|Martha explains the different sound instruments|
The two-day workshop was led by Martha Collard, a student of 81-year old gong master Don Conreaux. She is an amazing teacher who has evolved from being a marine biologist, management consultant to a full-time holistic wellness advocate and practitioner. She was the vice president for Corporate Wellness at the Lane Crawford Joyce Group before setting up her Red Doors Studio at Wong Chuck in the south side of Hong Kong island.
The studio, dubbed ''ancient healing for modern man', is home to her extensive paiste gong collection and serves as a platform for other modalities such as labyrinths and therapeutic kundalini yoga.
|Joanna, kidney transplant receiver|
Most of my classmates in the workshop were into the healing arts. Joanna a kidney transplant receiver for the last five years, told me that she tried everything from medicines, alternative healing therapies and even the meditation bowl. It was only after her first Puja-rama that she felt peaceful, strong and energized. She wants to heal herself that's why she doesn't mind the 2.5-hours commute from Sai Kung just to attend Martha's monthly gong baths and workshops.
|Martha hands my certificate|
In the workshop, we learned the basic history and myth of the gong, the different ways to play the strokes, the different types of gong, its frequencies and characteristics and how to take care of the gong. The fun part was that we were able to practice and tune in with the gong and even tune in with the group. We played all her 15 gongs with sizes ranging from 24 inches (moon gong) to 38 inches (symphonic and planetary gongs) using different size mallets. We also played her other sound instruments - the tibetan bowls, crystal bowls, conch, happi drum, an assortment of bells, etc.
I kept going back playing her 38-in Sedna planetary gong. Sedna tuned to 128.1 Hz (C2 pitch) and creates a sound that expands and challenges ideas and assumptions about the very nature of the cosmos, opening up to new paradigms and non duality. I must be wanting to heal Hong Kong or maybe prepare for the polar vortex. Apparently, the sound Sedna produces, provides access to the deep layers of the personal and collective unconscious, super conscious and Universal intelligences.
The gong is a spiritual instrument and recognized as having the most impact on a person after the human voice - such is its range of vibrations and energy levels. She emphasized that the gong must be played 'free of all ego' and intuitively with the person or people in place at the same time.
|Preparing for the Puja-rama|
The culminating part was the Puja-rama a special event where all those who join are bathed in the soothing sounds of the gongs for eight hours of continous play. Well, since sunrise in Hong Kong in January is later; this is, at 7 am, we played for nine hours instead of eight. We [the students] took turns playing for an allotted time. My time was before the ambrosial hours from 2:15 to 2:45 am. Aside from us, there were cancer survivors who took part in the puja.
The sound of the gong is healing in all aspects. It reaches the body on a cellular level, encouraging integrated healing of body, mind and spirit.
Kundalini Yoga master teacher Harijiwan explained: "The Universe is powered by sound. The gong is the basic creative sound. Out of the gong comes all music, all sounds, all words. The sound of the gong is the nucleus of the Word. Think of the human body as a divine instrument with strings. We are composed of 72 strings. The crown chakra - the thousand petal lotus - impacts each of these strings with a thousand-fold vibration. So there are 72,000 vibratory impacts that send energy throughout our system and these vibrations shape us physically, emotionally and mentally. When the gong is played, the vibration of the string causes all thirty trillion cells of the body to resonate, to dance - forming patterns that release blockages that have prevented the cosmic pulsation to flow freely through our being. Within this creative cosmic flow, we find fulfillment, harmony and love."
|with my Kundalini Yoga students|
Back in Manila the next day, I surprised the students of my Kundalini Yoga class with a 20-minutes gong bath. I'm happy to read the comment of one student on Facebook who hasn't been sleeping well. She wrote "After the gong bath, I was floating! The effect was great. I was able to sleep soundly. My cat too! Thank you." If you want to try the healing sound of the gong, contact me or join one of my kundalini yoga classes. :-)