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6 Lessons from My Sound Healing Training in Guatemala



The town of San Marcos, in Lake Atitlan, is, among other things, a hub for holistic practices. It is comparable to places like Ubud in Bali or to Pisac in the Sacred Valley in Peru. San Marcos offers a lot of Ecstatic Dance and Sound Healing, among other things.


I had the opportunity to do a Sound Healing Facilitator Training at the Sound Temple. The teachers approached sound through the lens of Naad (inner sound).


The course covered the healing aspects of music, sound, and vibration. I found so much common ground with other healing modalities like Breathwork and Reiki. Here are 5 things that I loved about it:


1/ Trance States and Inner Guidance.


While technical knowledge is valuable, healing comes alive through intuition or inner guidance. In sound healing, just like in other modalities, we must become vessels or conducts. Letting the sutil impulses become the guide, instead of the rational thoughts.


We explored the intuitive connection through trance states. My teachers would guide me by combining dance breath, with movement and drumming. Once in a higher state of consciousness, I’d be guided to do several pages of automatic writing.


Automatic writing or stream-of-consciousness writing is like the Morning Pages (if you are familiar with the Artists’ Way). This helped me channel the information within and got many “Aha! Moments”.


2/ Visions and Ancestral Memory.

In one of the automatic writing sessions, I had a vision of myself as an ancient Shaman, drumming on a cliff on a dark night. I saw how the sound of the drum had served our ancestors to repel bad spirits and wild predators.

This recalled a conversation I had with a Lakota medicine man named Maestro Willy during my time in Peru. He mentioned that a properly tied drum should sound like thunder. In India, when a Tiger or Hyena is seen nearby a village, people use fireworks to scare them off. Same idea.


3/ Divine Timing and Manifesting My Shamanic Drum

One of my homework assignments was to manifest a shamanic drum. The homework item was meant as a joke, but the next day something interesting happened. I was on the main road of San Marcos and street vendors were trying to sell me things. The first one offered coconuts. The second one was offering avocados. But the third one was offering musical instruments and said: “Would you like to learn how to make a Drum?”. What are the odds of that?


We booked time and the next day we sat for almost 3 hours to do it. Don Pablo is a medicine man and taught me many things while working on the Drum. The main thing that stayed with me was that we are always in divine timing. We should not feel stressed or in a hurry when doing things. We are never early nor late but always at the precise moment.

We chose a Deer skin for my drum, which had patterns that resembled the Moon. I had worked with totem animals and I loved the story of the Deer. The dear brings heart-opening medicine, opening paths with inner purity from the heart and nothing else. We nicknamed the drum Luna (moon in Spanish).


4/ Let it be. The Art of Not Doing.


Another homework assignment was to watch a mini-documentary about Oshos’ Dynamic Meditations. There is a segment where people shook and ecstatic danced. It ended with a beautiful quote: “We dance until the dancer disappears, and only the dance remains”

More serendipity! The next morning I had my first-ever class at the Tai Chi Temple. The teacher said, “At the beginning of this practice, you may feel as though you are doing the movement. With practice, you learn to realize that the movement is doing you”.

I was in awe. The same idea. The book The Surrender Experiment talks about the same thing. That there is a universal life force or consciousness in all things. If we could “somehow” get out of the way, we could experience it and even be guided by it. Getting out of the way is the same as being in the flow, which is the same as surrendering or allowing.



5/ Play builds Confidence

I had the opportunity to experiment with various sound instruments. Tibetan bowls and tuning forks, for example. As played with the instruments I felt more and more confident with them.

Play opens new neural pathways. There is no right or wrong when playing. Yes, we can add technique as we play and become more proficient. But the instruments need a sort of lack of respect or ceremony. Like a child would use them.


6/ Sound and Breathwork


Music in Healing breathwork has several important functions. It helps create a relaxing atmosphere, maintain the breathing pace, and bring up emotions.


The drum made its way into my breathwork sessions. It brings a high level of intensity that helps bring a stronger “high” and facilitates a deeper release. Drumming and singing bowls can create a vibration in the body that helps the flow of energy.

The intuitive aspect of this work is crucial, as it allows us to be genuinely guided without interference from our analytical minds. During my sessions I have felt the calling of a particular instrument to be used, it is fascinating.


 

If you are curious about working with me please reach out for a private healing breathwork session. If you are interested in becoming a breathwork facilitator yourself, I offer group and one-to-one training in person and online. Message me at rio@riootoya.com Love,


Rio


With Hari Ram and Sat Kirtan

Thank you Lake Atitlan!



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