Sarah Gardner’s Sound Baths Offer Immersive Sensory Experiences for Rest & Relaxation
Writer / Amanda Gibson
Photographer / Michael Durr
If a sound bath sounds interesting to you, you’d be with the majority in the Midwest. Despite Sound Baths being around for over 2,000 years it’s still a relatively new concept to many of us.
“A sound bath is a passive meditative modality designed to shift your awareness through the use of sound,” says Sarah Gardner of The Sound Gardner. “This immersive sensory experience has a profound physiological effect on the human body, downshifting brainwave states and eliciting a parasympathetic response, which promotes deep rest and relaxation.”
If you’ve wanted to meditate but can’t seem to get into the correct headspace, it’s highly encouraged for you to try this experience with Gardner. Attending a Sound Bath session is unique because anyone can do it and it requires nothing of you.
“The most you have to do, you’ve already done by showing up,” Gardner says.
If it sounds pretty strange, here is what a session will look like — Gardner will vocally walk you through a few expectancies, all while creating a safe space for you to receive the maximum amount of relaxation and all of the benefits that come from being in the same room as the sound waves played from the bowls. The sound waves slow down our brainwaves.
There are five brainwave states, and during a session it’s not unheard of to go through all 5.
Gamma – You may walk into a session in Gamma as you’re in high alert.
Beta – You may experience this as soon as you start to listen to Gardner and start to concentrate on the headspace you will enter.
Alpha – Usually occurs as soon as the bowls start getting played. In this state, you can find your nervous system becoming calmer and your heart and blood pressure lower.
Theta – This is a positive mental state. It’s here where creativity is encouraged and it’s the same state as someone who is in a deep meditative state.
Delta – This is a state of deep sleep or REM sleep. Your body and your brain are restoring. During this state, compassion and empathy are promoted.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself in Delta, or asleep, during a sound bath session.
“If you fall asleep, you probably needed it,” Gardener adds.
Gardner started The Sound Gardner in September 2020 at the height of the pandemic, but that’s not where her journey with sound baths started. In 2017, she was in Nashville living a totally different life than she is living now. She was recovering from an eating disorder, in a career that didn’t align with her, and she recognized she needed to make drastic life changes. From one restorative practice to another, she found herself in her first sound bath session. In the following weeks, she had quit her job, stopped drinking and booked a one-way trip to India.
“It was an energetic catalyst that completely changed my life,” she says.
2020 was a year of life changes for many. It was a time when Gardner was once again looking for a sound bath to attend but wasn’t finding quite what she was looking for. She made the purchase of her first bowls and started facilitating her own.
It’s been 18 months of listening to feedback, growing and seeing the traction, joy and open-mindedness from others that means The Sound Gardner is going to keep growing.
She has partnered with three studios: Baptise in Carmel, Barr Ripple in Broad Ripple and North Mass Boulder around Mass Ave that are open to the public. She offers private sessions if you’re having a get-together, and she has a big focus in the corporate space. One recurring corporate client is Salesforce, where Gardner facilitates for their inside sales team.
Gardner says she’s already living her dream but would love to continue to grow her corporate client list. With a background as an athlete, she’d love to see herself facilitating sessions for professional athletes and convey the benefits of participating in a sound bath to them the day before they compete. Perhaps one day we’ll see Gardner partnering with Colts Owner Jim Irsay.
Each bowl is usually made out of some sort of gemstone. Her first set of bowls was quartz, but if you find yourself in one of her sessions this month, she’ll be playing from bowls that are made with specific stones that align with different chakras that each bowl is made for. Chakras refer to energy points in your body. There are seven chakras: root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and the crown.
She plays whatever intuitively comes to her, and lately you can find her playing a lot from the root bowl and the heart bowl. Root because it’s the chakra responsible for us feeling safe and secure, and the heart which is responsible for love and compassion, and most importantly self-love. May is mental health awareness month, and this is a practice that should be added to your routines.