This April i had an chance to experience powerful healing trough singing and dancing before and during Bali Spirit Festival as a courtesy of wonderful Helen Watson – an expert in many healing modalities and creator of SpiritDance SoulSoung retreat programs.
On that program Helen teaches embodied dance and her partner Daphne Tse teaches singing, the oldest spiritual practices on earth. In this article i will focus on singing because each of the topics deserve separate attention and are amazing in themselves.
Singing as healing modality
My journey to deep self-healing started when i stepped into a black car that picked me up in Canggu, to join Helen’s retreat in Mimpi Menjangan, a splendid resort northwest of Bali. Inside the car was a facilitator, Vernon Bush, that just flew into Bali from California.
What i later discovered is that Vernon is a singer, performer, vocal coach, founder of Voice Church. Vernon’s focus is to help people unblock their voice and free them from judgmental censors of their own. His methodology fosters a sense of inner connection and well-being through music.
As a son of a prominent Baptist minister, Vernon grew up in a singing community and started singing before he could walk. Vernon has amazing voice and an even more amazing smile. Singing is his life.
The road took us over three lakes, a mountain and we got blocked on the road many times by the ceremonies of the biggest annual Balinese religious holiday – Nyepi. Every village and town builds a paper macheh demon and they parade them on the main road. Traffic has to wait.
The deamons are paraded and then burned on the eve of the new year, as a symbol of shedding that which no longer serves us, and stepping into the new year afresh, ready for new beginnings. It is interesting that the beginning of the new Balinese year coincides with the spring solstice in the northern hemisphere and with astrological new year, the time of Aries.
I had no idea a deep transformation was is exactly what would happen to me on this trip.
After hours of waiting and searching for the side roads to overpass the ceremonies, we finally got to our destination. On the road we symbolically faced our demons of impatience, fear, inadequacy, distrust, dispair.
We talked a bit, during the 6 hours of the long car drive. I was collecting content for the promotion of the retreat, so i asked Vernon what inspires him to teach singing as path to well-being, and here is what he answered.
Joy and pain come from the same place
Trough singing we tap into our heart, into the internal vibration
Which is connected to the whole
To the ocean
Everyone has it
Sound is a healer
It brings joy to people
Singing brings life to people
Who doesn’t want to feel joy?
So i joined the circle of singing that night, in an open yoga shala. The sun has set and it was getting dark. Only our eyes were glowing.
The singing was conducted as chanting, the facilitator sings a few lines supported by the beat of drums and the circle repeats. Then facilitator sings a few lines and each one individually sings in front of the circle.
I was apprehensive at first, singing in front of a group of strangers that have been together on a retreat for three weeks. But my passion for singing and my joy were stronger than fear.
So I sang, i let my voice go. I found the strength to keep my voice balanced even when afraid. Its beautiful, the communal singing practice. It made me feel alive, vibrant, free from tiredness of the trip. Singing made me feel connected with the each one in the circle, learning about them trough the sounds they were making.
Some of them strong and loud, some of them timid and exploring their vocal possibilities. Our voice is our unique form of expression.
The participants on the retreat came from different parts of the world, USA, Australia, Japan, Germany. Each one of us unique and each one of us able to tune in to music, to oneness, to feeling good trough singing together.
Singing as therapy in medicine and physics
Studies conducted on patients of sound therapy proofs singing singing releases endorphins into the bloodstream, making you feel positive. The physical warm-up and breathing exercises helps patients to relax, and singing in harmony with others brings self-confidence, empowerment and a sense of team spirit. It stretches the abdominal muscles and stimulates circulation and expands the lungs.
Learning to sing a melody correctly also encourages people to concentrate on improving their posture and engage their brains and keep their memories sharp.
On the level of physics it is a fact that our bodies are in constant vibration. Every molecule, cell, tissue, organ, bone and liquid in our bodies has its own unique vibration. The science of cymatics proves that sound produced close to the human organism will create a physical change within the organism and its electromagnetic fields.
Sound therapy is based on the principle of resonance that one vibrating object causes another to vibrate in harmony with it. When we are ill,depressed, out of tune, it is because some part of us is not vibrating harmoniously with itself, the other parts, or its surroundings. So singing brings us back to the healthy vibration, in tune with ourselves and our environment.
To learn more about the SpiritDance SoulSong upcoming retreats click here.