tofino yoga: sounding om

Sounding om

by Tamara Watson, Tofino

If the sound generated by the vocal cords into the vibratory network of the universe has the faculty of tuning one, it is because it links one with the cosmic symphony.

Vihilayat Inayat Khan

I I love music. Most people I know love music. It has an ability to reflect as well as to shift our physical and emotional energy. Everyone knows intuitively how powerful sound is, and everyone is musical. Singing or toning is about listening to our inner voice and honoring it through audible expression. Shivon Robinsong, director of the Gettin’ Higher Choir, in her workshop here last month demonstrated the intimacy and power of the voice with a greeting exercise. We circled the room sounding our own notes, looking each participant in the eye and listening to their voice. The vocal exchange was like an embrace. Also interesting was how the tone I made changed in pitch involuntarily as I greeted different people.

Music broken down is sound vibration, just as speech is. According to yogic theory speech is a feminine force called the Devi, or Goddess, that has the ability to bring things to life. The Chinese attribute speech to the Fire element, home of the spirit, or Shen. Yogis have discovered that the whole universe is shaped, animated and ultimately reabsorbed by sound, that even consciousness vibrates. Prakasa, a physicist who is studying the relationship between yoga and physics says, “The essence of sound is that it echoes back—both within itself and from everything around it. These echoes lead to resonances that in turn reveal the essence of what creates the sound and what it interacts with. Sound is a back-and-forth vibration that eventually spreads out and fades, but has no real end.”

Sound gives us a direct link to the universe, and is considered the oldest form of creation. Kokopelli is a mythical Native American symbol of fertility, music and dance. Pan is a Greek god of music and fertility. Australian Aboriginal culture explains the origin and geographic orientation of the world in terms of Songlines: “…laid down by legendary totemic beings who had wandered the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path - birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholds—and so singing the world into existence… Regardless of the words, it seems the melodic contour of the song describes the nature of the land over which the song passes,” (Bruce Chatwin, Songlines).

If sound is creation and vibrations are the energy of the universe, it makes sense that sound can heal and that it is present within us. Our voice is an instrument that empowers and enables us to dance through life. Om or Aum represents the root syllable of the cosmic vibration that preceded all of creation, and all the sounds the human voice is capable of expressing and manifesting in the physical world.

When we listen to ourselves and produce our own sounds, we heal ourselves. We intuitively know the sounds we need to make to move blocked energy. Healing with sound vibration realigns our bodies’ frequencies and encompasses a broad field: ultrasound therapy, toning, chanting, tuning forks, crystal bowls, Tibetan singing bowls and bells, Australian didjeridu, rainsticks, drumming, cello… Randall McClellan in The Healing Forces of Music says that the first requirement of learning the process of healing is to experience the effect of various pitches on your own body. He tells a story about an Armenian man who played one note on his cello day after day. When people told him that musicians played other notes to make music the old man replied that all the others were still searching for “the right note” whereas he had already found it.

Sound is powerful and so accessible. Resonance is the most important principle of sound, describing the ability of a vibration to reach out and set off a similar vibration in another body. We are fortunate to have so many sources of sound to inspire us here: the ocean, the Sound Waves choir which resumes in the fall, the many concerts Adam organizes, Solwood, a place where sound related activities often take place (725-2112). Martha Thomas will be holding a Sound Healing workshop this month, you can reach her at 725-2079. Adley Bruneau offers drumming and didjeridu sessions and can be reached at 725-8324. You are all realized or waiting-to-be-realized musicians. Remember the power of your own voice the next time you want to adjust your energetic vibration.

Tamara Watson is a registered Jin Shin Do“ and Shiatsu Therapist and often combines sound vibration with bodywork. You can reach her at 725-3976.

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Tofino yoga instructor and shiatsu therapist Tamara Watson writes about the use of sound in bodywork in this article from Tofino Time Magazine.

tofino time july 2004

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