A mindful approach to sound

Dr. Irene Feher offers a sound bath for students to practice mindfulness by listening to instruments and humming.

“Let yourself relax and receive,” said Dr. Irene Feher, a singing teacher in Concordia’s music department during the sound bath she hosted on Feb. 22. Attendees closed their eyes to become witnesses of their inner worlds as they immersed themselves in gentle sounds from singing bowls, hand pans, ocean drums, flutes and humming.

After a half-hour of mindful listening, the group took part in an active humming practice. Vocal toning is a means of self-administering sound healing practice and allows individuals to use their natural voice to create a healing frequency through their vocal cords’ vibration. 

This technique was brought to Feher’s attention by friend and teacher Dr. Shelley Snow, a psychotherapist and music therapist. It can be used to center the mind and find clarity by setting an intention beforehand—it is different for every person. After the session, people felt relaxed and sleepy. 

“It’s odd but delightful to take a short, mindful break,” an attendee shared during the event, which was made possible by CU Wellness.  

Feher explained that mindful practices like these allow a person to connect to their vital energy, a spiritual force that can be used to heal, develop spiritually, and gain inner peace, clarity, and a more positive perception of the world. This way, a person can achieve a healthier sense of self, reducing stress levels and lowering cortisol. She added that mindful practices helped her when she had difficulty sleeping during the pandemic or when she was stressed the day before a music performance. 

“Silence is your friend,” Feher said.

The practice of vocal toning reminds her of babies humming in the maternal womb and it attests to the power of sound to heal, as described by Snow. “We were comforted as babies by the voice of our mothers,” Feher said.

During the pandemic, she developed her own daily mindful routine based on Snow’s teachings. Feher saw that both faculty members and students enjoyed these practices as she began offering mindfulness sessions.

Feher’s instruments include hand pans, sound bowls, drums and more. Photo by Félix Laliberté / The Concordian.

Mindful Campus Initiatives encourage everybody to participate. They are made possible by the university to help students tackle mental health. The initiative aims to create a healthy sense of community and shared experiences to the students. 

Beyond the confines of the university setting, Feher said these practices have a greater potential. According to her, there is a possibility of creating a large vibration in the room, which is as powerful as touch. Feher said it could also create a field of healing vibration directed toward the whole world or wherever it is needed, for example in Gaza or Ukraine. 

Snow believes this force is like water flowing through the earth and keeping the plants alive, or the life that lets a soul speak. The transfer that can happen is like inhaling and exhaling.    

The focus of this area of study is the impact of consciousness on the world we live in, along with the links between our thoughts and the visible world. As discussed by Snow, the book The Healing Power of Sound explains that music and sound are linked to every level of human existence, be it emotional, physical, spiritual or mental. It is like several branches from a tree as many different approaches coexist in this field of mindfulness, spirituality and alternative medicine. 

Feher will be giving another sound bath open to all at 5:30 p.m. on March 28 in EV 2.776. Sign up on the event page.

Exit mobile version