Maybe it’s that one song that never fails to make you cry or that noise that immediately transports you to another time and place. We all know what it feels like to have a bone-deep connection to music and sound. Its ability to take us out of the present moment is due to a phenomenon known as "music-evoked autobiographical memories," so it’s no wonder that sound is such a powerful tool for healing and working through emotion.
Sound baths—a type of musical experience that aims to transport listeners to a new level of consciousness using deep, melodic compositions—leverage this same phenomenon to help us disconnect and relax into ourselves.
Engaging in a practice of deep listening has the ability to affect your overall well-being.
"Listening to this particular type of atonal sound helps facilitate awareness of the present moment. Sound is 'guiding' the meditation," says sound therapist, meditation teacher, and artist Sara Auster. "Engaging in a practice of deep listening has the ability to affect your overall well-being."
And while attending a communal sound bath is a great experience, conducting one in your own home holds its own special appeal.
Let’s break down how easy it is to reap the benefits of a sound bath from the comfort of your own space:
1. Tune in.
Crystal singing bowls, chimes, and bells are usually the building blocks of a rich sound bath symphony. The most crucial part of a sound bath? No surprise here: It’s a clean, crisp sound quality. Each note is important, and every instrument is thought to help encourage the mind to wander.
Sonos speakers can provide the ultimate sound immersion, thanks to their emphasis on quality and ease of use. The compact Sonos One speaker is small enough to fit in any home but powerful enough to wrap entire rooms in sound. Plus, you can listen to your spirit-infused playlist from the Sonos app, directly from Spotify, Airplay 2, or even Amazon Alexa, which is built directly into the speaker for hands-free control once your bath gets started. For those who have a television at home, the Sonos Beam is actually a 3-in-1 device that can serve as a music player, TV speaker, and smart assistant!
Once you land on your tech, it’s time to craft your soundtrack. You can find sound bath recordings on most major streaming services like Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music, and Amazon—all of which can be played on your Sonos speakers. Sara Auster’s soundscapes are some of our favorites, and they’re available on Spotify or on vinyl-in fact, Namora is the first vinyl sound bath..
2. Address the other senses.
Next, you should focus on getting comfortable enough to really appreciate this sound experience without distraction. Sound baths can serve as tools for quieting the mind in an age of overwhelm—but it’s hard to get in the zone if you’re distracted by harsh lighting, weird smells, or discomfort in the body.
Start by lying down on a blanket draped over the ground and adding pillows and bolsters for support under your knees, neck, or wherever else feels the most comfortable. Promote relaxation further by making your sound bath a phone-free zone (either place yours on airplane mode or leave it out of the room) and lighting a candle for another sensory element. Scents of lavender, bergamot, and ylang-ylang can help calm stress and restless thoughts, but make sure your candles use natural essential oils instead of chemical fragrances, which can irritate the body.
Finally, slip on an eye mask to further disconnect from your surroundings and tune in to the present moment.
Lie down, close your eyes, tell your Sonos to start playing, and simply relax. Let the mind drift where it wants to and avoid the urge to rein it back in. Let this be one of the few moments in your day in which you are totally free to daydream.
Most organized baths last around 20 minutes, but the beauty of doing one at home is that it can be as long or as short as you’d like.
Once your playlist is up, it’s time to reflect on what came up for you during the experience.
Giving the mind an invitation to wander can yield unexpected results, and there is no right or wrong way to feel after a sound bath. Whether you kept seeing visions of the beach and feel called to book a vacation or couldn’t stop thinking about a friend of yours and feel inspired to write him or her a letter, get it down onto the page. Keeping a journal of all of your post-sound-bath musings will make them easier to remember, and it will serve as a time capsule as you continue with the practice over time. As you’re writing, we suggest keeping the soothing, analog vibes going by popping on one of your all-time favorite tunes in the background on Sonos’ Vinyl Set.