Many of us recognize the power that music has in our lives.
It has the ability to deepen our journey, evoking both emotional and spiritual states of awareness. However if we look a little deeper at the power of vibration and sound itself, we see that there are forces at play that can greatly enhance the power of one’s practice.
Such is the underlying philosophy of sound healing, or vibrational therapy. In this article we’re going to explore some concepts and techniques you can bring into your class to begin teaching students how to empower themselves through their own innate ability to use sound as a tool for self reflection, empowerment and healing.
Use ‘Toning’ and Chanting to Help Your Students Create Strong Connections to Their Voice as an Instrument:
We start where many classes start—the Om. Another word for the practice of chanting Om, or AUM as it’s also spelled, is called ‘Toning’. Toning is actually the practice of producing long, steady tones through any instrument. When done by the voice it slows down the breath, strengthens the diaphragm and chest, and relaxes the mind.
To instruct students in toning, one must understand that good singers use their diaphragms to inhale and exhale, controlling the pace at which the air moves out of their lungs. This allows for tension to release from the neck and vocal chords area, which creates a more open instrument.
Instruct your students to drop into some belly breathing, only using their diaphragms to activate deep breathing. Then, when it feels natural and engaged, have them begin singing long tones using the vowel sound ‘O’. Instruct them to do this for an extended period of time, encouraging them to lengthen their breath on the inhale and use their diaphragm muscles to slowly release the air while toning. If they need to take a break tell them to do so as and when they need to.
The class can spend 5 minutes toning and at the end, silence. This produces a wonderful sense of euphoria and strengthens the connection to their voice as an instrument and meditation tool.
Next, bring toning into the asana practice. At moments when it feels natural, have your class tone in a posture. Assuming the posture is open enough in the belly to allow for freedom of movement, have them tone their way into a deeper pose. It should feel as though by toning, the mind is relaxing and the pose is deepening. Try having them do it at a time when their not out of breath or working too hard… try it yourself and see when and in which asana it feels most natural to tone.
Tone directly into different parts of your body that need attention, just as though you were singing to relax a child into beautiful slumber. See what arises when you do so…
Introduce Instruments to Promote Deep Relaxation:
Another technique used in sound healing is that of bringing instruments that resonate, or create long tones in direct contact with the body. For this the best instruments are brass bowls and didgeridoos.
If you can get your hands on a brass bowl, try placing it on someone’s chest during savanna and gentling striking the bowl. After striking, rub the wand around the outer edge to produce a longer tone… the vibration will penetrate into the persons body and allow them to relax more deeply. If you can find someone who plays didjeridoo, or are adventurous enough to learn the basic tone yourself, bring that to class and use it in a similar way during savasana.
Play the didjeridoo in close proximity to a person’s body while they lie in savasana. Quietly next to their ears, and more loudly near their body cavity. You don’t need to be circular breathing, which is harder… you can just practice your own long tones… when you run out of breath simply breathe in and repeat.
Use Sound Frequencies As Powerful Amplifiers of Thought and Prayer:
Finally, it’s an interesting study to look at vibration and how it relates to the Chakra system. Each Chakra has a number of petals… the first Chakra has four, the second has six, third has ten, fourth has twelve and the fifth has sixteen. Amazingly enough these correspond to whole number frequencies that resonate in the related areas of the body—40 to 60 Hz or cycles per second (low bass) can be felt mostly in the pelvis… as you raise the frequency up through 100 Hz to 120 and 160, you feel it more in your chest and neck.
Above that, you hear the frequencies more than you feel them…thus the sixth Chakra has only 2 petals and the seventh has 1000. But it’s more important to understand that Chakras map out frequency just like sound does. Bass is felt in the body, and higher frequencies are felt in the head.
Incredibly the Gyoto Monks of Tibet chant at almost exactly 60hz, which is the frequency of the Svadhisthana Chakra (second). The fact that they understand frequency and how it affects the body and mind demonstrates the concept that toning and vibration are powerful amplifiers of thought and prayer. A
nother very cool study in vibrational therapy is Cymatics—which uses different frequencies to create amazing mandalas in sand that’s placed on ceramic plates. Go to Google Images and search for Cymatics and you’ll see what we mean—it’s truly amazing what kinds of patterns vibration can create.
Amazingly enough this week we’re giving away a free song by Steve Gold called The Golden Om.
Click here to download your free copy of this fantastic example of sound healing in action.
Steve’s entire new album can be heard here.
For another great example of some healing and relating sound therapy songs, check this release out:
Enjoy the vibes!