Elise Lindsay Center in Gardner
Full Moon Sound Healing Journey
August 19th 6:30 PM at Treetop Yoga Studio in Gloucester
Monthly Kirtan Practice and monthly Chrystal Chakra Bowls with Shankari
Friday August 19th 7PM at Ananda Shanti Yoga in Manchester By The Sea
Chakra Balancing Fusion with Singing Bowls with Marylee Fairbanks
Friday September 23 7 PM at A Yoga Practice in Georgetown
October 21st 7:30 PM at Yoga Sakti in Salem
OM Holy Night Winter Solstice Celebration with Heather Smist & Hannah Christianson
December 17th 5 PM & December 21st 6:30 PM at Chakra Power Yoga in Braintree and Waltham
ABT Yoga in Topsfield offers yoga with sound healing three times a year. Visit their website for upcoming dates.