Out of the basic practice of meditation, other variations have been born, each with their own unique set of benefits. Sound Bath Meditation is a unique form that focuses on ambient sounds, rather than silence or a guided practice to reach a new state of tranquility.
Often practiced in a studio and guided by a meditation teacher, the experience of sound bath meditation will have you begin as you would with regular meditation. Lying or sitting in a comfortable position, you will be asked to center yourself among your thoughts—likely the first section of the practice will be guided to help you find the correct headspace. As the practice is centered on immersion into sound, a Tibetan singing bowl or other instrument such as a gong or tuning forks may be introduced into the session. The focus is not on music, but rather as Everyday Health states, “drone-like and less structured compared with traditional music, where rhythm, melody, harmony and arrangement define the form.”
The intention of this form of meditation is to stimulate the alpha and theta waves in the brain to invoke a meditative, dreamlike state that can ease anxiety and tension, deactivate the internalized fight or flight instinct, and heal the mind. Because the muscles are relaxing and your breathing will naturally slow, there is the potential added benefit of lowered blood pressure and heart rate through this practice.
In a study titled “Effects of Singing Bowl Sound Meditation on Mood, Tension, and Well-being: An Observational Study,” it was found that men and women that had not previously participated in Sound Bath Meditation demonstrated a higher level of receptiveness to the practice and “a significantly greater reduction in tension compared with participants experienced in this meditation.” However, it was also found that a higher sense of spirituality and lowered tension, depression and anger could be seen across all participants when meditating with a Tibetan singing bowl. Through this study, it was also discovered that levels of physical pain decreased across participants.
The use of sound as a tool for healing dates all the way back to ancient times. The Greeks used sound to aid in digestion and insomnia, ancient Egyptians utilized chanting in their healing rituals, and music has long since been known to have a therapeutic effect on patients with a range of ailments. In your own life, you have almost certainly noticed that some sounds, particularly loud ones, have the ability to affect your mental state and cause agitation; therefore, it stands to reason that other sounds would have the opposite effect.
While there are in-studio options for Sound Bath Meditation, you can recreate the experience at home in your own meditation practices. As always, there are a number of videos available on YouTube that simulate the feeling of sound bath meditation and may provide the same benefits as an in-person session, as well as Podcasts that utilize Tibetan singing bowls and other ambient sounds.
Sound Bath Meditation is a practice that provides universally positive results for both mental and physical health and can allow for a reduction in anxiety, depression, and other stress related ailments. If you’re interested in implementing the practice into your own life in tandem with other relaxation techniques that you have learned from Women of Today, follow the link below for a video guide of this meditation method and embrace the benefits of a holistic approach to wellness beginning with your senses.
CHECK OUT CAMILA + WOT READER CYNTHIA DOING A SOUND BATH!
In case you missed it: Camila and Women of Today reader Cynthia Bernard did a sound bath together! Check out the video below (and follow along) with their Instagram LIVE sound bath.
“A sound bath is a relaxing and meditative experience where participants ‘bathe’ in the sound waves/frequencies produced by instruments such as chimes, gongs, and singing bowls. As you listen with intention and awareness, this helps to deepen your inner connection while beginning to feel more calm, balanced and recharged.” — Cynthia