Sound Healing in Nosara
In the 1940s the US military incorporated the playing of music into programs aimed at expediting the recovery of bruised and battered army personnel returning from Europe. Many commentators have identified this era as the birthplace of music and sound therapy. They are wrong.
Since written records began, and in all probability since time immemorial, sound has been a key component of healing throughout countless cultures from Central and South America, Africa, Europe and beyond. Ancient literature talks of music as Apollo’s go-to medicine for curing the sick. Both Plato and Aristotle claimed that music positively affected the emotions, and thus cured the soul of countless ailments. Pythagoras insisted that sound, delivered at varying frequencies and intervals was a powerful tool to shift individuals from a state of imbalance to balance. Outside of Ancient Greece, Central and South American cultures use icaros, or medicinal melodies in a ceremonial setting to facilitate healing alongside spiritual, physical, and emotional restoration. Even both the Old and New Testament regularly cite the use of musical instruments to vanquish evil spirits and heal the sick.
Fast forward a few millennia to the modern era, where nowadays a growing awareness among westerners regarding the therapeutic potency of sound waves, in varying frequencies and formats, has resulted in a rising tide of music therapy, and sound journeys. These sound therapists believe that the human body is hugely susceptible to certain “energy frequencies,” and that specific frequencies can be used as a tuning fork to realign any energies that slip out of their natural key. In addition to entraining the brain to sink into a deep meditative state, these frequencies act as a calibration tool, perfectly suited in balancing out-of-sync areas of the mind by permeating it with stable, harmonious tones and frequencies. This, they believe, is achieved by little more than basking in the harmonic vibrations of sound. Although the instruments of delivery vary greatly, the industry standard comprises crystal bowls, singing bowls, gongs, harps, pan drums, chimes, vocals and more.
Naturally, sound therapy is still considered an alternative medicine, and thus may result in raised eyebrows from many mainstream medical practitioners and the more rationally inclined. Nevertheless, in addition to scores of anecdotal reports attesting to its efficacy, volumes of evidence have also emerged from the labs that strongly support the notion that sound therapy is both effective, and indeed necessary to our emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Sleep disorders, anxiety, stress management, PTSD, depression, even pain management and motor functioning are all included in the list of ailments sound therapy has been claimed to combat.
Yet, it remains misunderstood.
When it comes to spiritual, emotional, and psychological tune ups, Playa Guiones is no stranger to alternative therapies and pioneering treatments. Thus, in an environment where healing is promoted in the form of everything from yoga, surfing, through to intense psychedelic journeys, it comes as little surprise that the rising popularity of sound journeys has been both rapid and well received. At the tip of this campaign to spread awareness regarding the benefits these experiences offer, are a small number of Guiones residents for whom sound journeys, sound therapy, sound healing, call it what you will, constitutes a calling they couldn’t ignore. The following information comes directly from those individuals, and offers numerous insights into their characters and perspectives.
My first experience with a “sound journey” was about three years ago. I saw a listing on FB by Shanti Sounds Costa Rica, a husband and wife duo, Michael Myzel and Ayi Wong- it was the first season they opened their home to the public to offer what they call a Sound Journey. I was immediately drawn to the work and amazed by the power of the instruments they used; multiple gongs ranging from 24” to 50”, crystal bowls and harps, chimes and other sound making instruments. I attended almost every offering from that moment and eventually began training with them on the gongs and bowls and also trained with their teacher, Don Conreaux, the “father” of the Gong Bath.
I have been a professional musician, singer and performer my entire life and more recently a certified yoga instructor. Offering Sound Healing and Sound Journeys has been a natural progression of my musical evolutionary process, These offerings allow me to combine my passion for music with my desire to serve and in the two years since I began offering Sound Journeys with my husband Dan Martier, who is an accomplished drummer/percussionist/singer, and the response has been overwhelming. I opened a wellness space in my home town on the Outer Banks of North Carolina called The Well. This offers Sound Journeys on a regular basis and its almost always packed.
Dan and I are sponsored by Paiste and Meinl. We are currently working with a 38” earth gong, 38” sun gong, 34” Wuhan gong, 34” Symphonic Brilliant gong, 34’ Mercury gong, 24” moon gong, 24” Venus gong, 22” symphonic We also have a combination of about 20 Tibetan and crystal bowls including a Crystal Tones practitioner bowl, which has a handle so it can be moved over bodies. Dan plays a Meinl Harmonic hand pan drum. We have rattles, Koshi Chimes, tuning forks, and we also use our voices. What I experience as a witness to those who come to our journey’s is that people are able to reach a state of deep relaxation with ease. There is something about a gong that moves you out of a “thought” space quite quickly so people that don’t practice meditation find it a really helpful way to drop in. For those accustomed to meditative practices I’ve heard people compare their experience to a psychedelic journey or “out of body” feeling Beginning May 2018 Martier Sound Meditation will be touring the East Coast of USA with Wanderlust Festivals and at The Well Yoga Coop on the OUter Banks of North Carolina. They will be back in Nosara in November offering Sound Healing for yoga, retreats and breathwork classes.
Although I am interested in the science of sound healing and consider it invaluable information for those of us in the field and for people who are very analytically minded, I am more interested in the intuitive tonal even musical approach so that people can really give their thinking brain a rest. So I don’t use a lot of language before embarking on a sound journey. I suggest that one give the experience over to or sink into curiosity and to where the sound can take you and how it makes you feel and how it can perhaps change how you feel.
Several years ago I attended a “sound journey” lead by Julian Devoe, a friend of my soulmate Ashi who she had met at a yoga training here in Nosara, CR. Julian was working at a retreat center in Peru facilitating yoga and shamanic retreats. The Sound Journey was held at Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort in Shakti Shala where I teach today. In that first sound experience I traveled to a temple in China and journeyed through a desert in Africa. In the African dessert vision I was an old man with a long grey beard using a walking staff with temple bells that would sound with each step and wearing a flowing white gown. The powerful vibrations of the gong, the deep stable drone of the large crystal singing bowl as well as the chanting vocals of Julian created visions and sensations in my body that would shift my path ever so lightly to where I am today.
Soon after that, I was talking to my friend, Lotus Zalzala, who is a yoga teacher here in Nosara, Costa Rica and he asked me to play a few instruments during his yoga class while his students were in savasasa (the part of the yoga class where you lie down and relax at the end). I played a Tibetan singing bowl which Ashi had obtained several months before and ironically, was the first singing bowl I had every truly experienced. During those weeks and months of playing in many yoga classes I obtained a few more instruments including tuning forks, didgeridoo and Peruvian shells…. and eventually a Himalayan quartz crystal Practioner bowl. All along the way I was working with the frequency of plants and cultivating herbs, edibles and medicinals in my personal permaculture garden here in Costa Rica which, to my surprise, is the birth place of much of my shifting and change. Observing the convergence of frequencies between plants and humans creating an indisputable alchemic calming which would soon mirror the achemy between sacred instruments and people. The plants were orchestrating the entire process bringing awareness and clarity and leading me on this profound path of knowing self and the desire to flow abundance from the inside domain to the external projection around me.
My son Jaco entered sound school at The Global Institute for sound healing in San Fransisco, CA after traveling around Europe and living on a farm in Peru for several years leading up to entering the school. When he completed the 4 month training he returned to our home here in Costa Rica and shared all that he had learned. Sharing the power of voice, meditation, vibrational energy, channeling and the use of instruments to help guide us to our purest form, the original state of the human being. I didn’t realize it at the time but he was cultivating a connection to sound creation that I would express in front of thousands of people in the following months and years. I am thankful to my son, Jaco, for exposing this healing modality to me which I am now so passionate about.
A new connection was made with Shanti Sounds Costa Rica owned by Michael and Ayi Mayzell who are also partners in the Blue Spirit Retreat Center here in Nosara. Michael and Ayi live here in Nosara and distribute Crystal Tones, a maker of high end crystal singing bowls based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Over the following two years I enrolled into many crystal bowl work shops as well as an immersive gong workshop followed by an all night gong puja. Obtaining a gong from Shanti Sounds also brought another element to our Sound Journey’s. Through the connection with Ayi and Michae, who are now two of my great teachers, I have obtained a large family of crystal singing bowls which I use in my classes that I teach at Bodhi Tree.
I never really spoke to Julian after that first sound Journey but Lotus inspired me to do a “Sound Journy” offered to the public at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa which is a beautiful retreat center up in the mountains overlooking the ocean just a 20 minute drive from the town I live in. And ironically the 2nd sound journey we did was held in the exact same “Shala”, Shakti Shala, at Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort where I teach today. Jaco became part of the journey further bringing his great knowledge of sound, connection, and vocals to an audience hungry for the dominant, consistent, stable vibrations that invoked deep healing physically, emotionally and mentally all leading us to the path of understanding the pure essence of self. You can call it whatever you want, bliss, oneness, presence, peace, harmony, flow….. this list of true being is infinite.
After our first Journey we proceeded to offer multiple Sound Journey’s during the high season here in Nosara which lead to a collection of more instruments, weekly scheduled classes, private sound therapy sessions in the garden, stone ceremonies, sound journey’s for yoga retreat and sound baths during my garden project called the edible journey. My soul mate Ashi had the idea of co-creating a yoga class together where she would facilitate restorative movements and I would support her class with sound. She presented the idea to Bodhi Tree and they immediately put us on the schedule. People seemed drawn to the balance of feminine and masculine energy in the class and my relationship with her has grown into another dimension through the alchemy of our co-creation. We still teach this class every Friday together and have grown so much as a result of the colloboration. She is an amazing yoga teacher, incredibly wise soul, a profoundly authentic human being that is now also devoted to teaching not only mindful yoga but offering sound as a new layer of connecting people to their true spirits. If you spend any time with her, you will walk away more connected to your heart and mind. In summary she is a vibrational upgrade for anyone that makes contact with her. I feel honored to be in relationship with her.
Most recently I collaborated with a well known Sitar player named Santos Sitar. I am honored to be working with such an amazing musician and we plan to evolve our offerings throughout the area. Santos came to one of my sound classes and he was so sensitive to the vibrations that he offered to collaborate with me to evolve his own personal practice and bring a new offering to the area. Our vision is to begin to create an experience for people that invokes spirit but is layered with an incredibly unique mystical sound and made accessible to people outside of the yoga community.
Sacred sound instruments entrain our bodies and minds to a dominant stable vibrational source that create balance and healing in our bodies. Sometimes it invokes emotional, mental and physical debris to the surface and ultimately will cleanse these subtle bodies into a harmonious state which is our natural state. To put it simply, the sacred sound instruments will cleanse you and ultimately can bring a sense of peace, harmony and flow optimizing our human nature. The way we were originally designed. They guide you to your true spirit by eliminating all the debris which includes, false identities, attachments, injuries, stress, depression, anxiety and unnecessary fear. Once you realize the power in cleansing this debris from our beings, it’s hard to go back….. The Pandoras box has been open.
You can find my sound project on Facebook under Ceibo Fellers or instagram under Ceibos Garden. Also you can visit Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort and see the classes I offer. I would love for you to visit me in one of the classes and for you to experience the sacred sounds first hand.