She enters the studio, silent and smiling with her eyes. Clad in a felted fedora and delicate gold frames, with her long dark hair in a braid. She shuffles across the floor in fuzzy socks carrying two soft cases and a tote bag with her precious instruments tucked away inside. She is a healer, but doesn’t self identify as one. Those who have experienced her work are transformed. Meet Sara Auster, a certified Sound Therapist and Meditation Teacher based in New York City. In 2002, after an accident left her with a broken back, chronic pain and an inability to continue her work as a musician and artist, Sara began a journey of self-healing. Today she works with sound therapy and has popularized sound meditation and sound therapy bridging it with contemporary culture. Gwyneth Paltrow calls Sara’s sound baths “lotion for the nervous system” and she is right! A Sound Bath is a meditative immersive experience, intentionally using sound to invite therapeutic or restorative effects. It can be a gentle yet powerful experience for the mind and body. It’s like having an internal massage using the vibration of sound. And when you attend a sound bath facilitated by Sara Auster, its a life-altering event.
The experience begins with each person lying down or seated in a comfortable position, often with a blanket and an eye mask. After a few minutes of guided focus on deep breathing, the remainder of the experience is filled with an array of sounds and frequencies being introduced in succession. The sounds are created by a variety of overtone-emitting instruments including tuning forks, gongs, shruti box, Himalayan and crystal singing bowls, chimes, and often the voice.
Sara brings a grounding presence to every space she enters. In addition to thousands of hours of yoga trainings in therapeutics and philosophy, she studied Shiatsu and Swedish massage therapy at The Swedish Institute in New York City and is a Reiki practitioner. Her methods are informed by her studies of neuroscience, psychoacoustics, Yoga Nidra, shamanism and Traditional Chinese medicine. Sara offers sound meditation in different formats including workshops, retreats, trainings, private sessions and large-scale events all over the world. Sara is the Sound Director for The Big Quiet and MNDFL, and has facilitated sound events at venues such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Rubin Museum, Lincoln Center and Summer Stage in Central Park in NYC.
Using holistic approaches to healing with the transformative power of music and sound, Sara’s carefully crafted personal instruction allows her students and clients to use sound as a tool to support, access, and cultivate deep relaxation. Possessing the unique ability to offer quality sound work in a large format, Sara provides a shared meditative experience for groups of ten to ten thousand.
Sara’s Sound Bath was listed as a top meditation practice to try by Oprah Magazine and she was recently named as one of “50 Innovators Shaping the Future of Wellness” by Sonima. If you’re not located in NYC, no worries, you can experience Sara’s sound recordings in the form of a USB drive with over 90 minutes of music to accompany meditation, and promote deep relaxation and sound sleep. Her Sound Mo(ve)ments comes with a Quartz Crystal tip that has been bathed in the sounds of live crystal singing bowls, tuning forks and gong. Just in time for Christmas her Namora album is the first sound bath to be released on vinyl. The album is designed to accompany meditation, relaxation and deep listening practices.
Proponents suggest that sound bathing calms our often overstimulated nervous systems and balances the subtle body, which governs our energetic life force. Sound baths are said to work both the physical body and the subtle body to help heal depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia, and to deepen meditation and spark creativity. Sound can be a powerful way to connect with your baby during pregnancy and an extraordinary tool for a blissful birth. Sound can also facilitate healing, remove energetic blocks and create the space for deep opening in hopeful expectants on the fertility path.
Here are 5 Considerations to be Mindful of When Preparing for your Sound Bath.
Be Open: You will be in a configuration, lying on the floor with strangers. The sound practitioner will often have her instruments with her in the center of the room, with everyone spread around her in a circle creating a pathway for vibration. Be ready for an intimate environment.
You may be Emotional: Sound works to release emotions lodged in the subtle body. You might feel tears come to the surface or even laughter. Just allow yourself to experience the wave of emotion and lean into your vulnerability.
You May Feel the Sound through Your Body: Specific frequencies of sound can bring our physical and subtle bodies into a state of equilibrium. During your sound bath you may want to try placing one hand over your heart and one hand over your belly and simply imagine the vibrations permeating both your physical and subtle body. Attuning into the sensation of the sound in this way can lead to a deep state of relaxation.
You May Fall Asleep: Sara has that disarming effect. Many of her clients fall asleep during the sessions. You do still experience the healing power while sleeping. And even if you don’t fall asleep during the sound bath the effects stay with you long after the sound bath has ended.
Take it Easy Afterward: Take some extra glow time after the sound bath so you can soak up the serenity after your sound bath. Don’t rush on to the next thing. Don’t force yourself to do anything that requires cognitive focus, have a cup of tea, just take your time to re-enter the world.