By Karen Seva
Sound Healing: A trend that can vibrate the world to wellness
More than simply a trend, sound healing practices are becoming a way of life in the greater Los Angeles area and beyond. Wellness Music is identified as one of the Wellness Trends for 2020 by the Global Wellness Institute’s Global Wellness Trends Report. In yoga studios, living rooms, churches, on mountaintops, in gyms, at festivals, and in community centers, people are sharing sound techniques that lift your vibration. Some version of any of the following is available practically every day of the week: Sound Bath, Sound Healing Meditation, Crystal Bowl Bath, Gong Meditation, Sound Healing Cacao Ceremony, Sound Journey, Past Life Regression or some creative version of this lay down, cozied up concert during which you can meditate, relax, or simply fall asleep.
We may ask why this new niche is rising in such popularity on a global scale, with LA at the forefront. Be Crystal Clear owner and Sound Healer Sugar says, “Sound Healing offers relief from our hectic lives and our overactive minds bringing clarity, awareness and comfort to our mind, body and spirit.” Light on Lotus owner Kate Duyn shares, “I think the increased amount of time we are spending online on all of our electronic devices while being inundated with a constant stream of distractions is starting to take its toll on our health. It feels to me like people who are already engaged in wellness or spiritual practices are tuning into this, and feeling the need to unplug, rest and re-set their nervous systems. In my community in particular, I certainly noticed a shift toward sound baths and these kinds of healing experiences in recent years. They have become a regular method of coping with our collective unrest and anxiety.”
SoCal’s Trend-Setting Renegade History
California’s recent history reveals how it is a vector for popular culture and a hot bed of activity. Noteworthy events include the 19th century gold rush, the time when (1923) when Los Angeles was the source of one-quarter of the world’s entire oil supply. The movie industry moved from New York to Hollywood in the 1900s, which set the stage for Los Angeles stardom. The post-war era of the 1950s brought with it Disneyland, Universal Studios, and the Dodgers. The counter culture movements of the 1960s, with their emphasis on the expansion of consciousness, yoga, film, music, art, and a deep questioning of the status quo—all had a life of their own in California. Los Angeles is a mecca for music, media, fashion, industry, and influential tastemakers. Change happening here is being broadcast to the rest of the world.
LA is also something of a spiritual destination. The region attracts visionaries, yogis, teachers and outliers, such as Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Vivekananda, Aldous Huxley, Krishnamurti, Swami Muktananda, as well as spiritual groups, organizations, and utopian communities. It is a hub where new ideas have a safe space and curious audience, a climate of innovation on all fronts.
The Native caretakers of these lands—the Tongva and the Chumash, among others—understood its magic and the use of sacred sites to vision, commune with the spirits of the land, and make offerings to assist with its natural balance.
How the Magic of Sound Healing is Calling Us
In the flow of energy described in quantum physics, sound becomes light, and light becomes physical matter. Sound even brings us into existence on Earth. Astronauts report that there is a hum – there is a sound to outer space. Ancient spiritual texts speak of the primordial sound of creation. Science refers to a “Big Bang.”
On film, the movie Contact (1997) paints a picture of alien intelligence that communicates through almost indecipherable sounds, which later are revealed to be complex blueprints of an entirely new system of technology. Movies, as well as spirituality, portray a journey in which the characters follow the signs that somehow transform their world.
Sound healing may, potentially, be a bridge between these worlds of pop culture and inner contemplative spirituality. Spiritual seeking is an individualized journey, leaving the aspirant alone in meditation and contemplation in order to gain deeper awareness of themselves. This may feel threatening and inaccessible to some, while not even stimulating the curiosity of others who require a more hand-holding approach to self-actualization. Pop culture on the other hand, through music, art and media, can ignite the senses and provide a framework for being moved, touched, and inspired.
Traveling at the Speed of Sound
Sound healing unites the outer and inner worlds. It uses a soundscape to connect with the senses, while simultaneously setting the participant up for an inner experience. In this context we are not left to our own devices, to be lost in the recesses of our own mind or of our own breath. Instead, we are gently guided through sound, which offers our body the prompting to relax and let go so that we can more easily access the meditative state.
Sound is a portal. It takes us into parts of ourselves hidden or long forgotten. It can take us back to our childhood or even open ancestral memories. It can remind us of our connection to the earth and to each other. Sound can help us to relax our mind so that we can perceive something we didn’t perceive before.
Sound Vibration or Sound Healing gives us a chance to realign with our body’s innate wisdom. It gives us the opportunity to hear our inner voice. In a world with so many competing interests – for success, wealth, power, fame, and attention, our hearts are longing for connection. We are needing the sound of our own soul.
Participating in Sound Healing in LA
In Los Angeles there is so much Sound Healing to appreciate! Some in the form of people who are not to be missed and some in the form of places which consistently offer quality programming. Every person and place is a carrier of a different code—to help humanity remember its true identity at this time in human history. Of course there are many other reputable sound healing practitioners and locations for sound healing. We didn’t have the space to mention all of them.
A Selection of Sound Healers
Lynda Arnold creates a haunting soundscape with her vocals, monochord, bowls and looping technique. She regularly holds concerts St. John’s Cathedral in Downtown LA with her group of all female sound healers called “Sonic Devas.” Lynda’s 432 Hz electronic music/sound meditation collaboration with Torkom Ji is called “Solar Theory.” At St John’s Cathedral, I had the fortune of witnessing them both! They produced an otherworldly blend of sounds, tones, loops, and rhythms. Lynda is a certified sound healer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and seasoned performer on a life-long mission to build healthy communities through the power of sound and music. She offers sound healing workshops, private sound baths and singing for wellness sessions. divasonic.com
Helane Marie Anderson
Helane Marie Anderson sings like an angel, taking you into the celestial world with her voice paired with crystal singing bowls, chimes and alchemical bowls. Helane’s toolkit is made of imperial topaz, androgynous indium, pink aura gold, and ocean palladium. Helane is a certified sound healing and therapy practitioner, and a craniosacral, massage, and Polarity therapist. She has a background as a songwriter, trained as both a classical pianist and singer, and is adjunct faculty at USC. Her book is: You Are Meant to Sing! 10 Steps to Unlock Your Inner Voice. www.sacralsounds.com.
Guy Douglas creates some of the largest sound healing events in LA, selling out cathedrals and other venues to create immersive experience on a grand scale including Sound Healing Symphonies and beachfront Gongs for Peace. Guy got started more than 15 years ago, after he heard the sound of his first gong and thought it was the sound of creation. He uses symphonic Paiste planetary gongs, native flutes, ocean drums, Tibetan bowls, and crystal bowls. At Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Guy Douglas’s Sound Bath Symphonies sell out to a “laying down” crowd of 1,400 people. He recognizes that people are bombarded by information and stress and they need a way to get out of their heads. In addition, Guy offers Breathwork Sound Baths, sound bath yoga, corporate events, and private sessions. gongguy.com.
Nacho Arimany uses music frequency 432 Hz and the sounds of nature to assist individuals in an embodied experience of our full potential. Nacho has developed the Arimany Method, which is a movement and voice technique that helps to create specific architecture in the brain based on the properties of the Golden Ratio. The result is a calmer, more productive body and mind. Nacho performs in concerts, and offers workshops and individual sessions around the world, nachoarimany.com.
Uyanga Bold is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, composer and performing artist from Mongolia based in LA. She has an overwhelming list of accolades and accomplishments. Her stunning voice transports the listener with shamanic overlays and classical technique. uyangabold.com.
Torkom Ji is a live synth master, and 432 Hz DJ and sound magician. His soundscapes are ethereal, composed with just the right amount of spaciousness, giving rise to vibrational tension opening to sublime release. He is a musical story-teller, conveying the layers and texture of the wind, water and sun through the crafting of frequency, and rhythm. @torkomji
Karen Seva creates ceremonial space with her voice, sound, and breath. The music played is a combination of celestial-sphere angelic, as well as ancestral channeled, vocal melodies. She utilizes songs, sound bowls, gongs, chimes, native drums, Ohm wands, flutes and stringed instruments. The melodies come from the mountains, trees, sun, angelic realms and elemental spirits. The participants are guided on a journey to induce higher states of consciousness and invite communion with their unseen guides and helpers. Karen has everyone sing to take the vibrations into their bones via the sound of their own voice. In addition, Karen works with private clients to assist in opening their voice and remembering their true nature, as well as with children through her nonprofit “Sing the World Awake.” karenseva.com.
Christo Pellani is certified in various energetic healing arts practices, and has studied with many master teachers including Fabien Maman, Grand Master Wei Ling Yi, Margaret Ruby, and Eric Pearl. He maintains a teaching residency with the California Academy of Healing Arts, and is an instructor of Tao Yin Fa series 1 Chi Gong and Kototama with the Tama-Do Academy for Color, Sound, and Movement. Christo is a master drummer, using rhythm to help us connect with the earth, stars and our own soul. soundformation.com.
Jahna and Michael Perricone
Jahna and Michael Perricone are a married couple who have been in the field of sound healing for more than 20 years. Michael is a master of Tibetan singing bowls, having begun his dharmic path of bringing these sounds to the world after becoming enchanted by the hearing of his first singing bowl. Jahna is a UCLA-certified mindfulness facilitator and vocalist. Both work in the fields of classical music, as well as in the film and television industries. Together, they bring the sounds of 300-600 year old Tibetan singing bowls, gongs, chimes, water drums and other instruments, mixed with Jahna’s ethereal vocals. Their sound bath is that of precision, musicianship and expertise, in which each sound is given space to breathe, inviting the listener to surrender and emerge renewed. Jahna and Michael hold sound baths around Los Angeles, as well as annual retreats in the Greek Islands. jahnamusic.com.
A Few Noteworthy Places for Sound Healing in LA
NAAM Yoga (Santa Monica)
NAAM offers a synthesis of sound vibration, breathwork and movement that strengthens the energy body and stimulates the body’s self-healing mechanisms. The roots of the practice are Naam (the sound current), Kabbalah, and Sukshma Vyayama, a practice handed down from a 300-year-old Himalayan sage, with the intention of bringing it to the West for fortification against the demands of the modern world. Sukshma Vyayama works on transforming our physical experience of life (body, mind, emotions, and circumstance) by working on our electromagnetic field. Through the principle of vibration, coupled with precise exercises to target the energy meridians of the body, the internal organs, the blood and brain, an optimum state of health is attained. The effects of this practice are currently being studied through blood analysis, with positive results on multiple functions after only one session. NAAM Yoga is also the home to many wonderful sound baths and vibrational healing experiences. naamyogala.com.
Bhakti Yoga Shala (Santa Monica)
Kirtan, the devotional call-and-response chanting, is the essence of the practice at Bhakti Yoga Shala with owners Govind Das and his wife Radha, along with special guests. Monday Night Kirtan is a packed-to-the-walls emotional and spiritual collective expression of sound vibration. Radha shares her divine feminine force for song on Thursday nights. Other events include sound healing of every modern tune and rhythm. bhaktiyogashala.com.
Ceremony Meditation (Venice)
Ceremony is owned and run by Reiki Master and sound healing facilitator Roxy Ghoraishy. The schedule features an array of powerful sound healing events combining crystal bowls and sound healing elements. Other sound healers include Jeralyn Glass, singer, crystal bowl master and founder of Crystal Cadence, the LA Crystal Tones Singing Bowl Temple with over 300 gemstone bowls for purchase. ceremonymeditation.com.
Wanderlust has a vibe that evokes their namesake transformational festivals with classes, events, workshops, concerts, food and cutting-edge techniques in order to guide the seeker to their True North. Their variety of Sound Bath experiences include Full Moon Soulstology Sound Bath with Ambi, who combines astrological wisdom with Reiki-infused crystal bowls and planetary gongs. Look for yin yoga restorative breathwork sound baths, concerts, and the Golden Bridge Choir. wanderlusthollywood.com.
Be Crystal Clear (Santa Monica)
Studio owner and teacher trainer Sugar Panbehchi is a Reiki Practitioner, Crystal Healer, and Sound Healing Practitioner. According to Sugar, the crystal bowls “play such a pure frequency that penetrates and rebalances you mind, body and spirit bringing you to a state of harmony. The bowls help awaken people and clear away their mental fog so they can tune into who they truly are at their inner code.” Be Crystal Clear hosts sound bath trainings for people who want to immerse themselves in the energetic understanding of the use of sound vibration with multiple instruments. Students learn the integration of intuitive healing practices with the science behind sound frequency. becrystalclear.com
Insight LA has been offering high-quality mindfulness and compassion practices for nearly 20 years. They offer a roster of sound baths and sound healing experiences on a regular basis. insightla.org
Unplug Meditation (Santa Monica and West Hollywood)
Unplug requires students to check their phone at the front desk. This is just one way that the clients are walked step by step through the process of “disconnecting” with the outer world as a doorway to be with yourself. Unplug offers a variety of sound baths and sound healings on the regular. unplug.com
Mystic Journey (Venice)
The gallery of crystals and geodes throughout Mystic Journey complements the vibrations offered by a group of expert sound healers. mysticjourneyla.com
The Den Meditation (Hollywood and Studio City)
You feel as though you are stepping into a well-appointed homey space, perfect for sonic restoration, at either of The Hub’s locations. A regular schedule of sound baths, sound healings, and sound meditations foster deep relaxation. denmeditation.com
Karen Seva MDiv, MSW, CPC is a best-selling author of The Awakening World, healer, life coach, musician, sound healer, activist, and mom. She has performed music concerts, sound healings, taught yoga classes and workshops, and has coached and consulted with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Karen is the founder of the nonprofit “Sing the World Awake” combining music, yoga, indigenous practices, and environmental education for children. She teaches “Breathwork + Sound” classes at Bhakti Yoga Shala and at Naam Yoga in Los Angeles. Through her work, she assists people in opening their voice and remembering their true nature: karenseva.com.