Discovering the power of a piano, a hang drum, quartz crystal singing bowls and meditative yoga
Because yoga has been life altering for me in recent years, I’m always filled with joy when I have the opportunity to share my piano improvisations with a live audience of participating yoga practitioners.
Journey Within was such an occasion. In July 2018 I co-hosted a special piano/yoga/meditation event with self empowerment coach Anna Gala in the sun-filled Beach United Church in Toronto. With its solar panelled roof and expansive walls of windows inviting the outdoors in, the church is a welcoming space, the greenest church in all of Toronto, a fitting venue for our celebration of the natural elements of music, mindfulness and resonant sound with physical movement as old as the ages.
As the yoga participants streamed into the church’s large open space, I lightly tapped a hang drum which produces an ethereal, mellow resonance, a sound that is at the same time, rich and melodic, setting the atmosphere for the special practice to come. Once people had quietly settled onto their mats, I set the hang drum aside while Dane Osorio introduced the healing and meditative dimension of quartz crystal singing bowls. Made from crushed quartz, a vibrational transmitter, the bowls are tuned to specific oscillatory frequencies found within the human body. In recent years they have been replacing the metal Tibetan bowls which have been used as a vibrational healing tool for centuries.
With the mood now established for a healing “journey within,” Dane quieted the singing bowls while I took my place at the piano and yoga instructor Stacy Irie Soul began the 45 minute practice. At one with the movement, I improvised, guiding and following the yoga poses with spontaneous piano accompaniment. In connecting with the yoga enthusiasts in real time on the piano, adjusting my pace and intensity according to the feedback I’m receiving from them, I feel their collective energy and I respond with my improvisations. I’m evoking and sharing emotions, channeling my musical energy into their bodies, sharing its power throughout the yoga session and flowing into the guided meditation led by Anna Gala that followed.
To bring the 30 minute meditation to a close, Dane once again introduced his quartz crystal bowls. In the same way that running your finger around the edge of a crystal glass full of water makes the glass ring and the water shift, the suede baton that Dane moved around the perimeter of the bowls coaxes out a harmonic tone that grows more pronounced with each circular pass of the baton. The powerful reverberating tones encourage stress relief, slowing down time and bringing the participants back from the meditative journey.
At the end of the session participants remarked on how calm, relaxing and grounding the experience had been for them. “I felt that something lifted from my soul,” said one woman. “Those blockages I had been carrying with me just lifted. It was an amazing healing an experience. I get chills just talking about it.”
In many ways, in sharing my music with the yoga participants, I also share the same uplifting experience. It’s a gift that I’m grateful to be able to give as well as receive.
I’d like to extend a warm thank you to the Beach United Church for their venue so conducive to our event and our sponsors who supplied us with delicious refreshment samples from health beverages to organic salads. With everyone energized, relaxed and restored we stayed to mingle and chat while enjoying the tasty samples.
A special thank you also to photographers Roya Mansoorvar & Pedro Marquez, videographer Vahid Homatash and writer Dee Gibney.
Journey Within Events are organized by Arash Behzadi and Anna Gala. Next event will be on Dec 1st, 2018 at Toronto’s Beach United Church at noon. Yoga will be guided by Alexandria Luciana (@theonlyalexandria) and Dane Osorio will also be gifting us with his Crystal Bowl Sound Healing. For further information about future Journey Within events please check www.ourjourneywithin.ca or www.arashbehzadi.com.