There is no doubt that this past year has been traumatic for all of us as individuals and as a collective - and this trauma has manifested itself in our bodies, minds and energetic fields in a myriad of ways. As uncertainty about the future continues, it’s imperative that we recognize the imbalances this has caused and work to ground and nurture ourselves through techniques like vibrational healing in order to avoid serious or long-term disorders precipitated by chronic stress.
The 7 main chakras are energy centers that are located in various points from the bottom of our spine up to the top of the head. Each of these chakras are typically developed during specific age ranges throughout our lives and reflect different aspects of our physical and emotional bodies. Whenever we experience trauma or sudden changes in our lives, from a divorce to a death to a job loss, our chakras become especially imbalanced, causing us to rebuild aspects of ourselves starting again from the root. We are forced to figure out how to ensure our basic needs are met to survive day-to-day.
Perhaps it’s because I have also been personally experiencing the trauma of the past year that it took me until just recently to step back and realize that this shared global event has created a shared global rebuilding of the root chakra. When our root chakra is in balance, we feel secure, grounded and provided for. It is ruled by our sense of safety - and therefore conversely ruled by our sense of fear. The fear that we have all felt in varying degrees throughout the past year - whether it be from our own experiences or through things we watch or read about in the news - triggers our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response), creating increased levels of stress and anxiety.
It is critical to become aware of this imbalance, have compassion for ourselves and learn coping tools that engage the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest response) as often as possible to create homeostasis. If our sympathetic nervous system is engaged for extended periods of time, problems like poor sleep, hypertension, panic attacks and anxiety can arise.
One of the most powerful and ancient ways to affect our autonomic nervous systems is through sound. As you likely know, our physical and energetic bodies are highly sensitive to sound - whether it is the sudden noise of an alarm or soothing ocean waves. All matter, including our bodies, have vibrational frequencies so it makes sense that the vibrations of our voice and other instruments would impact the way our cells move in space.
There is a universal phenomenon called entrainment that shows us there is a tendency for matter to move towards harmony. As Dr. Mitchell L. Gaynor writes in his groundbreaking book The Healing Power of Sound, “The reason that entrainment occurs is that the more powerful rhythmic vibrations of one object, when projected upon another object with a similar frequency, will cause that object to vibrate in resonance with the first object. We human beings also react in resonance with the vibrations and fluctuations in our surroundings, so it follows that our physiological functioning may be altered by the impact of sound waves, whether produced by our own voices or by objects or instruments in our environment.”
Without getting too down the physics rabbithole, we can also take into account that around 60 percent of our body and organs are made up of water - and we’ve all seen how water molecules are entrained and affected by sound frequencies (if not, here’s an incredible video!). When doing any of the below exercises, I encourage you to visualize the water inside your body responding in resonance with the sound vibrations you are working with - creating beautiful shapes and breaking up dis-harmony on a cellular level.
There are three easy ways we can all utilize the power of sound to regulate our nervous system and heal our root chakra:
- Humming - Find a comfortable seat, take a couple of long, deep breaths in and out of the nose and filling up the belly. Feel free to close your eyes to further focus your energy inward. Take a moment to acknowledge the support of the ground or floor beneath you and find some gratitude for this anchor. Whenever you feel ready, hum a note - any note! - on your exhale to the end of your breath. Play around with different note ranges, humming a high note then humming a low note, noticing where you feel the vibrations in your body. You’ll feel some more in your chest and others in your mouth, nose and/or sinuses and you can even place your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your belly to tune into these vibrations. Continue with these elongated exhalations for 3-5 minutes and imagine each hummed vibration breaking up stagnant and blocked energy throughout the body. This exercise will also slow your breath naturally and help calm your mind and body.
- Mantra chanting - Chanting and singing mantras can be an incredibly powerful way to connect your voice and body to ancient wisdom and positive words/phrases. Don’t be intimidated or turned away from this if you don’t consider yourself a “good” singer - this is a wonderful way to explore your voice and gain confidence! The list of mantras and phrases is extensive, but there are ways to keep it simple by focusing on a single word, like “om”, to get the desired results. You can find some great resources on YouTube like this one if you feel more comfortable chanting along with a recording, and you can find articles like this one from Yoga Journal to see what mantras resonate with you most. You can start off by chanting for 5 minutes, and work your way up to 11 minutes to get the most impact.
- Crystal or Tibetan singing bowls - My personal favorite way to use sound is through playing my crystal bowls. They can be used in conjunction with humming or mantra chanting to elevate those practices. If you are lucky enough to own a bowl, you can use it as a drone while you chant or hum, but singing the bowl alone will still benefit from the pure frequencies created by the bowls. If you don’t have any bowls at your disposal, you can also sit or lie down in a comfortable position and listen to recordings of singing bowls (this guy is one of my favorites!). There is no magic amount of time to stick to but playing or listening to a bowl for 5 minutes and beyond will bring your cells into harmony and activate a relaxation response in your nervous system.
Dr. Gaynor also notes that “Sound and music...can be used therapeutically to help us uncover and resolve repressed emotions associated with past or ongoing traumas. Sound intervention for emotional expression and resolution is a powerful modality that...can represent a virtual shortcut toward psychological well-being.” Of course, activities such as yoga, meditation and breathwork all have an amazing impact on your autonomic nervous system and can be incredible tools to achieve an equilibrium.
I encourage you to get creative with incorporating these sound healing techniques into your meditation and yoga practices to make them even more sacred, personal and effective. It’s time to take advantage of these practices in whatever ways we are able to overcome the traumas of the past year and raise our collective frequency!
- Mantras - My beautiful friend, yogi and healer Joanna Barbara does free weekly mantra training. You can find out more on her Instagram: @MusicCityMindfulness
- Mantra recordings - Meditative Mind, Deva Premal,
- To purchase a singing bowl: Silver Sky Imports or SunReed Instruments
Kayce Laine began studying energy work while exploring ways to overcome creative block to support her songwriting. After initially researching vibrational healing on her own, she undertook formal study and became a certified crystal healer (CCH) and certified Reiki healer to further channel energy work to cultivate imagination and inspiration. She currently resides in Nashville TN and will be releasing a full-length indie pop record in 2021.