Search Results for: David Ison

What Are Your Five Healing Music CD Picks…That Donâ€...

by Andrew Young (Writer at Sounds True)

Can you help me out here? I need more great “background” music for de-stressing and sparking my creativity.

The skinny: I review healing and meditation music CDs for Sounds True and other retailers and labels and have listened to well over two hundred over the years. Most of them are, uh…just okay. Some totally suck the pranic wind. Of course, you’ll find none of those at soundstrue.com (nudge nudge, wink wink).

I play this kind of music for relaxing, writing, and drawing, so I don’t like distracting melodies, in-your-face vocals, cheesy synthesizers, or stuff that I’ll get sick of after a few weeks of frequent play. Recommendations please!

In the meantime, here are five of my faves:

1. Sampradaya – Pandit Shivkumar Sharma (Real World Recordings). Great for when I’m feeling mentally sluggish or “stuck.” Not marketed as a healing music CD—but incredibly effective as one. The Indian hammer dulcimer (santoor) master plays here with his son Rahul and tabla wizard Shafaat Ahmed Khan. These are traditional ragas, but sound nothing like the familiar sitar/tambour offerings: uplifting, resonant layers of bell-like melodies and jaw-dropping overtones arise independently from the actual struck notes and float beyond the room. Joyful and mind-expanding, sparkly and fresh like cool sunlit rain.

2. Crystal Bowl Sound Healing – Tryshe Dhevney (Sounds True). This is my favorite CD to play when writing, drawing, or photoshopping piles of photos. 100% organic (no synths), beautifully recorded in a giant natural cave (seriously). Tryshe uses rare customized gemstone bowls perfectly tuned for expanding consciousness via the Om frequency and other well-tested resonances. It’s so good that when I first got the 8-minute sample track for writing the CD package copy, I set it on “repeat” and listened to it looped for hours. Tip: if you download this album, don’t “re-rip” the tracks to make them smaller. You’ll want the highest sound quality to fully experience the effect of the pure, subtle harmonics.

3. Aural Resonance Astral Harmony – Simeon Hein (Mount Baldy Press). Yes “astral harmony” sounds really new-agey, but this recording is not, and it is amazing. My massage therapist played this for me during a session years ago. It’s just a sustained, multi-layered perfect-fifth harmonic chord that goes for 70 minutes. Made with 100% synth, but works so well that I grant it full amnesty. This CD is my sure-fire last resort for insomnia and clearing writer’s block, BUT it is not for everybody: the effect is so intense that the first five times I used it, I would sometimes hear it resonating in my head for hours after turning it off.

4. Relax – David Ison (Sounds True). I play this album on my iPhone so often that if it were an old-fashioned LP, it would be worn out. What makes it so good? For one, David doesn’t use brainwave frequency entrainment—he builds his compositions using healing principles based on sacred geometries and proportional tonal relationships and rhythms from ancient Greece, Egypt, and his own intuition and rigorous experimentation. He also uses some very unique studio sound production tools to create tuned ambient spaces that have a clear and calming somatic effect. Even more relevant though is that the music on this album is simple yet incredibly beautiful. The first time I played it, it gave me the chills. The primary “voice” on this album is Ison’s guitar (a massive dreadnought Martin acoustic I think). David has been using this music program to help war veterans in the healing process with powerful results. For maximum effect, play this on a good stereo speaker system or with high-quality headphones.

5. Audio Serenity (iAwake Technologies). These folks are at the far event horizon of brainwave entrainment research. For example, they’ve addressed the problem of frequency habituation—your brain adapting to sound entrainment so that it no longer syncs to beneficial effect. Problem solved here (don’t ask me how, but it works). And they use a suite of other acoustic technologies to massage your brain, nadis, meridians, and positronic circuits (if you’re a Star Trek android). Sound-wise, this program does in fact use synth, but it’s very gentle. Get ready for an extremely quick and deep calming effect. My only caveat is that it’s pricier than a conventional music track (iAwake’s first-hand research takes time and resources). That said, I can tell you that this program is as effective as the awesome MindSpa [http://avstim.com] audio-visual entrainment device that we reviewed here at Sounds True a while back—at a fraction of the cost.

Okay your turn: please recommend some of your favorites so we can all have more relaxation and creativity music options!

Discovering the Musical Body

Tami Simon speaks with David Ison who has been a musician, composer, recording artist, and teacher for 30 years. Healthcare professionals throughout the world have used David’s work to bring the therapeutic qualities of sound and music to their patients. Through The Relaxation Company and Sounds True, David has created many albums including The Musical Body series and the Ison Sleep System, as well as several albums designed to address pain management. David discusses his own journey of discovery, how sound and music can be healing, breath entrainment, and about how sound can actually unbind what energetically blocks us. (74 minutes)

Rewilding Our Spiritual Practice

 

Mindfulness Rewilded

 

“As great as the infinite space beyond is the space within the lotus of the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained in that inner space, both fire and air, sun and moon, lightning and stars. Whether we know it in this world or know it not, everything is contained in that inner space.” 

THE CHANDOGYA UPANISHAD 

 

As someone inside “the mindfulness industry,” I have observed that yoga has become as deprived of nature as the rest of society. With our rubber-soled shoes, yoga mats, and indoor practice spaces, modern humans move from one nature-disconnected space to another. Even during those rare moments between the car and the studio, we wear shoes that prevent contact with the ground beneath our feet. Yet the practices of yoga and meditation were born in the mountains, forests, and deserts of Asia. 

 

A few years ago, I attended a yoga conference in Manhattan, a few floors up at the midtown Hilton. After my second yoga class in a stuffy, windowless room, with hundreds of yogis in spandex moving about on rubber mats, I experienced a moment of cognitive dissonance. I love yoga—it is a powerful, beautiful practice—and I believe that the widespread increase in yoga and mindfulness practice is profoundly positive. However, something about this scenario didn’t seem quite right to me—or quite right for me. 

 

Not long after, at another yoga and recovery conference, my friend Tim Walsh, an avid outdoorsman and recovery coach, expressed my own thoughts when he said, “Folks, we’re standing on rubber mats inside a temperature-controlled room on the second floor of a giant brick building. How much more disconnected from the earth can you get!” His words rang inside me, and at that moment, something at my core woke up. I had felt this disconnect for years, and now it was time to do something about it. 

 

I had dreamed for many years of somehow bridging the worlds of meditation, yoga, and mindfulness with rewilding. When I finally started to research the connections between nature and mindfulness practices, I ended up creating programs for students at Kripalu that immersed us in forests and fields while practicing. I wanted to help people become conscious of their inner nature while out in nature and to help them see the importance of conserving our natural environments—the primal parts of ourselves. How did yoga and meditation, wild practices designed to awaken, empower, and enlighten, become so disconnected from the enlivening power and the beauty of the living earth? Because yoga and mindfulness have profound benefits for well-being, they have also been co-opted and commercialized. Products have proliferated—the mats and the clothing, the snacks and the food, the shoes and the hats. Our economy is driven by the consumption of things that must be extracted from the earth and produced and marketed and sold. As yoga and mindfulness became imbedded in modern culture’s mostly indoor lifestyle, these ancient practices also became cut off from the presence of the wind, sun, moon, and life of the living earth. 

 

When we disconnect from the living earth, we lose the life-affirming wisdom that is found outdoors. If we consider the fact that we are an evolutionary expression of the evolving earth, then our own self-awareness can be thought of as the self-awareness of the living earth itself. Which is a pretty powerful idea to ponder! And it means that human rewilding can lead to a rewilding of our spirit, a reinspiriting of our essential nature. 

 

Pacification or Liberation? 

 

Yoga and mindfulness today are often used to help people invite calm and to support greater self-regulation and impulse control in stressful situations. But just as I’m concerned about their commodification, I’m also concerned that these ancient practices are being used as pacifiers to help people put up with the negative effects of modern society, because these ancient practices are also the tools for true liberation from the root causes of our distress. 

 

To be clear, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are extremely valuable practices. The abilities to take a deep breath and step back from the fight-or-flight response, to self-soothe, and to know when to practice self-care, these are all critical tools for living consciously. 

 

I am reminded of an episode of the old television show Kung Fu, in which a martial arts master, played by David Carradine, is taken prisoner and forced into manual labor under the blazing sun. Labeled a troublemaker, he is put into a hot box, a cast-iron oven with an unbearably fierce temperature. In the box is another man who is panicked by their dangerous situation. Carradine calmly teaches the man how to meditate, to slow his breathing and witness his thoughts. At the end of the day, they are released, and both emerge from the box alert and calm, much to the surprise of their captors. 

 

A more recent and real-life example is the group of boys on a soccer team in Thailand who were stranded for almost two weeks in a complex network of flooded tunnels. They learned to meditate from their coach, who had lived in a Buddhist monastery for 10 years. They sat in the darkness, not knowing if anyone would come to their aid, and they stayed calm and connected to one another. They were all ultimately saved by a team of divers who risked their own lives in the effort.

 

Meditation is a powerful antidote to fear and the modern daily stresses that can harm our health if left unchecked. Meditation can even save your life. But if you are under duress, the first thing to check is whether you can get out of it. See if the door to the hot box can be opened. Look for the escape route in the cave. If a change in the circumstances is possible, the wise action is to eliminate the cause of suffering first, and meditate later. 

 

As a species, we often don’t even know that we are in a hot box or a dangerous cave. The stress of modern life is ubiquitous, so a change of environment may not even seem like an option. And, of course, not everyone can get away from their circumstances or difficulties. Not everyone has easy access to pristine natural places. Many can’t afford to travel to a place with fresh air and water. 

 

I hope that the steps I teach in my book, Rewilding, for connecting with the living earth will open doors for everyone. The sunlight, the movement of air, the presence of the earth that is solid and stable even in asphalt, the dandelion coming up through a crack in the pavement, all can be entries into a wilder, more conscious, more awakened life. 

 

For more practices in rewilding, search for “Micah Mortali” on the Sounds True blog to read his other posts or find his book, Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature, at your favorite bookseller!

Micah Mortali is director of the Kripalu Schools, one of the largest and most established
centers for yoga-based education in the world. An avid outdoorsman, mindful wilderness guide,
500-hour Kripalu yoga teacher, and popular meditation teacher, Mortali has been leading
groups in wilderness and retreat settings for 20 years. In 2018, he founded the Kripalu School of
Mindful Outdoor Leadership. Mortali has a passion for helping people come home to themselves
and the earth, and he is finishing his master’s at Goddard College on nature awareness and
mindfulness practices. He lives with his wife and children in the Berkshires. For more, visit
micahmortali.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Read Rewilding today!

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