geeta novotny uses gongs and bowls made of metals or quartz and her voice to create a sense of deep relaxation or meditation with sounds. think of a sound bath, practitioners say, as a massage or a meditation, with sounds washing over you and running through you, sometimes feeling too big for the room. one night, in her darkened storefront studio in eagle rock, jamie ford told eight of us to “relax and receive” what comes during the hour of sound she provides by playing 13 gongs on frames against one wall. el larson, another sound practitioner, works mostly one-on-one from her pasadena house, set up against the hills near the 210 freeway. each can make a range of sounds and are played by either striking it with a mallet or using the mallet to touch the bowl and circle its edges.
consider the feeling of standing in front of a powerful loudspeaker, or the use of ultrasound. larson says she has found that a sound session can help with pain, relaxation and anxiety, sleep, energy balance and “overall awakening.” geeta novotny adds her voice to the crystal bowls she plays in a studio behind her studio city home. maybe what they’ve tried before isn’t working.” ford says her gongs, handmade in germany, are perfectly tuned so that vibrations can be brought up or down on a pattern like octaves in traditional music. larson played the bowls close to my body, and even balanced three on me to play. mary macvean is the former mind & body editor at the los angeles times. she was a national editor and writer focusing on food at the associated press and a features editor and a columnist in moscow, where she also ran a children’s cooking school.
i have been to a gong bath before, lying at the back of a sweaty studio for an hour, confused in the dark while a yogi fingered a large gong. i had pictured someone rolling me up like a cigarillo â not something a grown man can request with any dignity. michelle cade, the founder of mind like water (â£90 for 90 minutes) leads various sound therapies, and today iâm experiencing it with a full-body ayurvedic massage. i clamber on to the table, ungainly, clammy, full of unrelated anxieties. a nicer way of putting it than âgetting mashed to a trippy jamâ. the transporting massage is intended to put me in an optimal state to receive the good vibrations, and itâs working. is this is how it feels to be a posh pot noodle? i wake myself up with the tickling graze of a light snore, dignity once again nowhere to be seen.
itâs a nicer way of putting it than: âyou fell asleep on the job, you worthless sack.â now that i am totally relaxed â perhaps too much â itâs time for the sound portion of the therapy. thereâs a drum, more boom than volume, which reverberates pleasurably in my belly; a particular soothing, shushing noise that makes me feel like a baby. i take a peek to find myself staring down the business end of a seeded baguette (which iâm later told is actually a rain stick). it is like being massaged from the inside. you have to believe in healing frequencies, which for many is a big ask. cade doesnât wrap me up in a carpet (is my fantasy to be thrown into a boot, like a rival gangster in a guy ritchie film? when i walk out, it is on a cloud. yet i canât deny it has done me a power of good. should have told my supervisors iâd been accessing a delta state to facilitate healing.
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