In our bodies, everything is connected. Our sense of touch can change our mood. Our sense of sight affects our perception of flavor. Our sense of smell can transport us to a fond memory. And our sense of taste dictates what we choose to put in our bodies, and how we feel.
Today we speak with sound practitioner, Elizabeth Ferry, about how sound baths can help us relax and better connect to our own selves.
Splendid Spoon: Hi Elizabeth! Tell us your journey to becoming a sound practitioner.
Elizabeth Ferry: Many influences came together to lead me to where I am today. One was my language studies: while earning my Masters in French at NYU, I often went to French plays that contained many colloquialisms. Since I didn’t really understand the words at that point, I listened to the arcs and rhythms of expression, and enjoyed this deep listening practice. Another was my musical background: I’ve been singing in The New School chorus for several years. These influences led me to complete my Sound Practitioner Training at MNDFL [Our favorite New York-based meditation studio. — Ed.].
SS: How does sound facilitate a meditation practice and a better connection to ourselves?
EF: Sound can act as an anchor for the meditation, much like the breath would for a mindfulness practice. After our mind has wandered, instead of bringing our attention back to the breath, we come back to the sound/silence relationship. We become aware of our tendencies and the effect sound has on our bodies. This kind of information about ourselves fosters our connection to ourselves.
SS: In a sound bath we simply receive, almost passively. How does this affect our mood?
EF: In a sound bath, we receive the sound throughout the whole body. In many instances, this slows down the brain waves and respiration, and enables our relaxation response.
SS: What instruments and tools do you typically use during your sound baths
EF: This can vary, but crystal bowls, chimes, tuning forks, Himalayan bowls, and a shruti box are my favorites.
SS: How should a first time student approach a sound bath?
EF: Come with curiosity and willing to be with yourself.
SS: How do you choose what instruments and sounds you’ll use during the bath?
EF: Sound baths are not rehearsed. There is a knowledge of the instruments being used, but then there are the other considerations of the environment and space, which lend itself to the sounds engendered during a sound bath.
SS: Do you think sound baths are more accessible than a seated meditation?
EF: Sound is accessible inasmuch as we have all experienced the effect of a poignant song or piece of music. There is an established connection to following sound. This might make the experience more approachable for a first meditation experience.
SS: When do you feel most at peace?
EF: Well, I do love to experience sound baths as well as facilitate them :).
SS: How do you stay grounded while living in NYC?
EF: I adore Central Park. I love going there with a book or just sitting on the rocks. These rocks are unique in that these rocks can support Manhattan skyscrapers. So, I feel pretty supported sitting quietly on them for some time, away from the rest of the city.