The Gong Show
This weekend we went to our 2nd gong bath. It was at one of the studios we attend regularly, Tejas Yoga Studio in Chicago’s south loop. For those not familiar with a gong bath, it is a meditative experience where you lie still on your mat (just like savasana) and listen to the sound of gongs. Often times, there are other instruments/ sounds mixed in and at its high point, it is very loud. It’s much more musical than you would think, almost like a concert. You’re welcome to use any props to make your experience most comfortable as you are laying still for quite a while (this one was about an hour and fifteen minutes).
My first gong bath experience was also at Tejas with the same gong facilitator. But, my two experiences were very different. During the first one, I felt I was in a very meditative state – you know that feeling you get in a deep savasana where you are pretty much out of it? At points I was sure I was levitating and, during peak moments, I saw waves of colors swirling over and around me. I know this sounds a bit woo-woo, but just think of it like a weird, deep dream. During the second one, this past weekend, I mainly felt anxious during it. No colors, no floating off the floor. I felt really nervous during the first part and I just couldn’t relax and concentrate on my breath. After a while, frustration crept in and I was aware of any cough, sneeze, or movement from others nearby. The time still went by quickly, but when it was over, I just thought “huh – that was weird” instead of feeling light and rested like I did with the first one.
Chuck and I recapped our experiences on the ride home and they were very similar. We wondered why we both felt anxious with this one and blamed each other for putting off negative energy as the cause. But, really, there are probably a variety of reasons. Maybe a bunch of people in the room did have negative energy affecting it? It was a Friday night right after work. Our position in the room? Expectations from the first time? We did an hour of gentle yoga prior to the going bath that we didn’t do last time – maybe that contributed? Time of year? It is cold AF right now. Political climate and our current “leader” maybe adds a new level of universal stress?
Chuck mentioned his experience to James (one of Teja’s owners) at yoga today to see how his experience compared with ours. James said he had to sit up at one point into a seated position because of the intensity of the gongs, but overall he had a positive experience. I think that just like yoga, each person’s experience is going to be different based on you – with some level of influence from your environment (in this case, the immediate room that day). Nonetheless, it’s a really unique and cool meditative experience to try – we’ll see what the next one brings!