Beginners Guide to Sound Meditation
What is a ‘Sound Meditation’ or a ‘Sound Bath’?
When I first heard of ‘sound meditation’ or ‘sound baths’ as others call it, I imagined some New Age guru beating a giant gong or being in a room full of strangers having a bath together while listening to music. While this may be right up your alley, the truth is a lot less naked, doesn’t involve water and the experience goes way beyond just hitting something to make a noise.
It’s the use of sound as a tool to cultivate and support deep relaxation. There are different kinds of instruments out there, but ultimately the purpose is to create a gentle, yet powerful, experience that heals the body, clears the mind and heightens your meditation practice by helping to rein in your attention to the present.
The ‘bath’ part has nothing to do with bubbles and is just a way to help paint the picture of being ‘‘bathed’ in sound.
How is this different from a regular meditation?
While regular meditation requires you to count your breaths, visualise something or repeat a mantra in your head, in silence; sound meditation gives you sound and vibrations to focus on. It enables you to bring your awareness to the present in a way that’s a lot quicker and easier.
How do I know if Sound Meditation is for me?
When I first started meditating, it was so hard to switch off my mind. It was constantly wandering and thinking about what I had to do next. Then I discovered sound meditation which with little effort, my mind was put at ease. I quickly realised that sound meditation was a much more accessible alternative, so I could not wait to share this with you.
Having worked over a decade in fast-paced corporate environments, I know what it’s like to feel stressed 24/7 juggling your career with your personal life. Whether you’re a corporate executive, self-employed, a busy carer/parent or anyone who finds it hard to slow down, sound meditations may be very beneficial for you.
So what actually happens during a Mirosuna Sound Meditation?
When you arrive in the ambient space, you’ll feel calm and at peace. You can choose a spot amongst the layout of comfortable mats, cushions and blankets. I’ll let you know what’s about to happen and guide you through a meditation. You’ll lay down with your eyes closed, listen to the sounds and feel the vibrations, allowing your mind to quieten and bringing yourself to a state of inner peace and awareness. Before bringing you back to full awareness, you’ll receive a light head massage with Mirosuna Aromatherapy oils - my community has always looked forward to this part of the experience and makes sure that I don’t forget to include it :)
Finally, to conclude, I invite you to sit up at your own pace. We’ll have some tea and enjoy a discussion about your experience before you leave feeling more relaxed and connected.
What instruments do you use?
There’s a lot of instruments out there, from tuning forks and gongs to drums and wind chimes. Personally, I prefer to only use Tibetan and Alchemy singing bowls for less distraction. The singing bowls have rich, humming sounds and deep harmonic vibrations that surround and penetrate our bodies when they’re tapped or rimmed with a mallet. This is something that doesn’t necessarily happen with other instruments and there aren’t really words to describe the unique sounds and sensations you feel until you experience it in person.
What are the different types of singing bowls?
There are 3 types of singing bowls:
Tibetan singing bowls have been used for centuries by Buddhist monks in their meditation practice. They’re typically made of a type of bronze called ‘bell metal’, which is made up of copper and tin. Traditionally, they contain 7 metals and can blend in gold, silver and even meteoric iron to create powerful, long-lasting harmonic tones.
Crystal singing bowls are a relatively modern invention, having emerged in the mid-1970s. They’re made from pure crushed quartz crystal that’s heated at melting point and then poured into a centrifugal, graphite moulds. You may have seen photos of frosted white bowls - these are the most classic version.
Alchemy singing bowls are advanced Crystal singing bowls, where colourful crystals, fine gemstones and precious metals, such as 24 karat gold, silver and platinum, are heated and blended in with the quartz bowls. When the bowl is played, these materials are doing their own work to enhance the sounds we hear. I’ll go more into this in a later blog post. These are the fancy colourful bowls you may have seen. They are very precious, produced in a unique way and come at the highest price point. Not one bowl is ever the same.
How exactly do singing bowls affect our mind and body?
Since we are always thinking, feeling and doing a gazillion things at a time, all this chatter generates an enormous amount of activity in our brains, known as ‘brain waves’ measured in frequencies:
Beta: Awake. This is when we are alert, logical and productive during the day, which over time with little rest, leads to stress, anxiety and restlessness.
Alpha: Relaxed. Our memory, imagination and visualisation skills are heightened. We are here during light meditation or when we’re daydreaming.
Theta: Deep meditation and light sleep. Theta is when we feel most inspired, creative and introspective.
Delta: Deep, dreamless sleep where our brain is regenerating.
The optimal range for relaxation and de-stressing is between Alpha and Theta, where we are conscious of our surroundings but we feel deeply relaxed and in control of our thoughts and feelings. Through the Mirosuna way of sound meditation, my goal is to take you from Beta to Theta. This is so you can drift off in a meditative and dream-like state to derive the maximum levels of deep relaxation. I will then gently transition you out of Theta, bringing your awareness into a relaxed Alpha state so that you will leave feeling a lot calmer than when you came in.
How long do the sessions go for?
Generally, I will play for 30-50 minutes. Everyone always thinks that I’ve played for less than half the time that I actually have because they feel very relaxed and drift off ‘in the zone’.
What others have to say?
Here’s what others have shared after experiencing a Mirosuna Sound Meditation:
“I believe sound meditation detoxifies the body by accepting all that has been, is, and will be. It is a rejuvenating practice that can reveal the unconscious, translate desires or just help you to rest your mind. Whether consciously or unconsciously, it will do wonders for opening your deep emotions to assist the healing process. It's a chance to stop and see what is going on and join collective dreaming with a group of like-minded individuals.” - Courtney Foon writes in her blog about her Mirosuna Sound Meditation encounter
“The sessions were deeply relaxing and lulled me into a calm and meditative state so effortlessly” - Wendy
“I find it difficult to slow my mind and remain focused for even 5 minutes! But we were all incredibly surprised at the end of the session to find of what felt like 10 minutes was really 1 hour of meditation!” - Laura
“I'm totally a rookie when it comes to meditation and mindfulness, but I felt so relaxed and calm” - Monique
“I didn’t think I’d be so relaxed, but I fell asleep but and was one of the first to snore” - Paul
Read more reviews here.
It still blows me away that such a simple activity can hold so much power in helping us experience deep peace and calmness. I find that the more I do this, the lighter and more carefree I feel. It also has become the main outlet for me to release my stress and tension. If you’re curious to give sound meditation a go, follow Mirosuna and keep an eye out for the next event I’ll be hosting. I look forward to meeting you in person and sharing our journeys together.
Founder of Mirosuna