‘Shavasana, minus the sweating’: Sound baths 101

It’s the ultimate in chilling out – soothing sounds and soft words. Balance deputy editor James Gill finds it a great antidote to busy London life
‘Shavasana, minus the sweating’: Sound baths 101
March 12, 2018   |    James Gill ; illustration: acutegraphics.co.uk

There’s probably someone in your group of friends who insists that the world of wellness is, frankly, a load of horse sh*t. Whatever you do, do not let them within a million miles of a sound bath treatment. They would have a field day.

After all, ostensibly speaking, you lay prostate and close your eyes while someone rubs a bowl.

However, as with most things, there’s more to it than that. Much more. After all, it would be downright ignorant to tell, say, a football fan that their beloved sport is nothing more than 22 people kicking a bit of leather around a field. It’s more about how it makes you feel, what it means to you and what you get out of it.

What are the benefits?

With a sound bath, it is said a single session can help combat anxiety and stress, and calm the mind. And, as a Crystal Palace fan, that’s the polar opposite of football.

The class Balance attended took place in London’s trendy Edition hotel at Fitzrovia. It was fronted by Jasmine Hemsley and Toni Dicks, who have formed quite the wellness supergroup, under the moniker Sound Sebastien (it feels like they should be supporting Bastille on a UK tour, but I’m assured that’s not the case).

Jasmine you will know, thanks in part to her best-selling book East By West; Toni, meanwhile, is a wellness consultant and entrepreneur, perhaps the ‘business’ to Jasmine’s ‘show’.

What’s it like?

The layout of the room could not be more calming. It’s dimly lit, water is on offer and everyone is incredibly nice.

In fact, if you were a clubber “back in the day”, it’s a real throwback to the chill-out rooms in which you’d seek solace in a bid to take a breather from the drug-fuelled madness of the dance-floor, minus, of course, the random stranger doing laps, loudly asking if anyone has any acid.

Here, there’s a polite young woman asking if I’d like a cinnamon bun. Where the heck was she in Brixton in the early Noughties? Actually, she was probably at school, so we’d best move on.

A former yoga classmate once said to me, in a frankly mocking tone, that my ideal class would consist of me lying on the floor while a woman says soothing things. If only she could see me now; I’ve reached the Promised Land.

Here, you lie on your back on a comfy mat, close your eyes and that, dear reader, is pretty much that.

Toni rubs the bowls while Jasmine is the front-woman. It’s almost a Roxette-esque set-up. If it sounds like heaven, then it’s because it is.

Soon, the soothing sounds of the crystal bowls wash over you, while Jasmine patrols the room to offer gentle guidance to help with breathing in order to make for an experience that’s a galaxy away from the hustle and bustle of London.

So frequent are the sonic waves that it’s akin to enjoying a wave machine at your local swimming baths, minus the threat of verrucas, drowning and disappointing coffee.

While many people fall asleep, I managed to cling on. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Hero’. The feeling, throughout, is comparable to Shavasana at the end of a yoga class, minus the sweating.

Yes – that’s right. The best bit. And, given it lasts for the best part of an hour, who doesn’t want that?

The results?

When Jasmine gently announced that the class had finished, it took all my strength not to burst into tears.

Could I please live here now? Apparently not. Shame.

As we left, Jasmine informed us that a single class can compensate for a poor night’s sleep. And that alone is enough to ensure that even the biggest wellness cynic eagerly races down, pre-bought cinnamon bun in hand. While a single class won’t change your life, it will calm it. And that makes it money well spent.

And, the details…

For anyone in need of escapism, it’s a must. Sound Sebastien has a 6-week residency starting from 2 April.

High-point: That initial lie down.

Low point: Leaving, knowing that the day would go downhill.

Cost: £20 per class

Contact: soundsebastien.com

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