Ring in the new year with sound yoga

Sound has been used therapeutically in both complementary and allopathic medicine for many years. For example, ultrasound technology, which is inaudible, is ubiquitous in Western healthcare. Many yoga therapists are trained in other types of sound therapies, often musical ones. Sound in yoga therapy is generally intended to support rest, relaxation, and healing.

Sound therapy sessions can include many instruments, such as

  • Tibetan bowls,
  • chimes,
  • flutes,
  • drums,
  • gongs,
  • bells,
  • cymbals,
  • rainsticks,
  • shakers,
  • and more.

As Mauli Bavisker, C-IAYT, notes, 

[T]he role of sound and music in the process of growth, regeneration, healing, and integration has been observed since ancient times and cultures. It is not surprising that these ancient techniques are resurfacing, finding multiple expressions as new disciplines of sound healing and music therapy fused with current modern science.

Other forms of sound therapy

Other forms of sound therapy include chanting and even certain breathing practices. Whereas during a sound bath you would usually lie down and receive the therapy, in chanting and breathing practices you create or co-create the sound. 

Chanting as sound therapy uses the human voice, either just yours or many voices in a group, and mantra. Mantra is simply a sound, often repeated, that has meaning and is used in meditation. Sanskrit mantras can be sounds intended to resonate with specific areas of the physical or energetic body. They can also be kinds of prayers. And kirtan, the practice of call-and-response chanting, can be a wonderfully healing experience in a group.

A yoga breathing practice called brahmari, or bee breath, can also be a kind of sound therapy. This practice is so named because while exhaling you make a low hum, like a bee humming. The practice vibrates especially the head, including the face and sinuses, and can help to move congestion, among other benefits.

If you would like to explore some of these sound therapy practices, you can try this beginner-friendly Sanskrit mantra meditation or a sound bath. If you are interested in learning brahmari, here is a video to guide you. The relaxation and calm that sound therapy can offer is a great way to begin the new year!