The Power of Sound: Meditations In Sacred Spaces

The Power of Sound: Meditations In Sacred Spaces

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By Nikita Mehta

Yogis, we all know about the healing power of sound. We channel vibration with our ohms at the beginning and end of class, we look to the power of the harmonium and sitar to evoke the bhakti during chanting, and most of us enjoy a sound track during our flows. 

But the power of sound, full vibrational sound, during meditation, is an experience that some of you might not have experienced before. And if that’s true, not to worry! The Sound Healing Symphony will be holding space and delivering vibration on January 26th at Grace Cathedral, so that you can experience the magic of slipping into the third dimension via sound. 

SF Yoga Magazine attended last week’s Sound Healing Symphony at Saint John’s church in Los Angeles and we sat down with Guy Douglas and Simona Asinovski to find out the finer points of what makes this experience so magical. 

St. John’s Church was such an amazing location for this sound bath. How do you find the locations for these events?

We had the idea to do sound meditation in traditionally “sacred” venues— churches, temples, of any religion about two years ago. The acoustics in cathedrals are amazing. 

We’ve worked with five churches so far. Some we’ve reached out to, some were suggested by our community. Devin Hexner, who helps us with outreach, found this particular church in Los Angeles!

How many different instruments were being used during the meditation?

There are 30 - 40 different instruments that are used during each meditation. 

We have three 38” Paiste gongs being played from all sides of the room, and two sets of crystal singing bowls and Tibetan metal bowls. The crystal bowls were ordered to be tuned with each other. 

We also had Native American Flute, didgeridoo, Celtic Harp, vibraphone, ocean drums, Rainstick, Mbira, Tingshe chimes, Koshi chimes, bar chimes— and the human voice.

Each performer that night was incredibly talented, how did these musicians come together and decide to put on the event?

Guy Douglas handpicked all the musicians. We are incredibly grateful to work with this group of musicians. The idea for a larger, more collaborative experience came about last year, when we decided to form ‘The Sound Healing Symphony’. It really just came together!

Sound meditations are incredibly powerful and can conjure up a variety of experiences; what is the intention behind these events? What are you hoping the meditators leave with?

The intention behind these events is to offer relaxation. To give people time with themselves— without their thoughts but with their hearts. Sound Meditation is the most accessible form of deep meditation, and it can offer someone a meditative experience with little effort or experience. We hope this brings clarity and peace to our attendees. Most of all it’s about bringing community together.  

Is the meditation a long song that the musicians have rehearsed together or is it more freeform?

It’s very free form and improvised and we have never rehearsed. In addition to playing Guy conducts the group. All the sounds are acoustic, nothing is recorded. As we play more together, we feel it always improves, and the sounds becomes more symphonic.  

What should our readers, who are new to sound meditation bring with them for their first experience? What should they expect?

Sound Meditation is just like any form of meditation— at first, you’ll have thoughts coming in, but if you keep focusing on your breath they will eventually settle. It’s not uncommon to feel intense feelings, so if that happens, just breathe deeply. 

The more comfortable you are, the deeper you will go in the experience. So, bring a yoga mat, a blanket and maybe a pillow and/or something to cover your eyes! Get your tickets to the SF event here.

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