I have great news! I finally started my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. This has been a goal approximately 22 years “in the making”, as I’ve been practicing yoga for that long. I have had difficult feelings about starting the training because I have been doing yoga for so long, and I have studied texts related to yoga as well as practices many aspects of the 8-fold path of yoga through the years. Currently I am tapping into the concept that everything happens in perfect timing. It’s a great way to approach life!
So what does sound healing have to do with yoga? Well, a lot, but I want to get to the heart of yoga, and the heart of sound healing to explain it in as simple terms as possible.
First, “yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind” (from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali [I.2]). Philosophically, there are two essential products of a person, the first – pure consciousness, the second – all other material aspects of the person, including the mind, all of its emotions, thoughts and will. This is a bit different from typical westernized thought, which can still think of the mind as being attached to the soul (pure consciousness).
The practice of yoga; the 8-fold path, is for the purpose of creating a couscous distinction between the pure consciousness (the soul), and the rest of the being which constitutes a person. When the conscious distinction is achieved, the “seer abides in its own nature” (from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali [I.3]). Here, seer refers to the “pure consciousness” I talk about above.
The practice, boiled down to two simple paragraphs (lol), when fully embodied, is a moment by moment reality that, to be maintained must be done continuously. OK…pretty close to impossible, we live in an imperfect material world so this is a tall order. Even so, its the practice that brings us closer and closer to this goal of achieving full awareness of the distinction between pure consciousness, and the remaining aspects of what it is to be human. As time has gone by in my life and these 22 years have passed by me, the yoga paths become more and more a part of my being. I haven’t been as disciplined as I would like to be able to say, but I am ok with this, its all a learning process of continual growth. If I fall back, its simply something I can learn from <3.
Enter Sound Healing. So how does sound healing fit into this world of yoga? Simply put, sound, used with intention, takes us most directly to a place of peace, and calm. Here we can start to calm the mind and loosen the hold of our thoughts in a therapeutic healing environment. It can be hard to let go of thought patterns, we spend a lifetime developing them, and for many people in difficult environments. Learning to let go of the patterns is one of the first steps towards freedom from gripping anxiety, depression, or negatively binding life situations.
Sound healing uses musical instruments in a way that creates repetitive wave patterns, that work on the energy of the physical and mental body of an individual to entrain chaotic or stuck patterns to smooth and flowing patterns. This is a large part of the “therapy” of sound healing.
This repatterning, or entrainment of our human energy systems to a more balanced and flowing material aspect of ourselves assists in the realization of the distinction between pure consciousness and our material selves (mind insisting of thoughts, feelings and will, and our physical body).
Music has been used through the centuries to assist humans in achieving higher consciousness, and the reason in apparent in this discussion. Musicians and spiritualists have known for millennia, probably since the “dawn of time”, that music and sound acts as a catalyst for healing. And why do people associate spirituality with music and healing, because abiding in our true consciousness, and being aware of the distinction between soul and all else of the human, actually assists in adjustments to the physical, mental and emotional aspects of humans.
In recent trends crystal bowls have become a hot sound healing item, in fact, I use them constantly in my practice, along with other tools. With our technological advances we can see with data how sound is helpful, to our human-ness. It turns out the Greek philosopher and healer Pythagoras used crystal instruments such as a bowl or a bell, to heal those that came to him. I bring up this point to illuminate the fact that sound healing is an ancient craft and practice, utilized by healers through millennia. Although it is not new, we have only begun to understand the significance of utilizing sound for healing. Research and continued practice will continue to reveal the benefits of this therapy.