How A Singing Bowl Concert Changed My Life
By Elizabeth Mandeville Uchiyama, Certified Sound Healer
A few years ago I was a casual yoga girl. I was a full time, touring musician and recording artist who practiced once a week at the Sivananda Yoga Vendata. I went there because it was close to my home and buying a 10 Class Card fit into my budget. Sometimes I’d even go to workshops or a Satsang or visit another SYV center while on the road and I always found it enjoyable, but still I only committed to doing a class once a week.
Then, by chance, I watched an episode of the TV show, “No Reservations,” where the host, Chef Anthony Bourdain, was out in the Palm Desert, hanging out with a guitarist from the heavy rock band “Queens of The Stone Age.” He suggested they visit a place in the Joshua Tree State Forest for a sound bath. They ventured out to The Itegratron, this structure in the desert, where they lay on yoga mats, closed their eyes and listened while a man coaxed sounds from these large crystal bowls. The usually acerbic, jaded, world traveler, Bourdain, was obviously affected by the experience. So much so that I took note of it and made a point to visit the Itegratron myself the next time I got out to Southern California.
That happened just a few months later. I was booked to sing in Palm Springs and my hosts asked if there was anything I wanted to do while I was there. Why yes, as a matter of fact, I wanted to drive 40 miles out into the desert and have a Sound Bath at the Itegratron. So we did.
The Integratron, which looks to the casual observer like an observatory, is a two story, wooden structure with a dome top (minus the telescope). It was built by a NASA Space engineer who was interested in electro-magnetism and its effect on the human body. He discovered that there were two intersecting electro-magnetic ley lines in the earth in this location. While most of the Earth has a charge of about 4 ohms, at this intersection it was nearly double that! Meaning the Earth’s charge was twice as powerful here. Since the human body is more than 90% water, a great conductor of electricity with its own set of magnetic poles, and science has shown that vibrations or waves are the primary unifying aspect of the Universe, different tones (notes, frequencies, waves) would affect a human (or a plant or animal or even a mineral) on every level down to the most basic, sub-atomic level. You can literally change your vibe sonically! At the Itregratron you could change your vibe with twice the oomph.
So the scientist acquired the property and built the Itegratron there and used it to conduct scientific experiments. After his passing it continued to be used for experiments in altering the human biosphere with sound. It was discovered that by toning crystal bowls (different sizes for different notes and differing effects) in this acoustically perfect environment people could experience a realignment of their natural magnetic flow. People had wonderful side-effects from the sound: they saw colors, had dream-like out of body experienced, felt weightless or like they were floating in space. They came away feeling rested, refreshed and looking better too. Well I was game for that experience. After all, it was natural and organic so what could it hurt?
My trip to the Itegratron was on a warm, Southern California day. Blue skies, puffy clouds, I was a little tired from the time spent traveling, but I was ready to play with this sound experience. I excitedly told the people at the check in desk that I was a musician and I’d been turned on by Anthony Bourdain’s trip to the charmed spot in the desert. The man who would play the bowls led me to a spot near the very center of the dome. I lay on a mat and pulled a Mexican blanket over my body (much like you’d do at our sound bath at Infinity Yoga) closed my eyes, relaxed and listened.
At first nothing happened. It felt like 10 minutes had gone by and all I heard was these big, lovely tones coming from the various sized bowls. Then all at once it was like the aurora borealis was gently coming to be behind my eyelids.
“Oh, they must be doing a laser light show with the singing bowl concert” I thought and I opened my eyes to verify. Nope. It was all going on in my own head! Needless to say I quickly shut my eyes and enjoyed the most beautiful swirling light show I’ve ever witnessed. Better than a classic rock concert, the colors washed over me and with each wash of hue I felt better and better.
I was completely relaxed, even blissful, for the next three days afterward! I performed before the audiences each night and it felt effortless. The exertion of the performance didn’t leave me tired. I didn’t feel like I needed a drink or anything else to relax and I felt at peace with everyone. Nothing bothered me, not heat, not traffic, not the patrons drinking or talking during my show, not the other musicians being unfamiliar with my material. I simply went with the flow. I was no longer tired from the time change and travel and slept peacefully. Nothing bothered me at all and my face looked so relaxed that people asked if I’d been to the spa!
As you can imagine, I wanted more of this wonderful, calming, centering, rejuvenating, mystical experience. I wanted to learn all about it and I wanted to be able to share it with everyone else. Why should I be the only one feeling this good? Could I bring this wonderful gift to other people?
Stay tuned for the next installment and find out!
Come Experience Liz’s Sound Bath Healing Meditation & Reiki Event at Infinity every third Thursday of the month!
Liz Mandeville is a lifelong musician with over 30 years of experience in creating healing ambiance, weaving rhythm and melody to create emotional catharsis. Liz has traveled the world writing, recording and performing professionally. She is a respected member of the Chicago Blues Community and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013. She is a Grammy nominee, an award winning songwriter and beloved artist popular on three continents. She’s also a practicing yogi and sound healer.
Learn more about Liz's history and upcoming tour dates here