(Story by Lynne Robinson)
Jvala Moonfire, whose sound baths are resonating with the Taos community and beyond, grew up on Staten Island, a ferry ride away from the bright lights of the big city. She is the child of Jewish immigrants, and could hardly have guessed back then that a ubiquitous trip to Israel to spend a summer working on a kibbutz would catapult her into a world of mystery and wonder. A vision in the Jewish ancestral homeland sent her further East, and along the way, she came across singing bowls and their incredible healing modalities.
Jvala, whose name means Blue Flame, spent 15 years going back and forth to and from India, immersing herself in the study and practice of Kundalini Yoga, meditation, Sanskrit and Vag Yoga, the ancient yogic practice of consciousness evolution through sound, which is traditionally used to awaken the kundalini energy; the primordial energy coiled in the root chakra.
I met Jvala one afternoon in Taos, where she lives with her partner Stacy Satya Cripe. Stacy, who is a well respected healer in Taos, and Jvala together make up Resonance Healing Arts. And while Jvala might blend in here in Taos, with her edgy undercut and dreads—her hipster facade an unlikely, if effective disguise—she has cultivated a loyal and sizable following among the yoga community and the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram satsang.
Her sound bath sessions, held at Shree Yoga Taos and AuraFitness, are packed, and last fall, Vogue Magazine featured her in a short article about New Mexico’s spas and wellness retreats. Having lived and studied in the caves of the Himalayas and in the sacred city of Varanasi, alongside her guruji, Jvala believes, “sound is a potent pathway to the silent awareness of the soul.”
Sound healing has been utilized in various cultures for thousands of years to facilitate shifts by synchronizing our fluctuating brainwaves and creating a stable frequency. This same concept is utilized in meditation by regulating the breath, but with sound, the frequency is the agent that influences the shift.
Yogis have been using singing bowls for centuries, and in recent years, the bowls have gained in popularity in the West
—they’re used in places as diverse as hospitals, schools, homes, meditation studios and therapy settings. Sound facilitates shifts by synchronizing our fluctuating brainwaves, creating a stable frequency for the brainwave to attune to. By using rhythm and frequency, we can entrain our brainwaves, making it possible to downshift our normal beta state (normal waking consciousness) to alpha (relaxed consciousness), and even to reach theta (meditative state) and delta (sleep, where internal healing can occur). The same concept is utilized in meditation by regulating the breath, but with sound, the frequency is the agent that influences the shift.
When she returned to the West, Jvala began to integrate her accumulated knowledge of mantra and meditation with the crystal bowls, developing her “soundbaths.” She continued to study Sound Healing with Jonathan Goldman and became certified as a Sound Healer with internationally renowned sound healer Tom Kenyon, as well as with the Globe Institute in San Francisco.
Now, she teaches sessions, sometimes at the sanctuary of the Kumari Nadu Temple, using mantra, toning and the vibrations of crystal singing bowls to expand participants’ consciousnesses and invoke healing. About Jvala’s work, Vogue gushed, “It’s out of this world.”
Speaking with people who regularly attend Jvala’s sound baths, it becomes apparent that it’s not just an auditory experience—it’s like receiving a full body sound massage. Most attendees fall into a state of deep relaxation—the soundbath is a pathway to meditation, even if one does not know how to meditate. The sound acts as the mantra, reducing mind chatter, leading to a release of tensions and emotional blocks.
“Jvala’s sound healings are wonderful,” Genevieve Oswald, co-owner of Shree Yoga Taos, says. “One of the most delightful things about these journeys is their lack of requirement of movement and physical effort.” Often, when one thinks of events in a yoga studio, sweat, effort and postures that generate some degree of discomfort come to mind. But Genevieve says, in the case of the sound baths, it’s different. “It’s more like naptime in a pre-school; set up your mat and get comfy!” she laughs. “The lights get low, the sound gets resonant, and the healing happens—truly no experience is necessary for one to participate and receive the benefits of this work.” Many people emerge from the experience feeling lighter, more in balance, refreshed and rejuvenated by the low lighting, candlelight and incense.
And fans of the sessions say Jvala’s sound baths help open a pathway to a place of stillness, much as a mantra helps one arrive at the still point of meditation. And lately, the combination of yoga asanas and Jvala’s sound baths are proving to be quite popular. This coming spring equinox, in tandem with Ashleigh Beyer, AuraFitness offers a class that will combine yoga asanas with the crystal bowls. “All levels are welcome,” Ashleigh tells me. “We will honor this mystic window of balance between light and dark, as we are guided within using the wisdom of breath, gentle yoga postures and the deep healing power of vibrational Sound and Sacred mantra.”
Ancient religions and modern sciences agree that our reality is an ocean of living energy, that all matter is simply interpenetrating waves of energy that have crystallized into form and structure. Jvala says the crystal bowls work directly with this universal energy and channel it into the body to enliven our entire being. “Sound awakens consciousness,” she says.
Visit aurafitness.com to sign up for Sun & Moon Within Restorative Yoga & Crystal Singing Bowls March 21. Visit resonancehealingarts.com to learn more about Jvala or her sound bath sessions.