Gong baths are an enigma. On one hand they seem so special, exotic even. On the other hand, they create profound shifts in the quality of our lives.
The challenge is to see a gong bath, not as something totally strange, but something that can be a regular part of life. Because of the special nature of gong baths, many of us, including me, have associated them with special events. Something to do on full moons, new moons, new years and so on. Something to do once or twice, but not more.
Why not do them regularly if the results of attending are easy to get and profound? Why not come regularly if they offer an affordable means of deep relaxation, and regular self-reflection that results in a better life?
Why not have a gong bath practice?
I am interviewing some super smart people who have figured this out. These are people who treat gong baths, not as a special event to come to only on the full moon, but routinely.
Here is the story of Kristina Ferenchuk, a jeweler based in Zurich. She has been going to gong baths regularly for almost 10 years. Here is her story.
We met recently at her studio for the interview. I was so impressed by the beauty of her work that I bought a few pieces for my wife for her birthday. They are now her favorites 🙂
Anyway, here is our interview. Enjoy.
Alan: Let’s talk about the first time you went to a gong bath.
Kristina: It was in London in 2014. I had been living there for three years. I was studying jewelry design at the university.
I took the move a lot harder than I expected to. Psychologically, I was not coping very well. I would have panic attacks. I couldn’t sleep well. In general, I just wasn’t doing so well.
That was when I first discovered yoga and then I discovered gong baths.
Alan: How did the gongs help?
Kristina: I tend to hold a lot of emotions in my body. When I came to a gong bath, even the first session, I felt like it just cleansed me of this. I felt that the stuck energy was now moving through my body.
Alan: Then you became a regular. What keeps returning?
Kristina: At first, I went because it helped me to survive. And then, along with yoga, I started feeling better and better. I began to feel adjusted to London. Then it stopped being a survival thing. It was more something that I was just exploring. I thought what if I keep going? How will it change my life? Not because I need it to save me from the pain or save me from the anxiety? So I just kept going because I was curious to see if I also went when I was feeling great, what it would do for me.
Alan: How did it change?
Kristina: It felt amazing. It felt so calm and relaxed every time. . My nervous system was so deeply relaxed. It was surprising that I was so calm in London.. That never happened to me in London, because London is so stimulating.
That is why I kept going even though I felt better. I kept going because I just loved it so much.
Every time I went, it felt different. There wasn’t one session that was like another. In some sessions, I would fall asleep and wouldn’t remember anything. And sometimes I had experiences which were so intense and incredible and then I came home full of ideas. Sometimes I felt like I was flying in the cosmos. Sometimes, it felt like I was being ripped into a million pieces and somehow that was enjoyable!
The sessions were strange and weird and beautiful and unexpected. I just kept going because I was just really curious, you know, um and to me.
As a result of going regularly, I could feel the impact it had on my body but I, I also started experiencing with my mind, not just the calmness, but I started to feel like there was something else, some kind of maybe deeper connection that was opening. I was more aware, I was more aware of what was happening with my feelings and my thoughts, moment to moment. I became more sensitive, but also more detached at the same time. Calmer and more aware.
It has been a very rewarding journey, and surprising. When I startedI didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t really read into what gongs were used for or, you know, I never researched it much.
I heard about it, I heard sound healing and I thought, ok, I’ll try it, why not? In this way, I just kept it uncontaminated with expectation. I think maybe that’s also why I loved it so much. Even with yoga, because you practice it, you kind of come in with certain expectations of yourself at a certain point. You know, I’ve been practicing for two years. I should be able to do a headstand. Like that.
With gongs it was different.You’re not really doing anything, you’re just lying on your back for an hour, you know. Maybe that’s why I kept coming. It was an hour where I could just be who I am and without trying to achieve anything. And it was really liberating.
Alan: How was it liberating?
Kristina: Because you are yourself, you don’t need to try, you don’t need to do wrong or right. You’re not bad or good. The experience is not bad or good or pleasant or unpleasant. It’s just an experience, you know.
You naturally learn to stay open to anything and I think that’s super liberating because it’s at the core of what we are as human beings. Our mind gets so contaminated with expectations of achievements and good or bad, right or wrong. How are we supposed to be feeling? What are we not supposed to be feeling? Stress is bad, this is good, you know, there’s so much pressure to be a certain way.
And here was something where I just felt like that hour, it was just uncontaminated with expectations and obligations. It was just free, and for this it was so beautiful and great. And I think that’s why I liked it so much. There was no pressure, no expectation, nothing.
Alan: How did that freedom, that sense of freedom,influence your daily life? Did it?
Kristina: It’s this awareness that it’s ok to just be, you don’t need to constantly try to be better or change yourself, at least that’s for me right now. My journey is accepting who I am right now without trying to change myself, accepting my reactions, accepting my reality, accepting the way that I am. Accepting the way that I am with people, accepting.
I realize that self-judgment is so energy consuming. And so for me, coming every week is that for an hour I just say to myself, you know what, I accept anything that happens right now, whatever reaction, whatever. This is something we could learn to say not just in a session, but every single day.
Every minute is new, so why not meet it with a new kind of openness. This is how I am learning to let it be, however it is, and however I am. Don’t be like ‘I shouldn’t be annoyed,’ ‘I shouldn’t be this or I shouldn’t be that..’
Alan: I love this. Quit shoulding on yourself?
Kristina: haha, yes.
Alan: OK, so if you could make one recommendation to someone coming to their first few sessions, what would you say?
Kristina: Just be open to what shows up, and keep coming back. You never know how exactly it will help. We just don’t know. Just come regularly and see what happens.
Alan: OK. Thank you. Thank you for this. That was beautiful.
If you are curious about Kristina’s work and you want to see some beautiful things, I recommend going to her pop up that will take place in Zurich starting in late November.
Here is a copy of the invitation she sent me: