Gong Bathing

gongswirl

To study and sit with the gods of yoga is to certainly encounter along the way your ISHTADEVATA, the deity you most desire. As we unpack the gods and encounter their subtle energies, certain ones simply resonate more than others at the deepest fibers of our hearts. For me, that’s Subrahmanya, Shiva’s peacock riding son. He has been the focal point of my meditative sadhana for over a decade. He’s an edgy and wondrous fellow who keeps very close company with the GHANDARVAS and their wives, the APSARAS.

The Ghandarvas are healing energies – they are the physicians to the gods, ecstatic dancers and “celestial bongo players.” Basically these are the sexiest male entities in the Hindu pantheon, sometimes taking form as half-men, half horse centaurians. Sometimes they are bird-men, similar to the APUS, important energies in the energetic healing traditions of Peru. They frolic with the Apsaras who are beguiling musical nymphs, mermaid-like creatures who haunt secret fresh water springs in deep forests. Apsaras are equally just as sexy, musical and magical as their male counterparts. More so. It was the bewitching presence of an Apsara maiden who inspired the birth of the first unicorn. More on that tale another day…

gandharva

Having sat with Subrahmanya for so many years, I have encountered these spirits often in subtle worlds of meditation. So how freaking cool was it for me last week to experience them in manifest reality? My friend Lucy Child IS in fact the Queen of the Apsaras. I’m pretty sure. No. I know it. And she’s co-creating a healing soundscape with me at my classes at Virayoga on Thursdays at 10a.  Lucy is a wildly generous, skillful, intuitive sound healer and musician I had the great fortune to get to know a couple years ago in Peru. Together we studied with Celestial Shamans of the Andean Tradition. Ever since then, my yoga has been blending the Peruvian Cosmology with my love of Hindu Tantra. Early on in last week’s class I looked over at Lucy as she was playing chimes and bells and bowls – and time, space and identity became a kaleidoscope (hold it together, Eric, you’re teaching a yoga class.) I was in the enchanted healing forest, right there at 580 Broadway.

Apsara

After attending a Gong Bath with Lucy and her colleague Emily last month, I knew Lucy and I needed to collaborate. I went into the Gong Bath with a feeling of Peruvian love in my heart, thinking so fondly of our trip together and all the weird and powerful healing magic we’d experienced. And I was wondering just how and when I might find a way back there. The gong bath itself was like a Shamanic journey, similar to a lot of the meditative experiences I had in Peru. I woke up from the Gong Bath that night feeling that a piece of my heart was back in place that had gone missing, a soul retrieval. It was so visceral, so palpable. And continues to be so weeks later. Just breathing right now and tuning in, I can feel this strong little energetic spot near my physical heart that wasn’t there before. Or was always there but had disappeared for a long time. The sacred gong is a magical healer fer sure. Oh! And the DAY AFTER the gong bath I got an email from Tamandua Expeditions in Peru, looking for me to lead the yoga portion of an Amazon adventure this summer. I’m going back to Peru! To the lungs of the world this time – in the Amazon. I can’t wait. Details on that adventure forthcoming…

It’s so often in the collaborative process that I discover my favorite juju. Come play with Lucy and me on a Thursday morning soon. Or attend our special yoga + gong bath ceremony on April 28.

And I would so love to hear comments from YOU about your own experiences with the healing power of SOUND.

 

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