By Grace West
On Ocracoke Island, fall and winter is a time to slow down for locals who have worked their tails off during the summer months.
Many opportunities exist in the off season to enjoy nature and learn more about the island, attend a variety of yoga classes, music venues and other activities.
New this fall is an opportunity to experience sound meditation at the Little Rituals shop in Spencer’s Market.
What is sound meditation?
As our very fast pace of life increases, so does stress and the need to find stress relief. Meditation is a stress reliever and works to help train your mind to focus on a particular object, thought or activity that in turn brings mental clarity and relaxation.
During a sound meditation session, a practitioner uses instruments that provide tones rather than melodies to help bring you into a meditative state of wellbeing. These tonal instruments can include gongs, drums, singing and crystal bowls, chimes and even the human voice.
Sound meditation is sometimes called “sound bath” because the vibrations of sound surround you and can lead to a feeling of being held.
Recipients of sound meditation often say they feel like they are floating during a session. Sound meditation is a way to slow down, get back in touch with your body and experience deep relaxation.
There is research showing that sound meditation lowers both blood pressure and heart rate which results in a shift in brain waves to a state of deep relaxation which then lowers anxiety, depression, and even physical pain. (soundmeditation.com; himalayanacademyofsound.com; vibrationalsoundassociation.com).
When sound meditation originated and how exactly it works is unknown.
The roots of using sound therapeutically date back to the ancient cultures of China, Tibet, Egypt and Australia.
What can you expect?
Brooke German, sound meditation practitioner, has a gathering space: a quiet place set up with mats and bolsters to sit or lie down on.
German is a musician and plays cello in her Brooke and Nick Americana folk duo.
Her inspiration comes from Alexander Tannous (soundmeditation.com) and through workshops and study with the founder of the Academy of Sound: Yogi Bahnu.
Experimentally, German explains she has gained a lot of knowledge from her immersion in numerous sound meditations while living in Asheville.
Her love of and being attuned to the power of sound informs her choices about when to play specific instruments and when to allow for silence.
After an hour, German’s voice leads you gently back into the present.
I left basking in a spacious awareness of my body and surroundings.
As I gazed up into the starlit night sky, it seemed only too apt to see a shooting star and feel the wonder of nature and this small island where so many talented people share their gifts.
I highly recommend both the small group sound mediation and the one-on-one sound massage which German offers.
Pre-registration is required for Sound Meditation from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays. To sign up, visit the Little Rituals shop, or call 757-275-6897 or email email@example.com; $35 visitors, $25 locals.