The term “sound bath” might raise some eyebrows, but it might just be the key to attaining some much-needed relaxation and rest. How do you bathe in sound exactly? It’s simple — by immersing yourself in specific tones and rhythms of musical instruments, sans distraction. While there are a good deal of spots in Hoboken + Jersey City that offer sound baths, local yoga instructor and holistic healing practitioner, Lindsay Monal of Yoga Renew, taught us all about this form of meditation and its universal benefits. Read on to learn about sound baths and where to experience them in Hoboken and Jersey City.
What is a Sound Bath?
Sound baths use music and instruments such as gongs and bowls to guide meditation, as opposed to a typical guided meditation which uses speaking to guide practitioners. Sound meditation is thought to be a great way for newbie meditators to dip their toes into the practice. Think of it as a more intentional take on listening to music after a stressful day at work.
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Going into a sound bath is similar to walking into a beginner’s yoga class. Practitioners can expect a calming, quiet environment. A facilitator will sit at the front of the room and play different instruments. Many start with crystal or Himalayan singing bowls, which create a low, droning sound to act as background noise. Some facilitators will also use chimes or even a guitar. These sounds will have less rhythm and melody than a song and will be more tonal and drawn out.
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While the sounds are being played by the facilitator, practitioners are typically in a restorative position, such as savasana — laying on your back, arms and legs flat on the floor — or sitting on a meditation cushion. Facilitators will instruct you when to close your eyes or soften your gaze.
The experience is entirely sensory. The sounds will naturally evoke a response in the practitioner’s body. Aside from physically feeling the vibrations — similar to how you might feel vibrations in your body from the bass at a loud concert — some sounds may feel more peaceful and others may not sound pleasing to the practitioner and they may experience a negative reaction.
Why Should I try one?
Lindsay explains that this type of meditation can be extremely beneficial to anyone who is experiencing high amounts of stress or tension — and uh, who isn’t these days?
Setting aside time to intentionally meditate, focus on your breathing, and use sound as a way to clear your mind is a great stress reliever. So often, without even realizing it, we hold onto stress in our body — this is your sign to unclench your jaw and lower your shoulders away from your ears — and sound meditation carves out time in the day to relax the body and allow that stress to release.
Lindsay has seen all different reactions to sound baths. For some, they leave feeling lighter and more relaxed. Some, however, have an extremely cathartic reaction, being brought to tears, finally releasing the stress they’ve been holding on to.
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Meditation can also help to get a good night’s sleep, especially as it is a time of relaxed thoughts and doesn’t involve looking at any screens. It can also help people think more creatively. Reducing stressful thoughts allows room for creative ideas to grow and flourish. Lindsay explains how this sort of relaxation technique brings the body to the “rest and digest” state, where your body restores its natural rhythm. The mind can process thoughts and the body can digest and do all of that routine maintenance it may not be doing while in a stressed state.
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Where Can I Experience a Sound Bath?
There are many options to check out when it comes to sound meditation in Hudson County. Check your favorite yoga studio and see if they offer a class, or check out one of these studios:
Yoga Renew | 12 Hudson Street, Hoboken
Urban Souls | 100 Hudson Street, Hoboken
Asana Soul Practice | 411 Jefferson Street, Hoboken + 124 1st Street, Jersey City
The Angel Haven | 50 Harrison Street, Hoboken
TSM Healing Center | 61 Beach Street, Jersey City
Urban Sadhu Yoga | 171 Newark Avenue + 275 Grove Street, Jersey City
Sol Spirit | 523 Palisade Avenue Jersey City
Mastani Holistic Center | 2 Marine View Plaza, Hoboken
Yishi Healing at Hudson Healing Arts | 51 Newark Avenue, Hoboken