ColumnsThe Seeker

Look Into my Crystal Bowl

Katie Grant

Feeling more burnt-out than usual, I recently sojourned to the mountains for three days of meditation, yoga and sound healing facilitated by The Meditation Room in Cornelius and hosted by The Prama Institute & Wellness Center. With over a decade of experience practicing yoga and two years of teaching under my mat, it may come as a surprise that this was my first yoga retreat, but as Iyanla Vanzant says, everything happens when it needs to happen.
The weekend agenda was abound with new-age healing modalities, including a full moon yoga practice, tarot card reading and crystal singing bowl sound healing.

That may sound like a jumble of random words pulled from a dictionary, but it’s a thing, I promise. CSBSH is based on vibrational frequencies that affect us on a cellular level because a majority of the human adult body is water, which makes our bodies intense conductors of sound, our facilitator explained. According to H.H. Mitchell in the Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, the lungs 83%, the skin 64%, muscles and kidneys 79% and even the bones are watery at 31%.

Because I had limited knowledge of how sound healing actually works, besides that it appearing to be relaxing, I did some research and found that, according to Los Angeles sound healer Alison Ross, “Sound healing works on vibration. Everything is a vibration and you tune your body like you tune an instrument. Different instruments are set to certain frequencies. Sound healing allows your body to heal itself by slowing down your brain waves, which affect every cell in your body, shifting them from diseased to being in ease. It’s just aligning it with whatever you need.”

When you feel unwell, it’s because you’re “out of tune,” so to speak. I looked forward to my spring tune-up. While our facilitator Jules Wyatt unpacked seven brightly-hued crystal bowls, I settled onto my mat and gently closed my eyes in anticipation. Sound healing demands little to no physical activity for the participant, which seemed perfectly aligned with my personal goal of unwinding over the long weekend. All that was expected of me was to lie back, absorb and be transported by the sound.

While preparing her instruments, Jules informed us that sound vibration helps move emotional blockages. This means we could expect to feel a wide range of emotions swell in our bodies during the session, afterward and even through the rest of the weekend.

According to Jules, some participants cry a great deal during their sound healing experience. This was the antithesis of good news for someone who hates crying as much as I do.

Once the healing session initiated, words can’t explain the harmony created by the echoing, layered waves of sound emanating from the hollow crystal singing bowls. Some were played individually, while others were played in-sync, all by circling a crystal baton around their colorful, frosted edges.

Laying on the floor with my eyes closed, the reverberating sounds and vibrations of the multi-sized bowls lulled me into a deep, meditative state. I understood why the term “sound bath” was so often used to describe this type of therapy. It seemed as though the vibrations were enveloping my body from all sides.

The sound healing session lasted somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour, and honestly, I didn’t want it to end. While the session came to a conclusion and the vibrations rolled to a stop, I took a deep inhale followed by an equally deep exhale, taking mental note of how I felt physically and emotionally. I had zero expectations walking into this, which may be the best way to approach life, as I’m learning. Expectations lead to disappointment.

While I didn’t have any emotional meltdown, I did feel more aligned, at ease and clear-headed. Self-care instructions for afterward included drinking plenty of water and getting some rest.

I drove home from feeling recalibrated, but sound healing is something I’m struggling with in terms of how I can incorporate it into my wellness plan. I haven’t done the math, but if it’s multiple times per month, that could get expensive. I think for now I’ll save crystal bowl sound healing for special events like wellness retreats and stick to my daily yoga practice for now. I can do that for free at home. Although I will speed up my previous rate of once every 10 years.

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