Experiencing the Magic of Sound at AVATA

My last day in Nepal was a relaxing one. I spent the afternoon at AVATA Wellness, a health and well-being center for refreshment, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Located in Kathmandu, it’s a one-of-a-kind place in Nepal offering nourishment for the mind, body, and soul. In partnership with the Community Homestay Network, they curated a list of activities for me to experience. 

I started with a relaxing massage at their spa followed by a snack at their wholesome vegan cafe, Nourish, which makes for a lovely place to read or simply unwind with a good meal.

I then attended an aerial yoga class. While I was familiar with hatha yoga, aerial yoga is a different ball game. Left to me, I may not have signed up for it given my current fitness level, but since it was recommended to me by the team at AVATA, I decided to give it a shot. 

Aerial yoga entails practicing yoga asanas and movements while suspended in a hammock. The hammock supports the body and allows one to perform inversions and deep stretches that may not be possible on a mat. It is a unique way to challenge the body and mind, and improve flexibility, strength, and balance. 

Although it was an interesting experience, I found it quite challenging as a beginner. I think it is more suitable for intermediate practitioners who are stronger and more flexible, as it can strain the arms quite a bit and abrupt movements can cause injuries. However, it is definitely something I would like to do again in the future when I am fitter, as the feeling of being suspended in the air like a bird is unparalleled. 

Photo by Benjamin Wedemeyer on Unsplash

After aerial yoga, I experienced sound bath meditation. I had no idea what this meant or what to expect, but I was in for trying something new. 

The room was dimly-lit with yoga mats, meditation cushions, and sound bowls placed around the room. My mother attended the session with me, and we were greeted by Nabi and Prakrit, the conductors who make up Pranavayuj. They asked us to lie down and close our eyes, relax our bodies, and allow the sounds to wash over us. They gradually began to play different instruments (singing bowls, gongs, chimes) – each one generating a unique sound. At first, it felt like a relaxing yoga session, but as time progressed, the vibrations became stronger, offering an immersive, meditative experience.

At its peak, I could feel the vibrations outside seamlessly merge with the vibrations inside my body — every part of me coming alive.

At the end of the session, when we were asked to share our thoughts with Nabi and Prakrit, we were speechless. We wanted to verbalize how we felt, but no words came out. 

My mother found the experience very unique, different, and calming, and wanted to dwell in the silence, undisturbed by speech and incomplete articulations. 

I was reminded of Vipassana meditation, where every atom in my body gets activated. It was not the same, Vipassana being a lot more intense and holistic, but it was interesting to me that sound bath meditation came close.

(c) AVATA Wellness

Upon coming back home, I wanted to learn more about this form of meditation. It turns out, sound bath has been practiced for thousands of years as a tool of healing by people from Central and South America and Asia. This isn’t surprising when you think of singing bowls, drums, and indigenous instruments that are popular in these regions. 

Sound bath is a truly immersive mind-and-body experience and is sometimes combined with chanting to center energies and find balance. The vibrations help release suppressed emotions, trauma, and stress, providing relief from anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, jet lag, sleep deprivation, and other mental disturbances. It also helps improve blood circulation and assists the parasympathetic nervous system.

I’m grateful I had the opportunity to experience sound bath meditation at AVATA, allowing me to conclude my Nepal trip on a peaceful yet energized note. 

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