Stress is one of the leading contributors to poor health. It’s so easy to let life overwhelm you, stress is everywhere — work, financial, health, relationships, etc. There are countless things that cause us to be anxious and to worry, keeping our bodies in a constant state of fight or flight. I find the following tools useful for calming my mind and relieving stress.
Sitting quietly and clearing the mind is one of the best ways to control your stress. You may need to repeat a mantra or listen to relaxing music to help you focus. I was trained in Transcendental Meditation in 1990, and when I follow this simple technique of sitting quietly for 20 minutes twice a day, it is truly life-changing. If you live in an urban area, you can probably throw a rock from your front door and hit 7 yoga studios that offer regular meditation classes.
Gong baths and other sound healing modalities are becoming more and more popular as a form of meditation with the added benefit of vibrational therapy. The gong frequencies are believed to heal the body on a cellular level while the sounds help you to achieve a deeper relaxation. Remember those yoga studios that you can hit with a stone? I’m sure at least one of them offers gong workshops or classes.
Crystal Healing Bowls
Another intriguing form of sound therapy is the crystal bowl. These bowls are made from pure quartz, often infused with other natural crystals. They are played by striking them or rubbing the rim with a mallet, creating a resonant tone. Same as with the gongs, crystal singing bowls offer vibrational therapy and relaxation.
One of my favorite crystal bowl artists is Ashana.
Tibetan Singing Bowls
Tibetan singing bowls are played in a similar fashion to the crystal bowls, but they are made from a combination of metals. Sound therapists may place the bowls directly on the patient’s body when they are played so the vibrations can be felt more directly.
I have attended workshops with music therapist Jane Shallberg from the Arizona Sound and Music Therapy Institute. Jane is a certified practitioner in Tibetan Singing Bowls.
Since I have been a singer my whole life, my favorite form of meditation is Kirtan, a call and response form of chanting, usually accompanied by one or more instruments. A leader sings a line of the chant and the group repeats it. I find that the mental focus I get from listening for the melody and the Sanskrit words combined with the rhythmic breathing helps me to achieve a deep relaxation. The breathwork involved with singing has always had this effect for me, so I’m glad to have found kirtan.
The Band of Now is a popular kirtan group that performs at various yoga studios around Phoenix on a regular basis.