What is a Meditation Sound Bath?
While there are so many different types of meditative practices out there—there is one that has been getting a particular amount of attention lately: meditation sound bath. This form of meditation has been around for quite some time—but has recently started growing in popularity.
From the outside, sound baths simply look like a large gathering of people who are taking a nap together while gongs and sounds play around them. This isn’t exactly what a sound bath is—it is a little more complex and has far more benefits than that.
So, what exactly is a sound bath? And how does it work? Take a look at some of the highlights below.
Meditation Sound Bath 101: Understanding the Basics
As the name suggests, meditative sound baths have a big auditory focus—but don’t worry, you don’t need to get wet or get in a bath to enjoy participate in this form of meditation. Simply put, a sound bath is a type of guided meditation glass that puts you in a deeply meditative state while you are surrounded by ambient sound.
Depending on the class, this sound may come from a recording, or it may be played live by an instructor. In order for the full effect to take place, sound bath meditation sessions need to be quite long. Many times, these sound baths last several hours.
The good news is, there are several ways that you can stay comfortable during this meditation session—as most classes have cushions, yoga mats or even padded mats out to help keep participants comfortable. However, don’t think that this type of meditation is simply a three-hour nap. If you have ever tried to meditate before, you know that keeping your mind quiet for this long can be difficult.
Fortunately, the sounds used in this meditative practice are designed to help you sustain this type of longer meditation so that you can really focus. This sound bath is meant to be immersive and to help you completely relax and rejuvenate the mind as you detach from technology and other distracting activities for several hours at a time.
All About the Sound
The main thing that differentiates sound baths from other forms of meditation of course is the constant use of sound. Sound baths don’t just play a musical recording in the background while you relax and attempt to meditate—they include different sounds, played for a distinct reason and purpose.
In most sound baths, crystal bowls, gemstone bowls, cymbals and gongs are used to create the noises—although some teachers may want to get creative and bring in other devices. The goal of each of these instruments is to create a different frequency that you aren’t just suppose to listen to—you are supposed to let it vibrate through your entire body.
This is where the term “bath” comes from.
As you let these vibrations go through your entire body, with different frequencies and rhythms, you can start getting in a more relaxed state and the vibrations will help guide you through your meditative practice.
The Stages of Meditation Sound Baths
The vibrations used during a sound bath meditation session are designed to bring you into different states of mind. There are a few different “states” that most sound bath teachers will discuss, and understanding these states can help you gain a better understanding of how the process works and what you can expect during these sessions.
- Beta State- This is your normal state of being, where you are alert and able to react and concentrate on things in front of you. During your sound bath—your instructor will attempt to shift you out of this state into different states of consciousness.
- Alpha State- This is most commonly the first state that instructors will try to get you to during a sound bath. This is a relaxed state of mind and one that encourages creativity.
- Theta State- This is the actual meditative state. It is beyond the alpha or beta state where your mind is actually engaging in real mindful meditation. This is the state you want to be in for most of your sound bath.
- Delta State- This state of consciousness is actually a type of deep sleep—which you may fall into during your sound bath. During this deep sleep you can benefit from restorative healing.
During a sound bath, your goal will be to eventually reach all of these states—but for many beginners, they may only enter into the alpha state or alpha and theta.
What to Expect With a Meditation Sound Bath
Like many different types of guided meditations—every meditation sound bath is unique and every experience can be different. In most situations, the instructor will help get you comfortable and then begin with basic breathwork before incorporating sounds. There are other types of sound bath experiences that also uses scent as part of the meditative process.
While no two sound bath experiences may be the same—you can expect to get some benefits from the sound bath experience. While a meditation sound bath can be time consuming and not always easy to find—they are a great experience for those who are either looking for a new type of meditation, beginners looking to relax, or those who want to take their meditative practices to the next level.
It can be challenging to meditate for this long—but if you are able to focus on the sounds and vibrations in front of you and on your breath and presence of mind, these vibrations can help guide you through the process.
While sound baths may not be for everyone, if you have been considering this form of meditation in the past and are looking to give it a try, you should explore the options in your area to see if sounds baths are available in your neighborhood.