As Radiant Yoga Marbella continues with a series of sound bath gong meditation sessions with seasoned practitioner Christine Heckel, we explore the irrepressible benefits for the mind, body and soul of immersion in a cacophony of transformational sound waves. Blog: Louise Cook Edwards.
If you ever have difficulty stilling the mind in meditation or struggle to feel really relaxed, then trying a little sound bath immersion therapy could be just what you need. It is claimed that the gong is the sound of creativity itself and to benefit from its magic, all you need to do is lie down, relax and let the sound waves wash over you.
You could say that the power of sound therapy is pure physics as the sounds of the gong create vibrations that resonate through our cells. As our bodies are comprised of 70-80 per cent water, each and every cell can’t help but be affected. The sound of the gong creates deep relaxation, freeing us from the flood of thoughts our mind releases, while stimulating the glandular system to a higher level of functioning.
Clearing Emotional Blockages
During the gong meditation emotional transformation is produced as the sound therapy reduces tension, releases blocks and stimulates circulation. The result is a reorganization of the emotional energy and feelings that are tied into the body structure. The gong jolts us out of feelings that are blocked by cutting through the thoughts that sustain and recreate the feelings.
Christine Heckel has been leading the sound bath therapy sessions at Radiant Yoga Marbella. A certified sound massage practitioner from the Peter Hess Academy, she is passionate about healing with sound.
Christine Heckel’s sessions with her substantial gong and musical singing bowls are quite some experience. Lying relaxed in Savasana posture on the floor of the yoga studio with feet pointing towards Christine and her bowls, she starts to stir up a feast of sound sensations with the different pitches of the sound bowls before striking and stroking the gong into releasing its vibrational magic directly into the energetic auras of all those present.
“I love combining singing bowls and gongs in my sessions,” enthuses Heckel. “I use the singing bowls for bringing people into a trance followed by the gong for clearing out the cells and then the singing bowls again to come back, calm and recalibrate. In individual sessions I can focus on the personal and individual needs of the person.”
As Christine explains, the sound vibration touches them and brings all the fluid in their body into movement. Considering that our body consists up to 70/80 percent of water, the effect reaches down to a cellular level. This brings into flow the bio-systems, liberating tension, blockages and pains.
At the start of the session the sounds are subtle and melodic but as the sound bath progresses and Christine whips up a cacophony of sound vibrations, be prepared for some jarring and loud reverberations to reach you. The overwhelming sensation is that the sound is not just perceived by the hearing but all the senses, and it is common to find that within minutes you will begin to “zone out” and drift off into a dream-like state of mind.
This is because the sounds help to change the brain waves to different states of relaxation or consciousness, alpha mode, delta and theta. Many people simply do not achieve deep relaxation anymore, but with these special sounds, one can experience deep relaxation time, which is when our organism re-energizes, regenerates, recuperates and repairs. This feature from the Huffington Post gives and explanation of how the gong affects the brainwaves, alpha, beta, etc.
Sounding out the Gong
The singing bowls Christine Heckel uses are crafted according to age-old traditions with their roots in alchemy. Her bowls include 12 different metals, each supporting different bodily organs in a special way
The gong also acts like a bowl, except it is flat and with much more resonance, depending on the size. Its sound works on a holistic level too. As Christine advises, “The gong is not necessarily for everyone, as it has a very powerful volume and its sound reaches people on different, sometimes challenging levels. However, many people zone out quickly into deeply beneficial states of mind.
Regular Sound Therapy Recommended
Gong therapy has an impressive history and has been used in Ayurveda for 5000 years for healing and maintaining health.
Sound bowl therapy offers a multitude of benefits, from lowering high blood pressure to increasing concentration capacity, relaxing muscles, releasing pain, achieving coherent heart rate variability … and much more. It centres and balances the mind. Christine adds, “I use gong therapy in coaching sessions when people have their own personal goals … and it is highly effective”.
Sound in general has a cumulative effect so we recommend having regular sessions; once a week or once a month is perfect. The cell memory will always connect to former sessions and experiences. Repetition makes the difference. Usually people report that they go much faster into deep relaxation. This is why I recommend people to have a singing bowl at home, I sell these high quality therapy bowls and teach people how to use them so that they can stay in the flow.
The Power of the Gong
The gong is a sacred and ancient instrument of healing, rejuvenation and transformation.
The Gong produces a strong sound wave, almost tangible to the touch, which stimulates the physical body by influencing the surface of the skin and every cell.
On a physical level, the gong releases tension and blocks in the body, it stimulates a higher functioning of the glandular and nervous system, it increases prana, our vital life force and improves circulation.
Educator and musician Johannes Heimrath conducted many workshops and healing sessions with the gong in the 1980s. He discovered that the sound of the gong was most helpful in connection with relieving neck pain and headaches, menstrual difficulties and cramp in the chest and upper respiratory system.
The sound of a live gong improves circulation while its wide range of frequencies stimulate nerve endings and may prove useful in recovering from injuries in which nerve damage has occurred.
As physical distress and illness often have an emotional and stress related component as well, the gong affects the physical health by working in these areas too.
It also appears that the sound of the gong stimulates the glandular system to a higher level of functioning. The pituitary gland is directly affected by its sound that, in turn, causes the whole glandular system to become balanced.
The gong also works deeply on the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. The gong purifies and quietens the mind. It literally cuts through the linear mind and clears the clutter from the subconscious mind to reveal the radiant and authentic self. It has the capacity to bring us to our neutral mind that is wise and non-judgmental. It helps tune the mind to zero, a state of stillness in which innate wisdom can be accessed cleansing the mind of negative energy.
The Gong is the first and last instrument for the human mind, there is only one thing that can supersede and command the human mind, the sound of the Gong. It is the sound that created this universe.
“The mind has no power to resist a gong that is well played.”
Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga
Radiant Yoga Marbella offers a variety of yoga classes in our Marbella studio including Hot Yoga (similar to Bikram, but with more varied sequencing), Yin Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga Flow, Anasura Yoga, Traditional Hatha Yoga and Kids’ Yoga and the recently introduced Aerial Yoga.
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