I could never indulge in yoga or meditation. Until I was introduced to sound baths. Sometimes known as gong baths, this is meditation compiled with sound therapy, using overtone-emitting instruments, for example singing bowls and, you guessed it, a gong.
Do you do yoga? Do you like to do yoga might be the more pressing question.
I’m constantly told that in this life of stress and chaos we live in – maybe you’re a lucky soul who doesn’t, but I’m definitely 99% stressed and chaotic – needs to be balanced by wholesome activities such as yoga and meditation. If you, like, can’t sit still for more than five seconds, you’ll resonate with me when I say these aren’t my favourite activities.
It’s not so much that I can’t sit still, more so that I can’t turn my brain off. I can’t focus on extending my leg and front of my body in a pose, the name of which I can’t remember because I’m thinking of a text message sent to Chloe about an email I received from Jack. You get me? Time to rid myself of anxiety and embrace this holistic experience.
Yulia Kovaleva, co-founder of Re:Mind Studio in Eccleston Yards, London Belgravia, says that a big part of the opening of Re:Mind was the inclusion of sound therapy. “Everyone was craving sound baths – these are our most popular classes.” After all, wellness is quite the trend right now.
Yulia goes on to say that she finds the reason for this is due to the “magical way that sound affects us on physical, mental and spiritual levels.” I, personally, can’t help but agree; there’s no distinct reason as to why I am able to shut off in a sound bath but not in a regular meditation session. Clearly, the vibrations of the sound waves has an effect on me in all the ways Yulia details above. Perhaps it is the wholesome and clean sounds I hear and the way they make me feel mentally, physically and spiritually that allows me to let go of all of my thoughts and give my brain, and in turn my body, a rest.
“Sound is very primal and we are all very aware of how negative sounds and noises affect us.” Yulia adds. It’s true. Living in London, there are constant annoying and aggressive sounds all around us; the tube, the buses, rubbish bins, lorries, open plan offices etc. Sound baths allow sound waves and vibrations from bowls and instruments to have a positive effect on us. “High intensity workouts are always accompanied with loud beat energising music to get us moving and lullabies have a relaxing and calming effect [as well].”
Most of the time, I fall asleep as I’m watching TV or I wake up to find I never actually posted on Instagram as I drifted off before I could do so. This is not good, people. Why do I continue to do it? I’m an addict. But for that one hour that I’m in my sound bath, there’s no phone, no laptop, no TV. No tube, no angry bus driver, no buzz from the coffee shop. I can let go of my thoughts as there’s nothing else distracting me and I allow the instruments to get me in what Yulia calls “a meditative state”.
I won’t lie to you; I often feel like I’ve woken up from a deep sleep after a sound bath – and more often than not, I have nodded off. Similar to a massage, when you feel so safe and relaxed, you can truly let go. “Our brains have been recorded to produce a range of waves – and sound baths, whether its crystal bowls or goings, tend to stimulate the Delta brain waves which are mostly recorded in deep sleep and deep meditation.” Yulia confirms I’m neither lazy or crazy. Winning. And in complete serenity, I might add.
Just as exercise is important as part of our daily routine, so is stopping for a minute, letting go and allowing our body to rest. I cannot recommend Re:Mind Studio in Eccleston Yards, London enough. You walk through the door and you feel a slight invigoration and calmness simultaneously. I love when the person hosting the sound bath walks around and bangs the gong right next to me; the vibrations clean my head – don’t laugh, I’m serious! It feels so good, I can’t describe it properly. All I can do is thoroughly recommend it. Especially if you never find yourself fully switching off in yoga.
Yulia tells me that yoga and sound baths complement each other very well; I’m yet to try yoga there (addicted to sound baths) but I do acknowledge it is important to work on both the mind and the body – which is the ethos of the studio.