By Steven Adamo
Students and faculty were invited to take a moment for themselves and connect with relaxing sounds and vibrations at the Sound Bath Meditation inside the Ingalls Auditorium foyer.
The event was organized by Cecilia Cruz of the ELAC Student Health Center who said the event is a good experience for students or faculty who have never experienced a sound bath before.
Sound Bath meditations consist of instruments like the alchemy crystal bowls, which were performed at the event by Linda Ong, a yoga teacher and hospice nurse.
Using a mallet coated in suede, the bowl begins to ring as Ong brushes the mallet along the edge of the bowl, sometimes tapping the different bowls to create a variety of complementary pitches.
Monica Avila, an instructor of Kundalini Yoga, explained to the attendees the importance of breathing properly, or to “connect with your breath.”
She explained that humans are mostly made up of water, so a lot of the tones emitted from these instruments, many which sound like the waves of the ocean, communicate with our bodies on a cellular level.
Avila teaches at the Yoga studio Yogala in Echo Park. Though they charge a fee, Avila said she also offers a pay-by-donation option because she believes that everybody should have access to the many benefits.
For the event, Avila used a symphonic gong which began as a very low tremble, as if forming somewhere off in the distance.
Slowly, with everyone’s eyes instructed to be closed, the low-tones of the gong swelled louder and louder, filling the auditorium’s foyer with big sound using no microphones or amplification, just the natural acoustics of the room.
Avila explained that the gong produces many tones depending on where the mallets hit around the edges.
Some notes would drone-out for several seconds, layered with light, rhythmic taps that sounded like multiple gongs were being played simultaneously.
To “bring back” people from the sound meditation, Avila and Ong walked around all the people lying on the ground and rattled wooden chimes over their bodies.
As people sat up, some shared their experiences, many of which felt more relaxed than when they came in.
The Ingalls Auditorium was an excellent choice for the event. Not only did the sound travel and fill the room nicely, the mural from the Mexican muralist Raúl Anguiano made an excellent focus-point to the array of natural tones emitted by these acoustic instruments.
Though there are no upcoming sound baths scheduled, the ELAC Student Health Center will offer another Yoga event from at 12:15 p.m. next Wednesday at the G3 Auditorium Foyer. The event will be led by yoga instructor Ana Maria Delgado.