(Today’s guest writer Octavia Drughi enlightens us on sound therapy through an interaction with teachers of the craft, Ayi and Michael)
Life is vibration. Everything around us vibrates, from the planets in the universe up to the last sub-atomic particles of you and me, each moving in its own pace, dancing to its own rhythm. Likewise, our bodies have their own unique frequencies.
It is when we begin to see the world around us as vibrations and frequencies that we understand how we are all connected. We are together in a sea of vibrations. Or, as physicist and leader of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Movement in the US John Hagelin calls it, a ‘unified field’.
I have always been fascinated with sound therapy and I strive to maintain those good vibrations around me every day. This is why I was thrilled to be given the chance to sit down and talk to the two founders of Shanti Sounds, Ayi and Michael.
Shanti Sounds is based in Nosara, on the Nicoya Peninsula of stunning Costa Rica, one of the world’s Blue Zones, where people live longer and happier than average. It is in that tropical paradise that they host Sound Journeys, which they describe as “inner journeys guided by numerous sounds, all with varying frequencies and vibrations… each resonating with different parts of the body. These tones can lead you into a state of total relaxation in which healing and connection to a higher consciousness can take place.”
Through sound and vibration, Shanti Sounds ‘massage’ the frequencies that surround us for a positive impact on our bodies and lives.
But first, what is sound healing?
Music therapy is no novelty. Sound healing dates back to ancient Greece, when music was used in an attempt to cure mental disorders. In Hinduism, chanting and reciting mantras go back thousands of years.
Just as the name implies, sound healing uses music to improve physical and mental well-being. You don’t have to be musically inclined to feel its power. Sound therapy can involve listening to music, singing along, moving or dancing to the beat, meditating against the sound of music, even composing music.
We’ve all seen how music and sound can set the mood, be it in your aerobics class, during a yoga session, when you’re in need of some motivation to get through the day, or when you simply want to relax and let go. Our minds and bodies react differently to different sounds. Sounds have the power to make us feel good. Or not. Take the humming noise of the big city or the clamor of a construction site. Those do not bring a smile to anyone’s face.
Sound alters our brainwaves. Through rhythm and frequency, we can shift from our normal beta state (normal waking consciousness associated with increased focus and sharper alertness) to alpha (a relaxed state at the borderline between the conscious and subconscious mind) and theta (a deep meditative state when internal healing can occur).
Sound helps induce relaxation, but it also has the power to hack into blockage areas. Certain sounds, rhythms, and vibrations can help us cope with or even recover from different ailments.
According to vibrational therapy, ailments occur when our body’s natural frequencies get out of tune. When parts of the body or mind are blocked or function with the improper frequency, they create an imbalance. Sound therapy works gently but powerfully to restore the body’s natural frequencies. When your body is vibrating at its optimum frequency, you are the peak of your well-being.
Awareness plays a huge role in our healing. Sound has the power to unblock certain areas of our bodies, but we need to be open and allow those changes to take place, as Ayi from Shanti Sounds explain.
Interview with Ayi and Michael from Shanti Sounds
Let’s meet Ayi Wong and Michael Mayzel, the sound healers who started Shanti Sounds.
Ayi is originally from Amsterdam, and followed her calling all the way to Costa Rica. She is an experienced sound healer, with a background in sacred geometry, Mystery School, meditation, and yoga teaching, who connects deeply through the sounds of crystal alchemy bowls, Tibetan bowls, crystal harps, gongs, chimes, and tuning forks.
Ayi, I understand that you create your music intuitively. But where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everything is sound and vibration…
Every time I facilitate a Sound Journey, an energetic sound field is opened that is shared. It is this field, together with the higher self of the person or collective group and the instruments, that guide me through a session…
To ‘know’ and judge what to do through the mind can be very limiting. To be receptive and follow the guidance of the field that is shared by the people and instruments leads to higher benefits for all. The only thing I do is to facilitate the space for people to connect to their self-healing mode.
Would you say that you are able to read an individual and create healing sounds according to their specific needs?
No, I cannot claim that I can read a person and then create specific sounds to bring them back to their balance. In this sense, I do not identify myself as a healer at all.
But, I am a strong believer in self-healing.
Everybody has the ability to heal himself or herself to most extent.
Self-healing is like a seed, a potential that everyone carries.
Somehow, we have lost our full access to this healing mode through various external and internal causes. Learning to connect to the deeper state of ‘rest’ in which the body can turn on that mode, seems not an easy task for everyone.
Learning to be receptive so that the body communicates with oneself is not always easy. On top of that, everyone has a different state of being in balance. There are many supportive ways to access this mode, and sound is just one of them.
Thus, I do not believe that there is a universal standard or sequence for everyone or every ‘imbalance’ in the body and mind.
To make a certain sound a healing one, it is not solely the instruments, but also the intention that is set for the player and, foremost, the intention that is set by the receiver. In a Shanti Sound Journey, we invite the receiver to engage in the journey by setting their intention.
Could you elaborate on your experience with sacred geometry and Mystery School? How did that help you with your sound healing practice?
Sacred geometry and Mystery School are different languages of meditation to connect to the self beyond the mind. Sacred geometry is encoded in shapes. Mystery School works with sacred geometry, teaching you how to be more receptive in a different language.
In addition, extensive Vipassana meditation, decades of yoga studies, a background in philosophy, studies in Ayurveda, Qigong, and bodywork have all helped with the practice of Sound.
In a nutshell, I may conclude that a life’s practice is all put into every Sound Journey.
Michael’s lifetime experience with various percussion instruments, martial arts, and Vedanta practice is brought to the joyous creations during Shanti Sound Journeys and to his Qigong teachings.
Michael, what determined you to start a daily meditation practice at such a young age (17)?
During my teenage years, I had experienced alternative states of consciousness… that were as real to me as the day-to-day waking state.
I just ‘knew’ that this day-to-day state, that we all function in, is not the only reality that exists.
There were various elements within life that gave me access to alternate states… one of the most influential being music.
I was intuitively drawn to meditation. It was something that, at 17, became obvious to me that I needed to pursue. It was not an intellectual understanding, but more a path of exploration that with no internal doubt whatsoever, needed to be pursued.
What is the link between martial arts and meditation? How do the both complement each other?
Both can share a path to deeper spiritual knowledge and of one’s true nature. Both demand your full attention to the present moment. One single-pointed attention.
Martial arts and meditation complement each other in so many ways. They truly go hand in hand. One is a more outward physical practice, the other is internally oriented. And yet, they both utilize an acute awareness of the present.
– Octavia Drughi
About the author
Octavia Drughi is a travel writer for the On & Beyond the Yoga Mat blog. A wanderer at heart, amateur yogi, and devoted rock climber, she embraces her passions as forms of self-expression. For Octavia, climbing and yoga are the dance of life itself.