THE DYNAMIC HEALING OF SOUND BOWL “YINTEGRATION” YOGA
By: Atali Samuel, Owner of Happy Hour Yoga + Meditation Studio
If you are fatigued, energy-depleted, experiencing chronic pain or over-stimulated with a racing mind, Sound Bowl “Yintegration” Yoga was created for you. I developed this integrated practice as a result of observing my yoga students struggle to relax in my passive Yin Yoga classes. Regardless of the cues and adjustments to help breathe, unwind, and release – they resisted – open eyes scanning the studio, tapping tense fingers, and straining their fidgety limbs. I realized they needed something easy yet powerful to calm their monkey minds, something to focus on other than the sensations of the body and a rhythmic breathing pattern.
After playing my Tibetan bowls for a local meditation studio, I witnessed the powerful effect of the sound bowl frequencies. The meditation students stayed on their mats for ten minutes after the session ended, completely awake yet naturally still, savoring the effects of their weightless bodies and deeply relaxed minds. The idea of offering the combined static-style physical practice with the ancient healing sound frequencies of the bowls came to me in that moment. While I didn’t invent the uniting of sound healing and passive stretching, having enjoyed a similar class a year prior, I was inspired to offer my version using Tibetan metal bowls after my student reported that her neck, which had been aching for months, felt pain-free after the sound bath. Students usually choose a supine or seated meditation posture during a sound bath, thus adding the sound element to the same session decreases time it takes to unwind into the poses for full relaxation. The soothing tones help navigate the students’ minds to free-fall into stillness, and the body naturally follows suit.
Yin yoga was developed in 1970 by martial arts expert and Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zink. The passive format is based on a unique style originating from the ancient Taoist health practices, philosophy, and spiritual traditions of China. The art of yin yoga incorporates helpful breathing techniques with restorative floor postures to encourage healthy alignment, improve circulation, decrease stress and clear energetic blockages.
Yin is all about relaxation, meditation, deep stretches and more importantly, patience. It is as much a cerebral practice as it is a static form of yoga, versus “yang” yoga, its dynamic counterpart, which includes vinyasa, ashtanga, kundalini and other forms for movement-based flows. The main difference between yin and yang forms is the recommended focus and encouragement to NOT contract the muscles. All parts of the body should be completely relaxed in order to soften into flexibly and deep healing.
Don’t let this passive practice fool you, it is considered a challenging format, for both the body and mind. Practitioners maintain each floor posture for 3-7 minutes, sometimes up to 20 minutes while using breath control to relax into the intensity of the stretch. The practice style was established to benefit deep connective tissue between the muscles and fascia in order to develop flexibility and ease tension. This also helps stimulate vitality so that blockages can be released to improve energy flow around the body. Along with reducing rigidity it encourages a sensation of release and “letting go”, ultimately, one can physically and emotionally surrender what is no longer serving them.
One of my beloved yoga mentors once said, “the future of healing is sound”. This ancient wisdom, the science of how sound vibrations affect brainwaves, is researched and proven today within thousands of published medical studies. Most of the previous research in the area of music focused on emotional effects. Music therapy explains a bit more but is limited to certain types of music and specific categories of issues. We now know that the area of sound healing can enhance mental clarity, learning, productivity, creativity and sleep. Research such as that of Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, the Founder/Director of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research in Carlsbad, California, a research center which is realizing the vision of “healing the body, heart, mind and spirit through the scientific application of sound” shows that when one resonates with your “root soul frequency” all of the organs and systems in the body fall into alignment. The rise of “brainwave entertainment” further verifies the research regarding brain hemisphere synchronicity.
Many proven experiments using EEG (electroencephalography) show that our brains resonate to any frequency that matches various brainwave states (alpha, theta, delta, etc.). Research also reveals a major breakthrough, when listening with headphones, binaural beat frequencies synchronize the left and right brain. Most people rarely have the left and right brain synchronized throughout the day. We now have scientific evidence that you can use sound waves to entrain the brain into high states of meditation by creating brainwave maps that mimic those of seasoned meditators.
With all this evidence, it makes sense that students feel completely zen and euphorically blissed out after being immersed in a sound bath. Many of my students reported the sensation of “floating” and complete stillness after their 60-minute session. Every cellular and synaptic aspect of their physiology and psychology is being bathed in sound frequency and resonant vibrations. The bowls are not only heard, they are also felt when the I play the chakra-specific bowls near, around, and on the physical body and its energy fields.
As a result of integrating yin yoga postures while immersing oneself into the theta-boosting frequency of a Tibetan sound bowl “bath”, the brain immediately synchronizes the hemispheres to enter a meditative state of deep relaxation and restoration. Students report feeling more open, aware, creative, and clear after a session.
I developed “Yintegration” Yoga is the quintessential “game-changer” practice suitable for all beginner and advanced practitioners. It is a valuable format for any individual regardless of age, fitness level, injury or illness. I find that athletes with over-contracted muscle struggle the most with this format, due to their decreased flexibility and mobility. However, it is a vital adjunct activity to balance out aerobic and anaerobic forms of training. “Yintegration” Yoga is also the perfect practice for the “Type-A” personalities who can’t seem to still their “monkey” mind. This format is an easy way to learn the basics of stilling the self and being fully present in a meditative state.
I invite you to take the healing path of least resistance and achieve two goals with one tranquil effort. Join me at the Cosmic Yogi Festival on Saturday at the Addison Conference Center, November 10th for a 50-minute Tibetan Sound Bowl “Yintegration” Yoga class, or schedule a solo or small group session at Happy Hour Yoga + Meditation Studio in Plano.
I look forward to serving you zen, one happy hour at a time.
Be Well + Namaste
More about Atali Samuel
Atali Samuel is a RYT 500, E-RYT 200, CHHC and Founder of Happy Hour Yoga + Meditation Studio. She is classically educated in both India and Dallas with over 800 hours of certified training and 1,000+ teaching hours. Atali firmly believes, as evident in
thousands of scientific journals, that yoga and sound meditation can completely rewire our being, reprogram our health and improve our state of mind. She spent over fifteen years studying ancient healing modalities including multiple forms of yoga, meditation, herbalism and traditional Ayurveda. Happy Hour Yoga + Meditation Studio was created to empower others to feel truly nurtured, accepted, and safe.