Interview with Denae Richards
“Sound moves energy it’s a very poignant connection to an energy of pure love. “
Dallas Yoga Magazine is so excited to interview our friend Denae Richards. Denae is the type of person who you meet, and you love instantly. She is a sound meditation facilitator and holistic therapist using sound therapy to heal. Denae’s sound meditations are unique utilizing her gongs, Tibetan bowls, crystal bowls, chimes, and ocean drums to name only a few. For those who have a difficult time meditating with their eyes closed, she has a beautiful display of lights on the ceiling for a calming relaxing effect. Denae’s meditation class at the Cosmic Yogi festival in November was one of the most popular of the day and we are looking forward to her coming to our summer Cosmic Yogi Festival for all to enjoy again.
Explain to everyone what sound meditation is to you?
Denae: Each sound meditation is an individual journey and is different for each person. The sound frequencies facilitate resolutions for different scenarios. For example, maybe you want a deeper meditation practice – the frequencies with these instruments will take you on a deeper meditation. Perhaps you are beginning your meditation practice – sound helps settle the busy mind and sets the stage for a meditation. Maybe you have some physical pain points – these sound frequencies are penetrating the body on a cellular level and many people report that they felt heat or vibration and ultimately relief in that area. Sound moves energy….emotions are energy so, often, people experience a deep profound movement in their emotional state.
For me, it’s a very poignant connection to an energy of pure love. I feel it running through me as I play these instruments.
How did you get started/motivated to start facilitating sound meditation? Did you have anyone guiding you? Did you take any courses/classes?
Denae: In 2014 and 2015, I lead a group call Souls2Gather where I collaborated with different healers. We created workshops to introduce the healing arts on a very basic level to seekers. One of my workshops was Sound Healing 101 with Kenny Kolter. After experiencing gong meditation for the first time, I asked Kenny to do a workshop with me. Part of that involve research on the history of sound healing. I was yanked right out of my shoes with awe as I read and studied the power of sound in our history. I started with one gong and a lesson with Kenny who I adore. I did this for myself with no intention of facilitating groups. Kenny became very busy and went on an extended trip to Illinois, so I researched and found a Gong Master by the name of MetabBenton who put out a DVD and book on Gong Yoga – I studied his book and DVD teachings. One gong turned into a 2nd and then a 3rd gong plus many other instruments. Then I started getting requests to facilitate groups and individual sessions. This past year, one of my other gong mentors, Lisa “Gonster” Lippincott out of Scottsdale, Arizona recommended I get a sound healing certification through the school she attended. I enrolled in the Globe Sound Institute and learned and experienced so much more than I expected. It really helped me with understanding more about frequency and how to work with people using frequency. I completed my coursework with a 4.0 GPA in August 2017 and now have a certification in Sound Healing, Sound Therapy & Vibroacoustic Therapy.
You use the gong as your primary sound during meditation, what other instruments, bowls, drums do you use?
Denae: Let’s see… In addition to my 3 gongs, I have 7 Tibetan bowls, two crystal bowls, 4 Koshi chimes, and an ocean drum that I use on a regular basis. I also occasionally use chakra chimes, digeridoos, indigenous flute from Peru and my voice. The voice is our number 1 best sound healing tool. I’m still getting comfortable using my voice. In my last workshop, I was flattered when one of my regulars asked me to please sing.
My favorite is the ocean drum…where did you first hear the ocean drum and decide to incorporate it into your sessions?
Denae: In March of 2016, I hosted an overnight Gongpalooza with two of my gong friends. We were drawn together because we each had a Meinl Flower of Life Gong – the only 3 in the United States. My friends Lisa “Gongster” had on Ocean Drum she used, and I fell in love with the soothing sound and knew I wanted to incorporate it in my sessions as well.
You do Yoga Nidra with Peggy Breeze. Can you explain what this is and what happens during this class?
Denae: Yoga Nidra is a very deep practice. As an experienced yoga instructor and ayurvedic practitioner, Peggy has been guiding students in Yoga Nidra for many years. Early on I wanted to collaborate with someone who taught Yoga Nidra because I felt the two practices together would really take people on a special healing journey.
In Peggy’s Yoga Nidra, she guides you through your body, relaxing every body part one limb at a time. This essentially puts you in a trance state where your body is asleep while you are awake. In this state, your body is resting even more than when you are sleeping. Adding sound frequency to this practice really facilitates deep physical and emotional healing.
I play a bit differently during this class – the sounds are a bit more quiet and are more in the background as Peggy is guiding the meditation with her voice.
What research has been published that you are familiar with regarding the healing effects of sound meditation?
Denae: Today there is a lot of research & information published on the effects of sound on the body and more comes out each year. As a matter of fact, I dedicate a page on my website where you can find articles, documentaries and books on sound healing.
One of my favorite and (I think) most informative articles in reference to Vibroacoustic Therapy is by Deb Wellmes, 7 Health Benefits of Vibroacoustic Therapy.
To be fair to the instrumentation side of the equation, a very relevant article regarding sound healing with instruments – Is Sound Healing the Next Wave in Holistic Therapy? By Deepa Venkatraman featuring one of my sound mentors, Dr. Jeffrey Thompson
You have a new table (I don’t know what you call it…LOL) for your clients. Can you tell us about the table and everything that is involved with a private session?
Denae: LOL… I call it the V-Bed or Vibroacoustic Table. Which I referenced in the article above. It is essentially a massage table with 4 transducers attached to the bottom. The transducers and the music are the key to the healing process. The music is produced specifically for vibroacoustic healing. Realizing the principal that everything is vibration/frequency, the music is produced with specific frequencies imbedded. Different songs have different frequencies imbedded. Everything in our being (healthy or unhealthy) vibrates at a specific frequency. For example, the frequency of an unhealthy thyroid is vibrating lower than the frequency of a healthy thyroid. Using the frequency of the healthy thyroid via the V-Bed, we can help raise the vibration of the unhealthy thyroid. Imagine that for basically any disease, physical pain or emotion.
I have a library of over 250 songs with various frequencies including a frequency for hangovers! LOL
The frequencies, I use at festivals are basically relaxation and restful sleep frequencies so that people can experience the V-Bed. When I work with clients, there is more involved as we try to get to the root through the back story and what is going on around the specific complaint. Sometimes it takes multiple sessions, but often significant relief is achieved within a session. I like to really understand my clients from a holistic perspective – what is their life like, how is their diet, how is their physical regimen and how is their spiritual connection. Then we can address things on a much deeper level.
In a session, I combine the V-Bed with Reiki, essential oils, colors and some of my instruments depending on what the client is open to. When you get on the V-Bed, you are fully clothed. I always ask people to wear loose comfortable clothes. You have the option of using a blanket if you tend to get cold. Post session, I always stay in touch to see how they are integrating the session.
If you could say one thing to someone who has never experienced sound meditation, what would you say?
Denae: I would encourage them to explore the experience. I would venture to guess 90% of people who experience sound for the first time return for more. There are many practitioners around the DFW area offering group sound experiences. I offer several sessions each month in various venues around Dallas. Mention this article, and I will offer 25% off on a private session.
How can everyone get in contact with you to make an appointment? Where can they find your class schedule?
Denae: My class schedule is always on my website www.denaerichards.com. They can also sign up for my monthly email which includes my schedule plus other interesting sound & frequency information. Soon, they will be able to book directly on my website.
I’m also on social media and events are listed on Facebook.com/holisticsoundslife and on meetup.com/Holistic-Sounds
They can always call me directly at 214-531-3514.