Gong meditation at Re:Mind
Twiggy Jalloh, beauty and lifestyle assistant
I’m quite the wellness obsessive, so if I hear of a holistic treatment promising to alleviate my anxiety or simply bring a little bit of calm to my busy days, I’m there.
As I walked into the Re:Mind Studios for a gong sound bath, I instantly felt a sense of peace. I was gently welcomed with the herbaceous smell of sage. This set a blissful and meditative tone for the rest of the evening straight away.
The room was dimly lit as we lay down and snuggled up underneath our blankets. We each had an organic buckwheat bolster pillow for our necks and feet, as well as a flaxseed eye pillow; they really did think of everything. I felt relaxed before the gongs had even started.
When our instructor began to hit the gong I felt a sense of serenity. And as she continued, the sounds of the gong almost took physical form; it was as though my body was returning to itself as the sound waved through the air and into my body. My insides steadily vibrated as the sounds flowed through me. It was an unfamiliar feeling that I never knew I would enjoy so much.
At the end I felt more connected with myself, and light. The closest thing I can compare it to is the feeling I have after a long, luxurious, full-body massage. Serenity. The tasks that had worried me before I came into Re:Mind didn’t worry me so much afterwards, I felt like I could handle it.
3 Vogue Editors Share Their Morning Routines
Crystal singing bowls with Sound Sebastien
Lisa Niven-Phillips, online beauty editor
I am the sort of person that really struggles to do only one thing at once: I listen to podcasts while I type emails, paint my nails whilst I watch films and save phone calls for whilst I’m walking home from the tube to avoid “wasting” time on just one activity. So the idea of a sound bath has always made me feel antsy.
But when a friend, Jasmine Hemsley, put on a run of sound baths as part of Sound Sebastien, which she co-founded with Toni Dicks in 2016, I was intrigued. Jasmine and Toni use crystal singing bowls in their sound baths, which are “played” whilst attendees lie on the ground and relax. After a long day at work I was more than happy to be tucked under some blankets with a lavender-scented pillow over my eyes and felt calmer as soon as I was horizontal. I was also pleased that the vibe wasn't too - for want of a better phrase - "woo-woo", and was explained in a non-alienating way.
The sound of the crystal singing bowls is quite amazing: loud enough to remove any of the awkwardness of lying on the floor with a bunch of strangers, and so atmospheric. I find it really hard to reach a meditative state, but the mesmerising sound brought me as close as I’ve ever been to it.
After about 25 minutes I started to leave the more restful, trance-like state I’d managed to attain and became distracted by things around me. I sort of wanted to see the bowls being played and so I started peeking out from under my eye pillow, and then I started wondering whether I had left my Oyster card on my desk. I wasn’t bored, but I’d sort of reached my limit for doing nothing (which says more about me than the sound bath, I feel).
Ultimately I enjoyed the experience, and I can absolutely see how others get so much from sound baths; they really allow you to detach from the hectic pace of life for a little while. I did feel more relaxed afterwards - sort of spaced-out - but I think it would take time for me to work up to a full 45-minute session as my capacity to stay still is so small. Having said that, I’m determined to find some ways to switch off, and maybe this kind of thing is the perfect way to train my brain to slow down?
3 Vogue Editors On Their Wellness Resolutions For 2019
Third Ear meditation app
Poppy Roy, digital picture assistant
Having experienced all kinds of sound baths, from Tibetan bowls to pre-recorded binaural beats, I can confidently say that I am a fan. I love music and being immersed in sound, letting my mind drift and my body let go. Without fail I leave with a calm sense of satisfaction and a floaty, positive mood, followed by deep sleep.
Although they are becoming more popular and London has several, sound baths are a real luxury or simply inaccessible for many nationwide. This is where Leo Cosendai comes in. As a sound practitioner, Leo has been pioneering the sound bath movement for over eight years, and Third Ear is his digital baby: an app produced with the desire to bring sound meditation to everyone. The app itself is incredibly easy to navigate; with digestible tips, guided breath work and meditations.
If you have never tried guided meditation before, or if you got on well with the Headspace app, then the Daily Meditations Leo has created are an effective alternative, guiding you to slow down, relax into the present and let go. If you feel confident with meditation and breath work you can dive straight in to the app’s Sound Cave, which is where you will find the carefully curated soundscapes. There are many options to choose from, such as Tibetan bowls, crystal bowls, chimes and drums.
I chose to listen to a pre-recorded sound bath from one of Leo’s Sussex retreats, lying in my bedroom at home with the advised headphones on. Fully immersed, I was impressed with the sound quality. I quickly slipped into a relaxed state, observing the sounds and any thoughts that came up. Halfway through I may have become rather too relaxed, as no sooner had the audio begun, the lengthy sound bath was over. As I came to I was glad to be at home, with no public transport ahead of me.
A great aspect of Third Ear is that you can create ayn environment to suit you. I love to be comfortable, and this is a great way to create a ritual at home. Some find meditation difficult, but if for you the idea of sitting cross-legged in silence is far from relaxing, I would highly recommend this app.