Field Trip! Gong Meditation


I created a new fourth year special topics course that I am teaching this term at Carleton University,  called Sound Body Sound Mind: Music and Wellbeing in a Global Context.  It has been a lot of work to put together,  but so rewarding. Based on a lot of the reading, research and writing I did in my recent MA, we are looking at all kinds of topics, linking a variety of disciplines and cultural traditions that have a history of using music as a means to health and wellness. This week our focus was on vibrational healing, looking at studies that show how different forms of sound vibrations can have a positive impact on focus, memory and cognition (particularly beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients). The tradition of gong meditation in Kundalini Yoga is a very old practice but one that is alive and well and practiced regularly here in Ottawa at Prana Shanti Yoga Centre. I have experienced it many times myself and thought it would be a great experiential field trip for the students. So yesterday we all went to Prana Shanti to participate in an introductory class, led by Victoria Lynes. The studio is an absolutely beautiful, calm and welcoming setting; a nice reprieve for the students as we approach mid term. Victoria’s teaching style is very warm and approachable.  After giving us a short background on Kundalini Yoga, she led us in some warm-ups, the Kirtan Kriya, audible and silent chanting (making use of the 84 meridian points on the roof of the mouth), and meditation, including a relaxing gong meditation, letting the complex vibrations of the gong wash over us. We had a short discussion over tea afterwards, on the effects of the vibrations, and the class in general. The students in this course are engaged, thoughtful and open to exploring new ways of looking at music and health. It’s really a pleasure to teach!


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