Trying new things is a big part of traveling and so it’s not a surprise that it has been a big part of my abroad experiences.
Because of this, I try to keep an open mind when and where I can. Most recently, I did just that when I attended a sound activation session at my yoga instructor, Mandy’s studio, Find Your Light Yoga, here in Christchurch. For those who may be hearing of sound activation for the first time, it is a type of therapy that uses music and various sounds to impact humans’ emotional health and well-being. It relaxes the body and mind, serenading it into a deep relaxation and meditation. Often singing bowls are one of the instruments that can be used during sound therapy sessions.
Over the recent years, I’ve become more open minded about trying different types of holistic therapies so naturally I was really intrigued when Mandy first told me about sound healing and the glorious effects it can have on you. She raved about its relaxing, calming and sometimes life-changing benefits as well as her healer, Antonia, who flew from Australia to visit and lead the session this past August.
To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I knew I needed to keep an open mind throughout the entire experience.
And I most certainly did …. for the majority of it anyway. But that’s neither here nor there (that’s a saying, right?).
After our small group got comfy with our blankets on our yoga mats, the session began with Antonia leading us through a calming meditation to relax our minds. She left us to revel in the experience after she told us to imagine ourselves in our “happy places”. My mind immediately took me on a journey in nature. First, I found myself swinging in a hammock surrounded by tall, lush trees that towered over me.
Then I began to imagine myself in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia where I could see myself hiking with my father, which is one of my favorite activities back home. Normally images of fond experiences such as this one would not evoke strong emotions. But it was at this point of the experience that I felt as if I was at home. Almost immediately, a huge rush of emotions poured out of me in the form of that nice, salty, clear liquid we know as tears.
I remember thinking to myself for a split second, “Oh shit, I’m crying. Oh, god, oh no. What will everyone around me think?” Somehow I didn’t think about the facts that literally no one in the class had their eyes open and that I was probably the last thing on their mind while they were likely off in their own dream-like world. Needless to say, my worries quickly disappeared as I focused on the images in my head and the beautiful sounds from Antonia’s instruments and angelic voice vibrating through the room. So all I could do in that moment was to fully relinquish any remaining control and let the emotional release just happen. After several tears dripped down my face as I lay on the floor of Find Your Light Studio, I felt at peace.
Throughout the rest of the experience, I lingered in and out of a meditative state while Antonia chanted, danced, and rhythmically played in a one-woman band in the background. When Antonia is leading an experience such as this, she says she often is tuned into something beyond her physical body and she allows that to flow through her. Antonia follows this intuitively and bounces between playing one of her her many instruments which include hand bells, a Native American drum, bongo drums, a gong, a Native American flute, xylophone and singing songs, prayers and tribal chants from all over the world.
When the experience came to and end, I felt strange, but not in a bad way. I genuinely felt different, almost anew and much more like myself. It was such a refreshing feeling.
It has been a few months since this experience and I can still say that the changes that took place that night have stayed in place. I am so happy that I was open minded enough to try something such as sound activation. Although it may not have been the most adventurous activity, the experience certainly changed my life.