SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
Q & A with Kate Henderson
Posted on September 29th, 2015
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in Kentucky, but had a stint as a flight attendant so I was sort of glob for several years. But I came to NYC from Detroit where I was based with the airline.
How long have you lived in New York City?
About 13 years.
How did you decide to become an acupuncturist? Musician? How did you decide to merge the two?
I was an acupuncture patient and experienced incredible improvement. Not only in my bodily complaints at the time, but in my overall well being. It was a bit like stumbling onto an incredible, side effect free anti-depressant. I’m naturally a bit melancholic. So that was a revelation. I needed to understand it more, so I decided to pursue schooling.
I’ve played drums since my early twenties, and was music obsessed since I was pretty young.
I had the idea to merge them by accident. I had experienced some powerful lucid dreaming during acupuncture sessions, as a patient. And so had several of my patients. I was reading about shamanic trance techniques using fast drumming after one of my teachers in acupuncture school had talked about training at the Foundation of Shamanic Studies. He’d had powerful experiences just using the sound of drumming to go into deep meditative states. It seemed irresistible to combine them, and see what might happen.
On Friday, October 2 you will be opening the Yoga Sukhavati: Healing Power of Sound workshop with Auditory Driving and Acupuncture. Can you explain what this is, exactly?
Auditory Driving is any sound that acts upon the brain’s wave patterns and produces some sort of altered psychological state. In my group sessions, I have the participants lying on the floor and make my way around to give each of them about 4-5 acupuncture points. Then I begin drumming on deep, bass-y frame drum about 220 beats per minute for a half an hour. After I’m done, I remove the needles and everyone slowly gets up in a bit of a daze. And then we usually sit around and talk for about 30 minutes about what happened.
Music and acupuncture can be quite healing on their own. What do you find happens when you integrate music into acupuncture and acupuncture with music?
People’s states of relaxation can really deepen. Sometimes people talk about having wild, novel lucid dreams, or feel like they’ve gone into a very deep meditative state. Those who’ve had a difficult time learning to mediate find it helpful – once you know what that feels like, it’s easier to replicate on your own. And people sometimes report profound insights, seeing things in their life from a different point of you since their everyday mental chatter, their inner narratives, have been bypassed.
What is the most rewarding part of working with patients in a holistic way?
That I can help change their perspective on what it means to be healthy, to trust their body and what it’s telling them. To take away some of the fear of illness. To be able to show people their own body’s healing potential. To be empowered and teach other people that.
Who have been some of your most influential teachers?
Shudo Denmai, a very humble and patient Japanese acupuncturist whose books really influenced me. Isobeau Trybula, an acupuncturist and owner of the clinic where I currently work. She really put me in the garden and let me grow – she taught me to trust my instincts. Dr. Brad Harding, MD, he was my teacher who first talked about drumming and trance. There are really too many to name here, but those immediately come to mind.
If you could go anyplace in the world, right now, where would you go and why?
Iceland, because it seems almost like going to outer space – the landscape and the people. Talk about an altered reality. I want that!
Join Kate for sonified needle therapy on Friday, October 2 from 7:30-9:00p.m. at Loom Yoga Center. For more information on Friday evenings event or for the full Healing Power of Sound weekend workshop, click here.
Sacred Sounds of Sanskrit
Posted on September 8th, 2015
Through my deep explorations of my body as a yogini and dancer, I have found that actually the delicate intricacies of the subtle body are most eloquently unveiled through sound.
As my yoga practice deepened, I was drawn to study Sanskrit. I had the great fortune of attending a Sanskrit workshop with Jo Brill. I loved exploring how to create the sounds of Sanskrit and thrilled to be able to actually begin to decipher the squiggly script of devanagari in just one weekend! I felt like I was cracking the code and entering a new level in my yoga studies and awareness!
At the time I was also working on a new performance piece, “Traces”, which explored memory, origin, and roots. Since Sanskrit is the mother of all Indo-European languages, it seemed to me to be a perfect way to explore the root of language in my performance piece. I took the Sanskrit alphabet with me into the rehearsal studio and played with the sounds and how they emerged from different places in my mouth. I created a sound score which became a very powerful part of the piece and my favorite part to perform. I loved the sounds and felt intrigued by how they affected me.
As I studied deeper, I learned that there is a vibrational correspondence with each of the sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet and the chakras. There are 50 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet and in total 50 petals on the chakras. Each of the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet is said to open one of the 50 petals of the chakras. Chanting the entire Sanskrit alphabet reverberates through all the petal of the chakras and their related areas in the body! Additionally the sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet offers healing and cleansing in the body by sonic stimulation of particular areas and marma points. Marmas are energy points in the body which connect with your underlying organ systems and energetic channels.
“The subtle body of sound vibration relates to the mental body and to the subtle or astral body in general, the site of the seven chakras. It creates and sustains the physical body, supporting health and well-being within it. Through changing the frequencies of the subtle body of sound, we can bring healing into the physical body and remove negativities from the mind.” David Frawley
The powerful healing offered through sound vibration is an area of deep interest to me. I am excited to share the explorations through our Yoga Sukhavati: ART OF SOUND weekend workshops. Join us Sept 12, 13 for a Sanskrit immersion with Jo Brill, and Oct 2-4 for the Healing Power of Sound.
Waterfall of thoughts
Posted on August 17th, 2015
Rejuvenate your being through mantra, and sonic marma healing. Join us for our second weekend in Yoga Sukhavati, Art of Sound module-HEALING POWER OF SOUND, Oct 3-4.
Our modern lives are filled with excess of every kind. Perhaps central to all of this is our excessive mental chatter. Our minds are constantly spinning with obsessions, worry, fear, anxiety, excessive thoughts and repetitive habitual mind agitations of all sorts. This mind chatter can be so loud, persistent and overwhelming that it is often referred to in meditation as a “waterfall of thoughts”. Not a sweet waterfall, but the roaring, deafening kind! Ekhart Tolle, author of the “The Power of Now” has a wonderful story about this. One day he was walking one day behind this homeless person who was spewing out a non-stop crazy monologue. At first Ekhart was disturbed by the man’s ramblings. Then he had a realization that in some way, he was quite similar to this man-that he too had a constant monologue going on inside his head. He chuckled to himself as he realized that the only difference was that the homeless person was speaking his monologue out loud and Ekhart was just spinning his monologue inside his head.
Scattered, fragmented, obsessive, repetitive thoughts and disjointed rambling speech are signs that our heart-mind is out of balance. I think that would be most of us alot of the time! The wisdom of Chinese Medicine encourages us to nourish our heart and small intestine in the Summer months when these organs & meridians are particularly affected. The heart-mind is said to sprout at the tongue. One of the most powerful ways to nurture and calm the heart-mind is through the power of sound. Mantra practice is a potent sonic healing. The Sanskrit word mantra is derived from “manas”-mind and “tra”- tool. It is a tool for the mind, one of the most powerful means to calm the mind. They are often referred to as mind protection. Mantras power comes not from the meaning of the words but from the energetic effect they have on the physical and subtle body.
“Mantras break-up unhealthy or negative energy patterns stored in the physical and subtle bodies and help create new, positive energy patterns. This “clean” energy animates the body and mind and can act as a magnet for other positive energy to come into your life.”
“Mantra allows the chakras to “switch on” safely and to operate at a higher “wattage.” When we practice Sanskrit mantra, we increase the ability of the chakras to hold a spiritual charge. It is as if a 25-watt bulb becomes able to hold 50 watts, then 100 watts, 500 watts, 1,000 watts. Mantra’s power derives not from any particular meaning that their syllables convey, but from the vibrational effect the create when they are pronounced repeatedly…when we focus the sound vibration of mantra with a consciously held intent, we can even direct its energy (prana) to specific parts of the body.” (Thomas Ashley Farland)
I have worked alot with sound to help me unravel stuck areas in my being that I am not able to reach through asana or other means. The healing power of the sonic vibrations of sound is very potent. This Summer I have been working deeply with a Ganesh mantra. I often open my classes with this chant as well as do it in my personal practice. But this Summer I decided to do the full traditional 40 day practice of 108 recitations per day. My intention was to create groundedness and stability in my life particularly in the financial realm. I am truly amazed at how quickly things started shifting and stabilizing! New opportunities have presented themselves and I’ve been releasing old patterns that create instability in my mind and life.
MAHA GANAPATI MOOL MANTRA
Om srim hrim klim glaum gam ganapataye svaha
“May the abundance-producing, great remover of obstacles, that transcends this apparent reality bring all things that concern me under my control.”
It brings me great joy to share some of these sound practices with you through our second weekend of Yoga Sukhavati: HEALING POWER OF SOUND, Oct 3, 4. Amanda Capobianco will be offering her fabulous workshop-Demystifying Mantra: A Practical Approach to an Ancient Technology. I will be offering workshops on “Awaken the voice of the teacher” and “Sonic Marma Healing.” Join us for for a powerful weekend of sound exploration and healing!