CONVERSATIONS AT THE SANCTUARY: Connecting Through Breath And Sound
The breath is our most constant mirror, reflecting how we feel. Kundalini Meditation teacher, Rie Komiya, and Reiki teacher, Elaine Yang, walk us through how breathwork, meditation, and sound healing allows us to journey inwards and connect with our inner being
What is breathwork and how is it different from the way we breathe daily? What is vocal toning and what are its benefits? And how do these tie in with sound healing?
Breathing might seem like a basic function – after all, we have to keep breathing continuously in order to stay alive. Ironically, many of us don’t know how to breathe without chronic muscular constriction or subconscious holding patterns.
Interestingly, it is our breath that shows us, in the simplest of ways, who we are – and where we’re at. By learning to bring our breath to the centre of attention and focus our awareness on breathing more effectively, we become more aware of the subtleties within our mind, body, and nervous system.
Breath and Sound is a highly experiential workshop which brings together different healing modalities – breathwork, vocal toning, and sound therapy, to provide a safe space for participants to enter deep rest while consciously connecting with the breath. This gentle and supportive process allows us to check in with our feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations, providing the opportunity to take in what is nourishing, while letting go of what no longer serves us.
“Think of it as a restful and cleansing reboot for your body and mind,” say Rie and Elaine. Here, they share more about how breathwork and sound therapy can be harnessed as a way to balance out our body’s energy.
QN: TELL US MORE ABOUT BREATH AND SOUND, WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE TWO-HOUR SESSION?
RIE: Breath and Sound is a two-hour session that stimulates your senses and brings you back into balance. Beginning with a 30-minute pranayama to help you relax and ground, we then transition to a 60-minute sound experience, featuring the music of crystal singing bowls and vocal toning. The basis of sound healing is that everything in the universe is in a constant state of vibration, including our organs, cells, and bodily tissues. When our vibration is out of sync with our body’s optimal frequency, we can feel imbalanced and out of sorts. During the Breath and Sound session, the vibrations of the crystal bowls will touch your body, mind and soul, bringing about a healthy and resonant vibration that allows you to experience healing in every cell.
QN: HOW DID THE BIRTH OF THIS BREATH AND SOUND HEALING WORKSHOP COME ABOUT?
RIE: The collaboration evolved very organically through our conversations. We wanted to share the benefits of sound therapy with more practitioners and we knew right from the beginning that we would be using crystal bowls. As a Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher, I teach breathwork regularly to my students – it is a highly effective tool which allows us to connect our mind, body, and soul. I strongly feel that breathwork is a great complement to sound baths as it helps us to relax, centre, destress, and reset our mental and physical habits.
During the sound bath, you may or may not reach meditative state through breathwork, but this state of deep relaxation allows for anxiety and tension to be reduced, while the immune system gets boosted.
QN: SOUND THERAPY IS SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS “VIBRATIONAL MEDICINE”. WHY DOES IT HAVE SUCH A POWERFUL EFFECT ON OUR EMOTIONS AND WELL-BEING?
RIE: More than 70 per cent of our body is made of water. This allows sound waves to permeate us at a cellular level, creating changes in us through vibrational energy. These sounds stimulate the parasympathetic nerve system, which brings about a sense of calm, relaxation, and healing to our being. When we are in a deeply relaxed state, our body’s innate wisdom to bring itself back to balance, is maximised.
We choose to work with crystal bowls because we love them! We deeply resonate with them, too.
QN: THIS WORKSHOP SOUNDS INCREDIBLY RESTORATIVE – IF IS OKAY FOR PEOPLE TO FALL ASLEEP DURING THE SESSION?
ELAINE: Some people stay awake during the sound bath, while others doze off at various times during the session. Many experience deep rest and describe it as feeling as though they had a really long nap, because it often feels like the body has gone through a reset.
In some instances, there may be an emotional release if the “readiness” is there – essentially, whatever the body needs and is ready to do, in order to move into a more balanced state, will holistically happen.
QN: HOW OFTEN SHOULD PRACTITIONERS ATTEND BREATH AND SOUND SESSIONS?
RIE: Come as often as you feel the need to destress or go within yourself. Everyone is welcomed (although it might be a bit too long for young kids). It really doesn’t matter if you doze off during the session, it’s perfectly fine. In fact, some participants have shared that they experienced the release of long-term pain through the deep relaxation. Others have benefited from acquiring a heightened awareness and gained a better sense of well-being.
ELAINE: Yes, participate as frequently as you like – there’s no hard and fast rule to this as you’ll benefit from every session in exactly the way you need to, in that very moment.