I was feeling dirty. Not physically (and not in the other way, either, mind you!). I was feeling mentally dirty. I am currently nearing the end of my first trimester of pregnancy and while I have managed to keep most of the morning sickness at bay, I never fathomed how stressful and tiring growing a human being could be. I also realised how preoccupied I had been with worrying: worrying about what I had been eating, worrying about the future, worrying about whether or not the baby was ok, even worrying that I was worrying too much. I had accumulated so much mental “junk” it was unreal. I had also inadvertently put my daily meditation practice on hold; the one thing that I’m typically able to rely on to clear my mind. It wasn’t until I stopped and took a minute to ask myself honestly how I was feeling, that I felt the full extent of the tension in my body. I knew at that point I had to do something.
So, as a treat to myself, I booked myself onto a sound bath meditation through the London School of Spirituality. While I had attended many meditation classes, I had never attended this type before and I was curious about it; especially when the theme of the evening was ‘letting go and opening up to receiving’. That sounded like exactly what I needed.
I arrived at the hall in Bayswater and felt immediately at ease in the surroundings. The subtle scent of incense filled the air and candles lined the room. Most everyone had arrived by the time I got there which meant that around 40 people were already lying snugly under blankets on the floor.
The facilitator, Carly Grace, a gifted singer, meditation leader and sound healer amongst other talents, began by leading the group in a guided meditation. She encouraged us to let go of anything that wasn’t serving us and to sink into the floor, feeling more and more grounded as we did so. For around 15 minutes (although it could’ve been longer or shorter, I honestly couldn’t tell), we were guided by calming background music coupled with Carly’s soothing words and voice (she broke into the most angelic singing from time to time).
Then, while I felt as if my body was deeply connected to the core of the earth and that I had finally let go of my mental and physical clutter, Carly began playing the crystal singing bowls. Each bowl emitted a unique resonance that I could not only hear but feel, like a rolling vibration, throughout my entire being. While the different layers of sound started to blend together and build to an all encompassing booming drone, I immediately began to feel as if I were floating outside of my body. On my eyelids, I saw various flashes of light in different colours as I sunk even more deeply into the trancelike state. It was very psychedelic and intense and at one point I caught myself hesitating, for fear I would go too deeply; but a voice within my unconscious mind said “allow this.” I let out a very deep breath, as if everything I was holding onto was finally being given permission to leave and I floated and drifted for what seemed like an eternity on the waves of the healing sound vibrations around me.
At one point, despite feeling disconnected from my physical body, I was sure that I could feel the stirring of my unborn child within me (even though babies in the womb aren’t usually felt until later in pregnancy). Upon feeling that movement, I focused my mind on it and began to notice a deep feeling of connection to the life within me. I had heard that sound baths can help to activate a feeling of connection between mothers and babies, but I had thought it too early for me to be able to experience that. Nevertheless, the unmistakable feeling was there, so I allowed it to be there and to grow; embracing the strong emotion that came along with it.
Then, slowly and steadily, the sound began to die down and the room fell into the most profound silence. We had been asked to luxuriate in this silence at the beginning of the session, and despite the sound of a distant siren (we were still in London after all), it felt somehow rare and precious and I fully embraced it.
I left the safety of this space feeling more present and aware. Outside, the air felt crisper and fresher that I had remembered it being on the way in. Every movement of the tube on my return journey rocked me gently and kept me in a space of feeling deeply relaxed and at peace.
I am looking forward to having more experiences of sound baths as my pregnancy progresses – one to further secure the bond between my and my baby and two to remember let go of all that “stuff” that doesn’t serve me. It was a unique experience that I would encourage anyone – pregnant or not – to experience at least once in their lives.
Note: Sound baths are not recommended for women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant