First let me say this; none of these steps are necessary. I know, I know; this is a terrible way to start a blog article in which I try to get you to do some stuff, but I’ve got to be real, before I start doling out the advice 🙂
The truth is the most crucial step for a great gong bath is getting to the gong bath! If you come, it will work. No matter how you feel and what mood you are in, you are going to get benefits. Of this, I am positive.
Still, I am always looking for ways to make the experience more profound, and more beneficial. Such is my nature.
As your gong player, I do what I can to provide the best and deepest gong bath experience possible. From practicing intensively and virtually daily, to working on myself to ensure I am at a peak performance mental state, to my choices of equipment, the space in which I give the gong bath, and everything I can think of, I try to ensure your experience is singular and powerful. Whether you come one time in your life or are a weekly participant or somewhere in between, I want each bath to be truly meaningful for you.
But here is the thing. I can only do so much. This is a co-created experience between you and me. You as the participant have a lot of power in how your gong bath is going to go for you. As I said above, the biggest thing you can do is to show up.
But what if you could take a few simple steps right before the gong bath that would improve your experience 10 times over?Here are three easy and quick ways for you to supercharge your gong bath in 5 minutes or less just before the session starts.
The three steps I present to you are: Silence, Breath, Stretching. You can do any of these or all of these. You can do them for 1 minute or 5 minutes. Just focusing on them a little before a gong bath will prepare you for the journey and give you the value you deserve. Try any these today and see how effective they are and then use them at your next Bath!
1. Five Minutes of Silence
You arrive, say your hellos, find your spot, lay down and just close your eyes and let yourself think what you think and feel what you feel, in silence. It is as if the bath has already started for you. I will do my part and keep people from excessive chatter, and if you just lay there, even if you mind is racing with all the to-dos, relational issues and so forth, it will begin to slow down, and you will begin to sink into your mat in a comfortable and landed way. Your nervous system will adjust to being in the space, horizontal and relaxed. Ready for the bath.
2. Box Breathing Practice
Despite the rather unsexy name, box breathing is a simple and effective way to quiet your mind, connect with your body and ready yourself for a deep journey in sound.
1. Exhale slowly to the count of four. (I have been counting to six and it works better for me. Do what is comfortable for you.)
2. Keep your lungs fully exhaled for a count of four.
3. Inhale for a count of four. (Breathing through your nose directly into your belly is best, but don’t get hung up on the best initially. Just do it with awareness at first. Then you can refine it as you go along.)
4. Keep your lungs full for a count of four. (Think of yourself as a beachball. Just keep the breath casually held, with the least amount of stress possible.)
That’s it! Here is a simple video that will guide you through some box breathing. Try it for a few moments to see just how easy and effective it is.
Breath Pacing App: I have been using a breath pacing app to do what the video above does. I find this one to be a most wonderful way to use your device. My app of choice is Awesome Breathing (Android) (Iphone) Of course, you don’t need a device to breath or count, and so it works great just by counting and the counting comes with the added benefit of five minutes directed focus it takes to count inhalations, exhalations, and holding inhalations and exhalations. Like all meditations, expect to lose your focus and go into thought hypnosis. It’s ok. Just gently return to the practice.
5 minutes of this and you will be primed for sonic take off.
3. Sevan Easy Stretches.
This text was written by my friend Ralf Schultz of Soma Yoga in Freiburg. (Thanks, Ralf. These are excellent! We are blessed to have you in the community. I asked for simple, quick and effective stretches and you delivered the magic.)
A wonderful way to prepare for a Gong Bath is to begin by opening up the body by stretching the muscles and mobilising the joints, whilst synchronising the movement with breath. This is a simple but effective way to allow blocked energy to flow again more easily.
Even more importantly, we become receptive as if the whole body is one big ear (which it is anyway!). This is what really matters when you lay down in a gong bath. The outer vibrations of the gongs connect and merge with the vibrations of the inner subtle body which gives rise to an expansive field of healing.
When your body is already more open and receptive and the mind settled, the experience will likely be richer and more satisfying.
Here are some easy steps to follow:
1. Shake the whole body, especially the arms and legs. Loosen up the joints of the extremities. Don’t hold back – just shake everything off from the day. 3 min!
2. Stand with your feet a hip width apart and place your hands on the hips.
3. Rotate the pelvis clockwise in big circles for at least a minute, then change direction.Place your hands on the shoulders (right hand right shoulder, left hand left shoulder) and make big circles with the elbows. Try to touch the elbows in front of the chest and bring them as far as back as possible (shoulder blades coming near)
4. Whilst placing both hands on your shoulders as in number 3, rotate in both directions. Synchronise the breath with the movement, inhale rotating back, exhale rotating the elbows forward.
5. Bring both arms up and interlace the fingers. Slowly bend to the right. Hold and breath into the open ribcage at least 5 deep Breaths, then change side.
6. Stand with slightly bent knees and slowly roll down into a forward bend and allow yourself to hang out without trying to reach the floor. Then slowly roll up again. When standing bend slightly backward, hands on the hips, without compressing the lower back, open up the chest instead. Then roll down again. Do at least 3 times. (Alan’s note: Back in my corporate days, I did this practice in the restroom before stressful presentations. It helped me IMMENSELY to relax and get focused)
7. Stand with your feet a hip width apart and let your hang to the sides. With your arms relaxed, swing them from side to side so that you rotate the spine. Initiate movement from the centre of the pelvis. 2-3 min.
Enjoy the gong bath!