The holidays are packed with stressful situations: finding the right gift for your significant other, balancing time with friends and family, rebuffing awkward advances from tipsy coworkers at the company Christmas party. But there’s one annual activity that blisses away that mishegoss: a sound bath.
You don't have to be a crunchy granola type to, like, connect with the universe, man. If your most spiritual moments have occurred at concerts as you're blasted with heavy metal or waves of ambient classical music, sound baths offered a similar sensation—without all the beard sweat. You don't even have to drive out to the Integratron, a bizarro desert haunt where you can bathe yourself in sound. This week, you can find a sound bath closer to home.
This Friday, the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock presents its Winter Solstice Sound Bath performed by Jamie Bechtold and Mary Frances Spencer. Using “planetary gongs,” crystal singing bowls, and reiki methods, the hour-and-a-half session aims to help people cast off negative energies that have accumulated while we're busily updating our iPhones operating system or circling for 25 minutes to find a parking spot.
For those who haven’t had a sound bath, here’s how it works. You typically sprawl out on the floor, close your eyes, and a sound artist creates various tones. The reverberations vacillate and waver, moving through your body. The sound bath is a pretty New Age-y concept, but the science is real. The sensation of being awash with sound waves is tangible, as anyone who has stood in front of a stack of guitar amps, or an orchestra that's tuning up can confirm. The sound bath is an introspective space where you can reflect on the past year, start planning the one to come, or zone out completely. It’s a space where you’re encouraged to unplug from the digital world and plugged into yourself.
If you've never attended before, here are four etiquette tips for your first sound bath.
- Do Not Snore: When you're reaching for enlightenment, there are few thing that are worse than being interrupted from by someone who's snorting like a piglet. If you are a confirmed snooter, pre-emptively turn on your side.
- Turn Off Your Phone: It's bad enough in a movie theater or a yoga class. Don’t be the jerk who ruins someone’s journey through the celestial spheres with your “No Diggity” ringtone.
- Chill When It’s Over: When the sound stops, the sonic bath is not over. The silence afterward is part of the experience, so don’t immediately stand up and start rustling through a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos.
- Don't Harsh Anyone's Mellow—Including Your Own: Everyone experiences a sound bath differently. If you’re not digging it, that's fine. But don't interrupt the person next to you; they might be interfacing with the infinite.