The gong has long been used by the Kundalini Yoga masters of northern India as
a natural extension of mantra and music, which is fundamental to Kundalini Yoga.
It can create non-ordinary and transcendent states of consciousness by suspending
the thought producing activity of the mind. In this state, true healing on all levels is possible.
How does this work? The sound of the gong is unpredictable, non-linear, and complex,
with its layers upon layers of sound, so that the mind cannot analyze or categorize it;
it usually takes anywhere from 3 to 90 seconds for the mind to give up all resistance
and surrender to the sound of the gong. The sound envelope of the gong gives a "sonic
massage" to the dermatomes of the skin, which have connections to all physical systems
and organs of the body; this can allow deep-seated physical tension in the muscles to relax,
while allowing the nervous system to be repaired and the glandular system to become balanced.
On a mental level, the mind relaxes and clears, relieved temporarily of the constant pressure
of the mind's content. On a spiritual level, the gong can help to break up subconscious habit
patterns (which can include addictive behaviors), and allow increased prana to flood into blocked
areas. The chakras, the whirling vortices of energy and consciousness, which not only regulate
and supply energy to every cell of the body, are able to open, become balanced, and awakened.
A link to one's transcendent self can be realized.
How does one prepare for gong yoga? The class begins in the usual fashion with grounding and
centering mantras, followed by approximately 25--30 of basic Kundalini Yoga and pranayam
(breathing exercises). Your job then, is to lie down, cover yourself if you wish, relax, be still,
and surrender completely to the sound of the gong. The sound will vary anywhere between soft,
pulsating tones and "build and release" cycles, in which the sound volume builds to a high level
and releases with one or more "thunderbolt strikes". After the final stroke of the mallet, a silent
period of several minutes follows, to help to integrate the experience before the teacher gently
asks you to breathe consciously and to gently stretch your body. Be prepared for a truly