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KEEPING COOL WITH SOUND - personal perspective from Sixième Son's International Strategy Director
18 March 2020 9:36am
First, I express gratitude to everyone who is taking extra precautions for the collective good at this time. From the colleague who’s practicing thorough handwashing techniques (finally, Pierre!) to the health ministries making some seriously difficult decisions, thank you. I really appreciate it.
But, oh boy, slightly stressful amiright? I’m sure that I fall on the lower end of the stress scale, yet, as is with everything, it’s all relative. Stress is stress. I can tell myself that I’m healthy, I’m young-ish, I don’t have kids or pets, so I’m less at risk, but our head (rationale) and hearts (emotions) can disagree and our hearts typically prevail. #classic.
Our best defense right now, is to keep our cool. Always easier said than done, but it’s true. Just like rigorous hand washing, managing stress is not just for you but for everyone. Higher stress = weaker immune system = not good right now. Stress can manifest itself in many ways, yes, but is often done through sound. We raise our voices when communicating. We make overly dramatic exhausted noises. We yell even. Even if our intention is not to be mean or hurtful or cause anxiety to others, this sonic stress does just that.
Sound is a vibration, an energy. If we’re communicating negatively under stress (whether now or anytime), then the energy in our bodies, and that in which we’re putting out into the world, is also negative. So, better to explore sound as our very own anti-stress #solution.
Last year, I took a 5-month sabbatical to study yoga, including Naad yoga, the yoga of sound or sound union. Life. Changing. Whether creating more harmony within yourself or with others, Naad yoga focuses on channeling sound vibrations that you are making with your own voice, to target a specific energetic outcome. And because this originates in India, the practice uses the sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet and mantras (i.e. devotional hymns). For example, during this stressful time, I need to ground myself. In Hindu, Ganesha represents grounding, stabilizing one’s self, so I’d choose a Ganesha mantra to chant. After five minutes of complete concentration on the mantra and constant, non-melodic repetition, I guarantee your blood pressure will decrease.
OK. That may be out there for some. So take the same idea of the previous paragraph and apply it to your favorite song. Why is it your favorite? Because whatever sonic energy it emits is channeled to you and your emotional state is positively affected. And regardless what you think about your own singing, I bet you feel better even if you just hum along. That does a lot to unite the head and the heart.
I am a little bit sound-obsessed, but I had never consciously (this is the key) experienced the power that sound has for my own healing and helping others. And the best part is that our voices AND our phones are always with us! Unlike the gym, chocolate (because you ate it, shoot), cigarettes, (insert vice), sound is at our disposal at any moment.
If you’re feeling stressed, whether it be a little or a lot, relative to you, try some sound meditation. If you’re feeling curious, explore mantras. If that’s not your groove, make a playlist of your favorite, most calming, songs. Then sit. Concentrate. And breathe.
Example of calming playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1od76Ovx9EyRvyFxzr571G?si=lt4q-JRZR0uOxskfZUcNNQ