Sound bath: A meditation experience

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Photo of Eric Ward, sound bath meditation musician. Sound bath meditation is a meditation practice, now offered at the Yoga Underground in Provo, Utah. (Britney Holman)
Photo of Eric Ward, sound bath meditation musician. Sound bath meditation is a meditation practice, now offered at the Yoga Underground in Provo, Utah. (Britney Holman)

Provo yoga studio Yoga Underground is bringing the sound bath meditation experience to Utah Valley.

The sound bath meditation experience, also known as the sound bath experience, is a meditation practice aimed to reach a state of relaxation. According to Eric Ward, yoga participant and sound bath musician at Yoga Underground, sound bath meditation is a “living experience that bathes the body through vibrations.”

Sound bath uses a variety of instruments to create musical cords and vibrations. It does not consist of a literal bath. Rather, the participant lies flat on the floor with eyes closed while the instructor creates the sound bath.

Instruments for sound bath meditation consist of different kinds of chimes, bowls and gongs. The instructor uses various tools and brushes to stroke the inside of the bowls to create the sound and vibrations.

Ward collects his sound bath instruments from all over the world. He uses handmade metal Tibetan bowls, large crystal silicon bowls, white crystal singing bowls and Woodstock chimes.

“If an instrument speaks to me, I’ll use it,” he said.

Ward explained that the practice aims to balance and heal different chakras, which are energy points throughout the body. There are a total of seven chakras.

Mind Body Green, a health and nutrition forum, maps the chakras on its website. The Crown Chakra is located at the very top of the head; the Third Eye Chakra is located between the eyes; the Throat Chakra is located in the throat; the Heart Chakra is located in the heart; the Solar-Plexus Chakra is located in the upper abdomen; the Sacral Chakra is located below the naval; and the Root Chakra is located in the spine and tailbone.

“When we are able to talk with those who have attended, we hear about their experience and how it has helped them. Their comments keep us passionate and motivated to continue,” said Curtis Forbush, a member of the Sound Bath Experience, a group of musicians based out of Salt Lake City. The Sound Bath Experience was formed in 2013 by Chad Davis and Forbush when they combined their passions for singing bowls and meditation music.

Forbush described sessions as “60 minutes of Metal bowls merging with crystal bowls adding Native American flutes, drums, gongs, didgeridoo and other various instruments melting all into a unique blend of vibrational bliss.”

During a sound bath, participants can feel the difference between the instruments being used and how they affect each chakra; however, they can affect each participant differently, Ward said. Some of the instruments create a deep vibration in the chest, some create a deep echo in the participant’s ears, and some may even lull the participant to sleep.

Writer Hayley Freeman blogged about her sound bath meditation experience in the Mojave desert, near Joshua Tree National Park.

“The sound bath is over. … It still feels like I’m vibrating, and I’m hyper-aware of the silence in the room — like I have heightened senses,” she wrote.

Ward explained that if a sound bath participant has not practiced yoga before, it could have temporarily adverse side effects. He recounted that a woman participating in a sound bath meditation session a few weeks ago became extremely anxious during the session. It made her heart pound quickly, and she hated it. After a few more weeks of attending yoga classes, however, she found the sound bath to be a “beautiful and therapeutic experience.”

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