gong bath: a beginners’ guide

What is a gong bath? What are the benefits? What should I expect? Can gong bath meditations heal ailments? Well-known sound healer, Leo Cosendai delves into this popular style of sound healing meditation with his beginners’ guide to gong baths – an interesting read for both the novice and frequent bather. Join Leo for a gong bath or two throughout 2020 – booking details for his triyoga events are shared below. 

What is a gong bath?
Gong meditation could be thought of as just another fad activity but it is not. Gongs have been used as shamanic healing tools, celebratory instruments and a method of communication for thousands of years, and are undoubtedly part of the tradition that is sound healing, which uses techniques such as chanting, drums and Tibetan bowls to name few. A gong bath is a form of sound healing meditation growing in popularity as a modern healing technique. It is referred to as a bath due to participants being immersed in the vibrations of the instruments during a session. No knowledge or experience is required and it can be viewed as a form of meditation accessible to everyone, rather than a chore or another item on your to-do list.

Participants lay down comfortably under a blanket and the gong session is often preceded by breathing exercises or mantra chanting to relax and prepare you for the experience. The gongs are then gradually introduced and the vibrations of the gongs are absorbed throughout the entire body, which can help shift stagnant energies. Other sound healing tools such as crystal bowls, chimes, drums, and rattles may also be used to create a diverse soundscape. Gong baths are often described as having transformational effects on body, mind, and spirit. The best way to understand is to experience it.

What are the benefits of a gong bath?
When something within us is out of tune it can cause dis-ease to arise in our bodies. Factors such as stress, anger, trauma and environment in our daily lives may negatively impact us which can then manifest on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. The vibrations produced in a gong bath help to “tune” your body and therefore aid in restoring harmony and resonance throughout.

Another process that takes place is entrainment – the synchronisation of our fluctuating brainwaves with the stable frequency of the gong, which our brains acclimate to and unify with. This can also help create overall harmony within our bodies.

The sound of a gong helps the brain reach deep relaxation – specifically the delta and theta brain wave states, which are the slowest brain waves in humans. We tend to reach these states during daydreaming or deep sleep, and they are known to aid relaxation, creativity and natural healing. Your brain will find it challenging to follow the sounds of the gong, so you will likely enter a deep meditative state at least once during the session.

Gong baths are highly rejuvenating for the body and bring about an overall sense of relaxation, which can reduce stress as well as help develop a better ability to cope with stress, help move emotional blockages from trauma, and even stimulate altered states of consciousness. They may also encourage greater overall stillness and contentment.

Sound healing can alleviate or cure many conditions such as:

– Anxiety disorder
– Stress
– Pain
– PTSD
– Mood swings or negative emotions
– Depression
– Psychological and behavioural disorders

It can also help manifest emotional and physical healing:

– Relaxation
– Improved memory and concentration
– Improved sleep
– Clarity and balance
– A healthier immune system
– Enhanced creativity
– Overall heightened awareness – of self and the environment

What should I expect during a gong bath?
Each person’s experience is, of course, unique but it’s possible for gong bathers to have a range of experiences from visions, to epiphanies, to creative solutions, and even psychedelic-like journeys. As gong baths are a mode of meditation through which the mind can become quiet, you may find that inspiration, new ideas, or breakthroughs come to you. You might like to have a journal with you to write down these thoughts afterwards.

The harmonics of the sound healing retune any emotional disharmony within us. You may experience a range of emotions and reactions such as laughing, crying, feeling scared or angry, and anything in between. Many people feel a sense of bliss and peace after a gong bath.

On a physical level, you might experience vibration in the body due to the intense and powerful sound-waves and vibrations produced during gong baths. Some people encounter this energetic clearing in the form of shaking or twitching in the body, usually through the hands and feet.

Click here to view Leo’s upcoming gong bath workshops at triyoga.

Leo will be offering a four-day training from 19th – 22nd October 2020. Please register your interest by emailing katie@triyoga.co.uk.

Learn more about gong bath meditation to reduce stress in the workplace from Leo’s interview on BBC World News (below). 

Leo is changing the way people interact with sound as well as how we all perceive music. His work in making meditation and sound baths accessible to all has gained him recognition as a leading voice in the wellness movement. You can find him on Instagram @leo.cosendai or on the web

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