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You may have dabbled in mindfulness meditation but what other meditative techniques have you tried?

As a pillar in Buddhist tradition for centuries, meditation has been practiced in countless different forms in order to focus the mind and calm the spirit. Our newest exhibition, The World Is Sound, centers around the relationship between our sense of hearing and our everyday lives. The exhibition has inspired a number of special workshops at the Museum, led by meditation experts, who teach visitors first-hand about the role that listening and the body can play in meditation.

We asked experts Brooke Flying Bear and Sara Auster to delve into a few specific components of their workshops, as well as the benefits of sound healing, mudras, and more:

Sound Healing

(Courtesy of Brooke Flying Bear)
Courtesy of Brooke Flying Bear

What is sound healing?

Brooke Flying Bear: “Sound healing is rooted in consciousness and vibration. It occurs when the sonic vibrations being created are interwoven with healing intentions. The sound of a drum beating, rattles shaking, and chanting can create a deep healing state, although it may not sound musical to the western ear.”

“These traditions are not only used in Buddhist practice but other shamanic and indigenous cultures as well, including Native American communities across the Americas, who use sound healing for ceremonial purposes.”

What are other benefits of sound healing?

Brooke Flying Bear: “Sound healing is a timeless sacred technology that is used to elevate consciousness and open the heart. It helps us to get “˜out of our heads’ and drop into a more authentic state of receptivity and connection to our inner self.”¦ Sound healing is a beautiful way to bring about deep states of meditation, healing, relaxation and stress relief.”

Sound Baths

Photo: Asya Danilova
Photo: Asya Danilova

What is a sound bath?

Brooke Flying Bear: “A sound bath is an intentionally created sacred space where healing instruments, chants, mantras, incense, lighting, and ambiance are all combined to bring the receiver into a deep state of relaxation and harmony. A person who is administering sound baths or sound healing for others should have a formal training in sound healing or be in the process of training or apprenticing with a sound healing teacher.”

What are the benefits of a sound bath?

Brooke Flying Bear: “When done correctly, sound baths offer a sacred space for people to go on a inner journey to experience physical, emotional, and energetic healing and clearing. They have even been found to increase concentration, focus, mental clarity and bring about a natural visionary or dream-like state.”


Photo: Asya Danilova
Photo: Asya Danilova

What is a mudra and why is it helpful during meditation?

Sara Auster: “A mudra is a symbolic, ritualistic gesture used in yoga, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The word is Sanskrit meaning “gesture,” “mark” or “seal.” Mudras are most commonly known as hand positions in yoga and meditation, which are believed to affect the flow of energy in the body”¦. Mudras amplify auditory vibrations, leading us into deep meditative states.”

Experience a sound bath with Brooke Flying Bear and Matthew Canale at the Rubin on August 16, as part of our Spiral Music series and explore the meditative power of sound with Sara Auster and Susanna Harwood at the Rubin on August 9.

About the Experts

Brooke Flying Bear‘s mission is to be in service to awaken peace for humanity through sound, music, healing, education, and to reconnect people to sacred wisdom traditions and indigenous knowledge. Brooke is an active student of Maestro Manuel Rufino and is a founding member of the Golden Drum, a cultural community center in Brooklyn, which integrates traditional Native American teachings with spiritual traditions from around the world. Brooke is a founder of Dream Seed: A Shamanic Sound Journey, a sound healing collective. She is a visionary songwriter, vocalist, composer, sound healer, and multi-instrumentalist.

Sara Auster is a certified Sound Therapy Practitioner and meditation teacher based in New York City. She has been a driving force in bringing sound meditation and sound therapy to contemporary culture. Sara has been featured Billboard Magazine, The New York Times, and Vice’s Tonic, and was recently named one of “50 Innovators Shaping the Future of Wellness” by She offers sound meditation in different formats including workshops, retreats, trainings, private sessions, and large-scale events all over the world. Learn more about mudras, sound baths, and more on Auster’s website.