Back OMBATH...RELAXATION - SOMATIC AWARENESS - MEDITATION
We work so hard in our searching for fulfilment that we must remember relaxation is a vital part of any healthy life. An affordable and portable vibro-acoustic bed The OmBath invites you to feel the gentle vibrations and benevolent sounds wash through the body and simply breath and relax. Experiencing this open relaxed but aware state is not only good for our physical health but is creative and transformative, in that it balances and compliments the doing aspects of our life with being offers new insights or perspectives on the challenges we may face.
Being a facilitator of mindfulness and meditation I’m aware what a challenge it can be to simply sit and meditate. I shift from a busy world to the relative stillness and quiet can be too much of a shift to begin with.
Working the small UK festival scene for a few years introduced me to sound as a form of spiritual practice and healing. From mantra to sound baths the accessibility and popularity of these ways impressed me.
I met some wonderful musicians and sound workers who have inspired me.
The Ombath came from an idea planted when I borrowed a Friends large Tibetan singing bowl (Barry’s Big Bowl as it has come to be known). This bowl when sung produced a frequency around 85hz. More felt than heard we started resting the bowl on the guests bodies and the effect was profound. From deep energetic shifts, dream like states and states of deep relaxation were reported from a few minutes of experiencing the bowls vibrations.
On reflection it became clear that the body has a very close affinity with vibration. It may be the very first of our sensory perceptions, our mother's heartbeat whilst in the womb. Just as when we relax into a warm bath the bodies innate memory of being held in body temperature water can be very soothing and relaxing. So too the vibrations experienced during the singing bowl sessions connected to some deep remembering.
Moving forward I wanted a way that guests could experience these soothing vibrations without having to rest a heavy bowl on them and play it constantly.
A simple solution presented itself, a folding suspension bed with a large PA speaker placed underneath. This worked well but was not particularly practical so the PA speaker was replaced by a pair of tactile transducers.
I found a sound file of Om chanting to a 417hz frequency and it worked beautifully. It was very well received by the guests and even the other facilitators found the low frequencies and benevolent chanting provided a welcome presence, almost like a comforting heartbeat to the festival.
So was born the OmBath. A simple, folding, accessible vibroacoustic bed.
My take on the effectiveness of the OmBath.
“The OmBath is a stepping stone to peace and stillness...In an increasingly busy and demanding world the OmBath asks of us simply to breath and relax”
In Zen, my teacher Daizan Zenji talks about different aspects of practice, namely oar and sail. There are times when the best option or most effective way is to get on the oars and start rowing. To move the boat out of its sheltered mooring and head for open waters. Equally once in open waters we can hoist the sail and sit with the rudder. It seems the day to day goings on of the world is oar heavy, so to speak. We spend most of our time doing and very little being. We are more familiar to a doing way of life that we can miss opportunities to hoist that sail. This can develop to the point when even an open opportunity to relax and find a little rest from the business of daily life is ignored because of not knowing what to do in it, or we find a distraction through the many devices we use today.
Realising the importance in 1. needing to relax and 2. practicing and cultivating relaxation is vitally important, and in many cases comes in the form of a powerful wake up call. Apart from the many physiological benefits a relaxed state can support through enhancing immune system function, it’s the space or field Rumi refers to and is the source of creativity, the fertile ground of insight too.
To be relaxed and aware sounds the simplest of duties but it proves far harder in practice. The shear pace of day to day life with its time constraints can put our minds in a spin and they don’t want to stop. It's like the attention is located in our heads and very little elsewhere. The OmBath is designed to stimulate the body through its deep frequency vibrations. This naturally draws the attention down into the body and redistributes the attention.
If you ever notice a baby sleeping you will see the belly rising and falling with the breath. When relaxed the breath travels deep, when stressed shallow. So with the attention better distributed the breath follows and so too our energy. Once the busy mind begins to get out of the way the body can get on with doing what it does best, looking after itself. Whilst resting, our bodies energies are reversed from their familiar patterns and begin to bring some form of balance between the two. They are both important and can compliment each other - this develops a healthy relationship.
In Zen, the sitting posture embodies these truths. You sit like a mountain, broad based and firmly grounded. The mid section is open and allowing with the head balance atop, high with a clear view. Like the mountain the energies are distributed with the inherent heat located in the belly, like the lava in a volcano. The heart is warm and open, this allows life to thrive. The head cool and clear like the snowy peak.