I had never tried meditation or even dabbled in apps like Headspace or Calm, though I’d often thought I would benefit from some breath work and overall chill in my life. I was out of breath by the time I finally arrived at the right Edina barre studio (Barre3, to be exact!) at 7:00 on a recent Friday night for Kelly Smith’s “Sound Bath + Meditation” fusion class. As I swung the door open and blurted out my apologies for being late, a packed room of all women looked up from their mats and (mostly) smiled. The lights were already dim and the room was silent as I tiptoed to the last available spot in the back row, blanket and pillow in hand.
Once this straggler got settled, Kelly—founder of Yoga For You and host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast—welcomed everyone and asked us to raise our hand if this was our first time experiencing a sound bath. Every hand went up. Next, she motioned to a row of large white bowls at the front of the room. I thought I heard her refer to them as “the girls,” which made me cringe for a split second. She explained that the vibrations produced by these “crystal singing bowls,” as they’re called, are extremely soothing for the tissues in your body and help quiet the mind. She said the tones of each bowl affect the chakras (energy centers) in our bodies to help align our energy and reduce stress.
She then told us to lie down, snuggle under our blankets, and feel free to fall asleep because the sound of the bowls would “drown out any snoring.” From the moment she struck the first one, I was mesmerized, and for the next hour, transported far, far away in one of the most unique and relaxing experiences I’d had in a very long time.
With her soothing voice, Kelly narrated our guided meditation—through a lush green jungle, behind a waterfall, into a cave full of crystals—while simultaneously performing a symphony of sounds. I had the urge several times to open my eyes so I could behold the conductor and her orchestra of bowls, but I was caught in its spell.
Beyond a state of total relaxation throughout the class, I felt what I would describe as vibrations through my lower back and down the backs of my legs, two areas where I’ve had injuries in the past. It was remarkable the way these sound waves seemed to be targeting my literal pain points! The sensation reminded me of the treatments I’ve had at the chiropractor’s office when they attach electrodes to your muscles that emit those electrical pulses.
As we approached the final minutes of the class and Kelly started to lure us back to reality, I had another familiar sensation. It was like the end of a massage, when you’re anticipating (dreading) the moment the therapist tells you it’s over. After my first sound bath and meditation, I just wanted it to keep going for another hour.
Listen to Kelly Smith’s sound bath podcast episode here.
Experience a sound bath in person May 13, 7PM, at Blooma in Minneapolis.