Did you know that our sense of hearing is actually much much more precise than our sense of seeing? Our brain is so adept at hearing the differences between sounds, we can sense changes of sound that occur in less than a millionth of a second.
Our ears detect and process the vibrations produced by sound waves. When sound waves reach the eardrum they cause it to vibrate. These vibrations get amplified. This means when we hear something, we perceive the sound with every cell of our body as a vibration. Sounds of nature can be particularly soothing because we are part of nature. When we start to reconnect with nature, it can help create a deep connection to the universe. This in turn can help to open our hearts and to put our problems into perspective as we see ourselves as part of something which is much bigger than ourselves.
Here Retreat Host Claudia shares her expert advice on how you can use the soothing sounds of nature this spring to find inner balance:
Go to your local park, forest, beach, or garden and make yourself comfortable in a secluded spot. Close the eyes and try slow breathing - inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of six. This helps to slow the central nervous system. When you’re feeling calm and relaxed, start becoming aware of the sounds around you. Maybe you can hear waves gently lapping the shore, or an insect rummaging in blades of grass, or a bird scratching around in the bushes.
Really try and tune into the sounds… for example, if you’re in a park or garden, perhaps you’ll start to notice that the birds are not just singing one song, but a variety of tunes, in different tones and rhythms. Mindfully, bring your attention to each sound and feel your body soften and melt as you start to bathe in the sounds around you. Then, you can bring in your own voice to blend with the sounds of nature. Our voice is the most powerful healing tool that we have – it makes our body vibrate from inside - and I like to harness it with a technique called ‘sounding’.
Sounding is singing to yourself and inwardly… singing to your own soul and heart. It is different to singing outwardly or humming. You are not trying to create beautiful melodies. You are creating sounds that can bring soothing vibrations to the body.
When you are stressed or sick, you are vibrating on a lower vibration. But when you’re ‘sounding', you can raise the frequency that you vibrate in, and this can help you. A simple place to start is by singing vowels in whatever tone you like. Play with that. You might feel self-conscious. But, remember our voices are nature and there is nobody to judge you. This technique can help to move emotions in the body, providing a sense of release. To feel a deeper connection with nature, try leaning against a tree, using the tree as a support. Relax your vocal chords and release your voice.
I suggest that you try this for 15 minutes or so. Over time, you will find pleasure in certain sounds that can help you to find inner calm, peace and joy. Lastly, end the practise in silence. The silence is more profound after appreciative listening and sounding. We so often fill our silences with ‘busyness’. But, silence can become a space to be safe in and you can take the practise of appreciative listening on the outside to the inside to really listen to yourself. If you do this regularly you become tuned again like an instrument - when we are sick, anxious or stressed, our cells are out of tune. By using the power of sound and vibration, you can help to release tension in the body, self-soothe and bring yourself back to balance.The voice of a loved one can have strong soothing effects – think parent and child – and so can our own voice when we (re)integrate her in our lives and let ourselves be heard.