Gong Meditation / Sound Bath Etiquette and Information
Gong Meditation / Sound Healing Etiquette and Information
By Kelly Merydith
I went to my first Sound Bath around 2009 at Inner Wisdom Yoga on South Blvd in Oak Park. The word was spreading around about these “sound baths” or “gong baths” (until the term was copyrighted). I didn’t know much - just that the vibrations were relaxing and healing. I took two of my buddies (Masin and Will). We each brought a pillow and a blanket and stepped into the unknown…
Nowadays, sound baths are a bit more mainstream - they’re all over the place, and even integrated into regular classes. Kundalini Yoga uses gongs and/or bowls at the end of each class, and many of Ahimsa’s restorative or yin classes as well.
What makes the sound?
Gongs are very special instruments that are carefully created to produce certain sound frequencies. The same goes for Tibetan singing bowls, which are usually made out of a type of metal and hit with a mallet or “played” by moving the mallet around the lip or outer edge of the bowl. There are bowls made of crystal, also made of differences sizes, which produce different sound frequencies. Other sounds may also be used, like a rainstick or cymbals.
So what is a sound bath anyway?
Do you go into a bath? Is there water? We’ve heard it all. The term bath just means that your body is “bathed” in sound, or healing and relaxing frequencies, waves, or vibrations. Some people are able to meditate deeply during the sound bath. Others relax deeply in a quiet and present awareness that they are unable to find in daily life. Some people go into a trans-like state and see colors and visions. In the end, you leave feeling relaxed and energetically cleansed.
What should I bring?
Dress in warm clothes - sweatpants, heavy socks, sweatshirt. Bring your yoga mat if you have your own, and borrow one of Ahimsa’s for free, if not. We will provide 2 yoga blankets and one bolster per student. You can bring a thermos of tea to warm up before the sound bath if you’d like.
What do I do when I arrive?
Arrive 15 minutes prior to the start time and check-in at the front desk. Put your belongings away in the cubbies and remove your shoes. Set up your mat so the short edge of the mat is facing the gong. When you lie down, lie down with your feet facing away from the gong. We do this because we below the frequencies of the gong encourage toxins and old energy to be released through the feet.
Turn off your cell phone (this is very important), and remove any metal jewelry you’re wearing. You can place your jewelry in your purse or on the gong’s blanket (just remember to retrieve after).
Lie down and place the bolster underneath the knees. Place one folded blanket underneath your head (however high you want), and cover your body with the second blanket from the neck down.
Once the sound bath begins, simply close your eyes, relax, and breath deeply. If you feel the urge to get up, or open your eyes, do it. Sometimes the gong gets really loud and can create some panic - simply relax and let your body feel the emotions rising. It’s also good to note that the frequency of the gong cannot damage your hearing in any way.
If you are pregnant, sound baths are not dangerous in any way. In fact, many say that babies in the womb love sound baths!
What if I arrive late?
If you arrive late, you will disrupt the sound bath for all of the other people in the room. Arriving 5 minutes late is okay, but after that, please do not enter the studio, and return for another sound bath when you can arrive earlier.
Sign Up for a Sound Bath:
Visit our events page to sign up for a sound bath: www.ahimsayogastudios.com/events.
Comment below with any other knowledge you’d like to share or comments on how your experience has been attending a sound bath.