Katharine Wheatley, better known as “Kat” to her students at Key Largo Yoga, treated the community to a free sound bowl healing session recently. The yogi, a 20-year Key Largo resident who’s originally from North Carolina, recently completed her sound healer certification in Wilton Manor in Broward County and wanted to share her newfound knowledge with her yoga tribe back in the Keys.
So how does sound bowl healing work exactly? Those wanting to experience the healing flocked to the yoga studio in Key Largo to find out.
Wheatley, who trained at Meditate School of Mindfulness, had arranged her seven crystal sound bowls and four Himalayan brass bowls in a half-arc around a cushion. Everyone else fanned out from her in concentric circles of yoga mats and relaxing bodies. Wheatley asked everyone to get comfortable as they’d be sitting still for about 45 minutes. Most chose to lay in a traditional yoga savasana position on yoga mats. Some propped themselves against the walls and mirrors in the intimate studio.
“I invite you to suspend your expectations tonight and let whatever is going to develop organically, develop,” Wheatley began. She described how anything that moves will vibrate or make a noise. “Each of our 30,000 cells is vibrating. Isn’t that amazing?” She smiled as her students begin to close their eyes and settle into the sounds.
Wheatley has a master’s degree in psychology and worked for a number of years as a counselor before pursuing a variety of other delightful adventures, first as a dive shop manager and then as a scuba instructor. She also has background in dance, classical ballet, and while she’s been practicing yoga sporadically for most of her adult life, she did not establish a regular practice until about 10 years ago. She became certified to teach yoga in 2013 and soon after joined the team at Key Largo Yoga.
“Along the way, I’ve grown increasingly interested in the art of healing — I think the search for health is what brings most of us to yoga — and so I have also pursued trainings and certifications in aromatherapy, Restorative Yoga, reiki and sound healing,” she said. “I wish to be a healer in that I desire to create a space within which others can tap into their own inner healing energy potential.”
Likening the vibrations of the bowls to our own movements in life, Wheatley says, “We are more harmonic when we’re calm. And when we’re in dissonance, our cells vibrate in a more asynchronous way.” She struck and traced the edges of each bowl so her class could hear it “sing” and grow accustomed to the different tones.
Wheatley offered the sounds and vibrations as a guiding meditation.
“The practitioner holds space for those for whom he/she is playing bows for, to allow them to create their own healing energy,” she said. “The bowls don’t heal people, they just create a space for people to heal themselves. I really love that modality.”
Doug Pierce, of Key Largo, shared his experience following the sound session. “I needed some sound healing today. I’ve had some dissonance in my life the past few days,” he said. “I feel better.”
Wheatley shared her altruistic motives for bringing the healing practice to her yoga studio. “If a cell is touched by another cell harmonizing with a bowl, the first cell will harmonize with it too,” she explained. This transitive movement of sound waves and healing captivated Wheatley.
“Here’s the cool thing: if you go to a sound healing and you leave here vibrating harmoniously as one cell, you leave in an elevated state,” says Wheatley. “Then, if you touch someone else and elevate them, they will, in turn, lift someone else up too. The healing and harmonizing spreads.”
The next free Sound Healing event is slated for Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at Key Largo Yoga. Wheatley says there will be more future events that are either free or reasonably priced as she continues to weave the experience into other aspects of the yoga practice. Reservations are required for the free events. After Sept. 27, Wheatley will offer private Sound Healing lessons by appointment. Call 305-240-1315 for more details.