In yoga studios up and down the country, a strange new form of relaxation is taking place. Gong meditation, or gong healing, is becoming a popular way to unwind and find inner peace. But what is it, and is gong healing right for you?
What is gong meditation?
Gong meditation originated in Asia is part of a family of healing practices called sound therapy, in which the practitioner uses the power of sound to help restore balance and induce deep relaxation.
Gong meditation is most often done in a large group session, usually within a yoga studio or other large space, but it can also be offered in one-on-one sessions, often referred to as sound baths.
What does gong meditation do?
Fans of gong meditation claim that the sound of the gong and other instruments produces gentle vibrations that work with the water in the body. Humans are made up of 80% water, so the theory is that the gentle sound waves from the gong can help to send signals to every cell in the body, inducing a deep state of relaxation. The theory goes that when people are experiencing anxiety, depression or everyday stress and exhaustion, the cells within our bodies begin to vibrate at non-optimal levels. The deep healing vibrations of the gong are thought to correct the vibration and bring about a calmer, more balanced state of being.
Whether you believe that or not, the calming sounds of the gong and the opportunity to rest your body and mind for a while will help you to find a space of meditative quiet. Some people also claim that gong meditation helps them to feel more relaxed and calm overall as well as helping them to sleep better and clear emotional blockages.
What can I expect from a gong meditation class?
When you arrive, you will usually be offered a yoga mat and blanket. Some classes also offer eye pillows and bolsters. You will be encouraged to lie down and get comfortable, almost like the relaxation at the end of a yoga class. Once everyone is settled, the class will begin and the practitioner will play the gong gently, allowing you to bathe in a room full of vibrational sounds.
Some practitioners will also incorporate singing bowls, bells and rain sticks into the gong meditation. The gong is played at a calming, low level and the practitioner will change the sounds from the gong regularly to avoid producing a single, monotonous rhythm.
Who would benefit from gong meditation?
Just like any other kind of meditation, gong meditation is for everyone and anyone. People with issues around anxiety or ‘busy brain’ syndrome would benefit in particular as the gong meditation is likely to leave you with a sense of inner peace and clarity that can last for several hours, or even days.
Fancy trying gong meditation? Look around your local yoga studios or hit the Google search. For gong events, at home private sessions or corporate services London Gong is great. Some other favourites are Sound Awakening and GONG. Classes are also popping up all over the UK, with Friday evening classes proving especially popular as they help to wash away the stress of the week and ease you into a peace-filled weekend.