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Health

Sound Meditation with Cynthia Bernard

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Meet WOT reader Cynthia Bernard — She is a teacher, guide and facilitator in yoga, meditation, mindfulness and sound healing, sharing her teachings with us on living a more conscious life. Today she is here to share a sound bath with us.

First and foremost, we want to share with you some tips on how to get the most out of the below sound bath video from home.

As many of us are processing a variety of emotions as a collective—stress, worry, fear, anxiety, uncertainty—we can start to cause long term damage to our bodies, especially to our immune and nervous systems. Giving ourselves time for self-care can be the perfect way to help the body restore. One of Cynthia’s go to practices incorporates the Quartz and Tibetan Bowls and is called a Sound Bath. This experience where you can sit or lie down uses vibrations and frequencies tuned specifically to help the mind and body relax. It’s a practice in presence, listening, being, and allowing, much like meditation.

How to have the best virtual experience + self-care tips for your space:

First, pick a spot or even the quietest corner of your home. It can be small, but most importantly a place you enjoy being where you feel like you can focus on yourself, regardless of how much time you have. Let’s be honest, it may be the closet but you can make it work (I promise!)

Next, declutter the area. Mari Kondo (tidying expert,) was on to something. Clutter gets in the way physical and mentally which can have an effect on our emotions as well. Make sure your space feels light only having essentials around that spark joy.

Set an intention. Before creating a mindful space, one of the first thing you should do is set an intention. With an intention, there’s no required result and no pressure to achieve a goal. For example, trying to focus on your breath or having compassion for yourself if it feels difficult to fully relax.

Set the mood. Create as much comfort as you would like. This can include blankets, pillows, a bolster for under the knees, comfortable clothes to relax in, dimmed lights or eye mask, candles, and aromatherapy.

Turn additional devices off. Silence your phone, remove your watch and allow any device for listening to be a hands-free experience.

Use headphones if possible. For “virtual” vibrations to travel better, use headphones or an external speaker.

Bring nature inside or even create your space outside. Anything that gives you a feeling that you’re out in nature and part of the earth really helps to bring you more presence. I surround myself with plants. (If you walk into my home, it is a mini jungle, lol.) Many purify the air reducing toxins and they immediately bring ease to my mood. My favorites are a Peace Lily and Pothos Ivy.

Each experience is different. Allow yourself to be present and give yourself permission to relax. This may take time, so try to let go of any expectations. Some feel more energy while others feel deeply relaxed.  As the Sound Bath begins, close your eyes if it feels comfortable for your body. Stay with your breath or the sound as a point of reference to keep your awareness during the meditation.

Afterwards: If time allows, don’t rush to move into the next task on your list. The vibrations continue within the body even after the last note is played. Drink plenty of water or have a cup of hot tea. My favorite is green tea or Camila’s ginger tea. If you have time, take a few moments to write down how you feel or anything you experienced. End with a moment of gratitude (especially for giving yourself the self-care time you deserve.)

Do you need all of this? Absolutely not.

These are just some of Cynthia’s favorite tips to share for a full experience. Everyone is invited to drop in just as you are, from wherever you are and enjoy this as a community.

Now, for the fun part: Get comfortable, settle in and listen to the video below as Cynthia guides you through an amazing sound bath experience. You can also keep scrolling down to learn a little bit more about sound bath meditation, and how Cynthia came to practice it.

Here is more great information on sound bath medications from Cynthia, originally shared on Ubuntu.

What is Sound Meditation?

Sound meditation is a form of focused awareness type of meditation. One kind that has become more popular is called “sound baths,” which uses Tibetan singing bowls, quartz bowls, and bells to guide the listener. These practices highlight themes of how the experience of sound manifests not only through hearing but through tactile physical vibrations and frequencies.

What are its benefits?

Sound can help release stress and deepen the mind, body, & spirit connection.

When did you find sound bowl and how did you bring it into your yoga practice?

I experienced my first “Sound Bath” six years ago, shortly after I discovered how much meditation and my yoga practice were helping my anxiety. I was looking for ways to deepen my meditation practice even beyond just sitting still which was sometimes hard for me. I realized after my very profound experience of feeling calmer, less tension in my chest, and more present, that this healing modality would be a beautiful way to close the yoga sessions I was sharing and started with short sound bites at the end of class during savasana. In the last two years, I began offering 30-60 min Sound Bath meditations as a stand-alone offering. The longer sound baths give you more time to allow the body and mind to drop in deeper and have a greater awareness of what’s happening within. This turned into several monthly gatherings that are accessible for ALL ages, ALL abilities. Now, besides yoga and meditation, sound baths are a permanent addition to the (whole) wellness approach I offer. I still love pairing it with yoga because the pre-movement helps release stagnant energy in the body, thus allowing you to receive even more benefits.

Any tips for 1st timers interested in experience sound bowl meditation?

My first tip is to drop any expectations and have compassion & kindness for yourself with any sensations that arise for you. If you feel extremely stressed, try moving around a bit before your experience and anchor in some deep breathing practices. Lastly, get comfortable (blanket, pillow, eye pillow, comfy clothes,) and maybe start with a short one first like 30 mins.

Are there are any resources for those who want to start their own sound bowl practice? do you need to be certified?

Before deciding to share this beautiful practice, experience several for yourself, and start with one bowl to add to the beginning and end of your meditation or yoga practice. I would look for someone to work with that teaches group or 1:1 classes and is a trained practitioner that has worked closely with Quartz, Crystal, or Tibetan bowls. Buy bowls from an authorized dealer making sure they are tuned correctly. Take their classes and see if you connect energetically. To be a practitioner, you don’t need a certification but there are many available offering full courses such as at:

https://sound-bath.com/soundbath-practitioner-trainings-2/

There are also several articles and apps to find out more about the benefits:

https://chopra.com/articles/healing-with-sound-tune-up-to-find-inner-harmony

To learn more and keep up with Cynthia on Instagram, you can follow her here!