I’m lying on my back, warm in a comfy blanket, eyes covered with a lavender-scented pillow… a soothing voice asks me to envision a white mist enveloping me. I am in a cocoon of safety. Then the music begins. It’s a freeform melody from four gongs, and the vibrations dig deep — through the skin, into the muscles, and down into the organs that make me tick.
Last month’s gong meditation at Tahoe Yoga Institute was an unexpected journey. Led by Judy Strauss of Reno and Jared Power of Tahoe City, the meditation was entirely different than any other I’ve attempted. For one, I didn’t have to do anything! Traditional meditation requires a novice’s concentration; one is always working to quiet the mind and sit up straight without discomfort. With gong meditation, I just had to lie there and let the healing vibrations do their work.
‘It’s proven that organs vibrate at various hertz levels,’ Strauss explained before we began. ‘The body is a symphony.’ The liver vibrates at 319.88 Hz, the stomach at 110 Hz, and a bone at 418.3, according to measurements by scientist Barbara Hero listed on Strauss’ website. So when a body part is off balance or diseased, gong vibrations can help direct it back to its proper frequency; this is known as sympathetic resonance in music theory. One of the principal gongs used in the meditation is an Earth gong, tuned to our planet’s rotation, at 136.1 Hz.
Strauss and Power’s gong meditation participants have listed relieved stress, migraine and menstrual cramp relief, and other health benefits as immediate effects of the experience. As for me, I left the Tahoe City studio feeling happy, renewed, and warm inside, despite the late May snow swirling around in the chilly dark air.
For more information, visit pathtobliss.com. Strauss leads monthly gong meditations in Reno (next up is June 19 at the Sleep Shop). Strauss and Power will be at Squaw Valley’s Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival on July 30.