Tag Archives: yoga

The power of a sound bath

14 Sep

10:19 pm

I think I mentioned in my last post that I recently spent a week on the west coast of Costa Rica, mainly to do yoga, but also to be alone to process the fact that there are changes and evolutions going on in my life, and there is grief, and I am having a hard time dealing with all that AND keeping everything else in place.  I only spent four days there–two were traveling to get there, and then, the final two days were spent getting home (and, stressing:  I was booked through Miami on the way home, and Hurricane Dorian was just picking up speed that week and it looked like it was going to blow through Florida).  Anyway, my time there was short and I only had four days, but four days was enough to see a transformation.

WhirrWhirrWhirrrrrrrring.  This was the sound of my mind–the sound of my incessant thinking–during the first two days (well, all the time).  I filled those days taking yoga, walking along the beaches (gosh, the Pacific is immense and amazing–and warm!?–down there), eating fish and rice and fruit (my perfect diet, I must say), and going to bed.  Yet, my mind!  Would.  Not.  Stop.  Thinking.  JESUS.  I mean, I could literally hear the whirring sound…like a swarm of mosquitoes, filling my skull to the brim, spinning in one huge loud circle of BUZZ, WHIRR, WHIRRRRRRRRING.

On the evening of the second day, I decided to take a sound bath.  The instructor was fantastic–the resort where I took my classes had some of the best teachers I’ve ever had, actually–and the sound bath was really cool.  I mean, I’ve participated in sound “healing” ceremonies before; and yeah, afterward I do feel calmer and I can remember at least a few interesting visuals that came up during the ceremony; but, I have never felt anything beyond that.  I enjoy them, that’s true, but I’m not sure I would consider them to be healing, per se.

Until I woke up on the third day feeling…quiet.  QUIETED.  Happy.  Calm, clear, optimistic.  Like, the sense of clarity was unmistakably uplifting!  The whirring had stopped.  What the…?  I walked along the beach that morning, noticing that all my confusing, conflicted thoughts and thought tendencies and thought patterns–this mental weight that had been bogging me down for the past two days–had just gone away.  The whirring was gone.  Now, I don’t know if I should credit the sound bath, but…

The following night, my last, I went to my second sound bath–and this time, I listened a bit more closely to what the teacher was saying before he started in on his instruments (I have to admit, during the first class, I was just like, yeah, uh huh, right).  And what he said was:  by utilizing sound waves, sound baths ultimately allow your higher mind to distance itself from your lower mind (the thinking, the judging, the ego mind)–which helps to quiet the lower mind.  I was like, what?  That is literally exactly how I felt; that I had this newfound sense of clarity because the whirring just seemed to have ceased, and my higher mind was now fully present–quiet, not as judgmental, open.  This, in turn, made me feel happier, friendlier to self and others, more willing to have conversations with strangers, more able to take in and enjoy the scenery…

At home now, what this clearer, quieter state of mind has allowed me to do is be more positive, in general, and resist negativity (from my own mind, from others).  I don’t feel like judging people or situations or getting angry; I just want to let it go and continue to vibrate, as it were, at my higher, quieter level.  It’s helped me feel and be more positive toward my relationships, my job, my coworkers; it’s helped me let things roll off my back and maintain a sense of calm happiness.

This feeling was really strong during the first week after I got back; I’m on my second week now, and while I don’t feel as happy and/or quieted, I find myself going back to that place of quiet clarity in my mind.  I mean, even if I no longer presently own that sense of clarity, I can remember I once did and what it felt like–which goes a long way toward cultivating (I guess you could say) that state of mind.

It was definitely worth suspending my disbelief!  Now, I feel like there is hope, there is a place to go, there IS clarity and quiet to be had–it’s just a matter of finding the tools to get there and developing those tools to keep you there.

I wish I could run, but my sciatic pain is killing me!

3 Sep

2:41 pm

I hate to be so incessantly whiney, but here goes:

I’ve been having major sciatica flare-up lately (I’m 38, but have been told I’ve got the back of someone in their 50s on my bad days!), which means, no running and no stretching, even. For those who are wondering, don’t spend 15 years glued to a desk chair for 10 hours a day. Sometimes, drinking would help this pain, but that was usually just a VERY lame excuse (it never really did) to drink!

Most of the time, I stretch at least once in the morning (my personal yoga, or, “me-ga”) and then I do yoga. Good weeks, I’ll do yoga every day. Bad weeks, not at all. I also run and hit the gym on the regular.

This week, however, not only am I having intense cravings, but I’m also PMSing — I feel more distracted/paranoid and depressed/irritable than normal. AND, for some reason, PMS seems to totally exacerbate any back problems I have, including muscle pain and sciatica pain. Lately, my sciatica has moved all the way inside my leg and down my hamstring. What does it feel like? Well, it always feels the same in my lower back, like someone slid a knife through the muscle right above my left butt and is twisting it continually. It throbs and burns. That’s always there. My left buttock feels sore and burns, and lately, my inner leg feels like I pulled a muscle. When I bend down, the pain starts around the outside of my left butt, shoots down around front, curves around where my leg meets my body, and then shoots straight down along my hamstring. Simultaneously, shooting pain goes UP from the front of my left thigh to the outside of my leg, and then triggers shooting pain down the center to left side of my left calf.

All in all, it sucks. I deal, mainly because I don’t know what to do about it. Yoga is out for this kind of pain (it makes it worse), and I don’t want to run because that just tightens my back and makes pain like this in my leg — it feels like an injury, not muscle cramps — worse.

Any ideas? I’m seeing an acupuncturist for a consult tomorrow, but…it’s $$$ and typically, this entire plethora of symptoms eases after I get my period. BUT, like I said in another post, my lower back vertebrae feel gross and clunky these days during some easy floor exercises and that seems very bad to me. If it’s like this now, in a fairly muscular, athletic person, what will it be like 25 years from now? And, is there any relief from this constant pain?

Input and advice much welcome!

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