Sara Auster, one of the rockstars of New York City’s booming sound bath scene, has generously offered up a five-minute crystal singing bowls recording for Well+Good readers. Here, she explains how to experience a deeply healing sound session on your own.
When times are challenging, it can be difficult to engage with the usual activities and routines that support and nourish. Those, however, are the times when self care is most valuable.
Sound is an easily accessible tool that can help to achieve subtle shifts and powerful transformations. It can bring balance, relaxation, and a sense of wholeness to the body and mind. It reaches us on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
A sound bath supports states of deep relaxation, where stress release and healing can occur.
A sound bath is an improvised meditative concert that supports states of deep relaxation, where stress release and healing can occur. This experience can provide many of meditation’s benefits, without the discipline—such as increased focus and clarity, decreased anxiety, stress relief, and a heightened capacity for empathy.
Below is a five-minute, anxiety-reducing sound bath you can listen to anywhere. But before you press play, keep reading for Auster’s advice on setting up your own sound session.
1. Close your eyes for a moment and listen.
See if you can notice the sounds in the room and outside of the room. Trying to fight the sounds is unlikely to work. The sounds are not going to go away because you don’t like them. If you respond aggressively to them, then you are just getting yourself into a fight that you cannot win.
2. Call to mind the living, breathing, feeling human beings behind the noises and sounds you hear and wish them well.
Accept these sounds as part of your meditation practice. Stay loosely focused on your breathing, and let the sound be a secondary focus of the practice. If you can stop seeing the sound as the enemy of the practice and instead see it as part of the practice, then the conflict will start to dissolve.
3. Let the sounds you hear be your anchor to the present moment.
Don’t judge what you hear or analyze the sounds, just listen, observe and experience them. If you become restless or impatient, notice these feelings and allow them, but do not react to them.
Stick with this for at least five minutes and notice how your awareness has shifted.
To see Auster IRL in New York City:
• Saturday Sound Bath, November 12, 7–8:30 p.m., Twisted Trunk Yoga, 580 Broadway, New York, NY, 10012, (212) 334-9960, $40 in advance and $45 day of, twistedtrunkyoga.com
• Restorative Yoga + Sound Bath, November 19, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Sky Ting Yoga, 55 Chrystie St., New York, NY, 10002, (212) 203-5786, $40 skyting.com
• MNDFL Sound Bath, weekly on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., $25, MNDFL, 10 East 8th St., New York, NY, 10003, (212) 477-0487, mndflmeditation.com