Gong meditation reviewed

Chanelle Tourish finds that the meditative beating of gongs can result in the perfect slumber

Gong meditation, a type of sound therapy, isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s been around for centuries as a method of healing. So how does the sound of gongs and drums help you? The benefits are said to help reduce stress while also helping to relieve emotional blockages. It is even said to be able improve the quality of sleep. It might also give you a whopping great headache, one assumes.

Certainly, a sceptic will need some convincing, which is why we went along to try it. From the outset, it does sound pretty bonkers – lying on a mat with your eyes closed while a lady tells you to imagine balls of light and listening to gongs. Not your average evening, particularly if meditation isn’t your thing.

Classes are held at Illuminations in JLT. The scene is set with soft lighting, candles and the smell of incense, to make you feel relaxed. Our session quickly fills up with men and women who spread out on yoga mats – some even wrap themselves in blankets and lie on pillows they’ve brought especially. But after a few light exercises we’re soon snuggled up, too, making this feel more like a fun slumber party than a meditation session.

When the lights are dimmed, the relaxation begins. Using a variety of techniques and instruments, such as chanting, drums and Tibetan bowls, the instructor repeats positive aspirations about love while the class listen to the hypnotic vibrations – all of which are soothing and send us straight to sleep. But not for long. Halfway through the session a loud gong is struck, creating a rather ominous sound, which leaves us a little disorientated. In fact, we feel like we’re in the scene from Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom where Indy is about to be sacrificed, but that’s clearly just our crazy imagination; the rest of the class seem to be in a state of tranquillity.

High-pitched ringing sounds signify the end of the hour-long session and that night we sleep like a baby. Perhaps next time we’ll bring our pyjamas, just to save time.
Dhs80. Illuminations, 409, Fortune Executive Towers, Cluster T, JLT (800 4325).

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