Episode 4 of More than Music features our friend, Michelle Berlin, aka Yogi Shelly. Join her at Horse Shoe Farm as she shares with us her experience with teaching Yoga, Sound Therapy and Handpans in her work.
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Big thanks to Marc Hennessey of Asheville Film and Video for another awesome episode!
Transcript of video:
My name is Michelle Berlin. I teach yoga. I facilitate sound healings. I also lead teacher trainings for students that want to learn how to teach yoga. I’m also passionate about teaching sound healing trainings for people that want to learn a little bit more about sound: the quantum physics of sound, sound healing in general, the history, the lineage. And I lead retreats that combine all of that.
Saraz and Sound Baths, Sound Therapy, Breath Work, Kriyas and Yoga Nidra
So I’ve always wanted a handpan and I got an opportunity to touch a few different types of handpans and I really loved Saraz. And I think that any other sounds that I can always add to my sound experiences, or sound baths that I’m doing for students, always adds another layer and I feel that the handpan allows me to take people in and also take people out of the experience in a really beautiful way. I use the Saraz in so many different ways in my classes. So sometimes I’ll use the sounds or the different notes or the middle ding to keep people on their beat for certain types of breath work or certain types of kriyas. And then, more from a sound healing perspective, I will use it in yoga nidras and tell kind of a story that people are floating to outer space and they make contact with aliens and that’s like a nice little alien sound. I also use it mostly in the beginning or the end of a sound healing and it’s always like the cherry on top.
Effects of the Handpan
The sounds that come out of it just have the ability to take people on an internal journey. The handpan is, in a sense, its own little shaman. It’s doing its work. Sometimes when people settle into meditation, or they try to settle into a relaxation, sometimes the mind is still going. But once I play the handpan, those thoughts start to dissipate and they just drop into the experience and are completely enveloped with the sound. On a physical level, the physical body gets put on the back burner and it raises their consciousness. You know and I think depending on the patterns and how you play you can really get people into a more hypnotic state which sets a nice environment for meditation in the mind.
Intuitive Handpan Playing
You know I don’t have any musical training but there’s something about the Saraz, the handpan, that it comes from the gut and it kind of teaches you how to be a musician in a way. Like you start to play and get familiar and start creating your own little rhythms and it can very much allow you to intuitively express your musical side, I think.
Two or three years ago I went to Nepal and I found my teacher there and I studied with a sound shaman in the middle of nowhere in the Himalayas and got to, you know, really sit with him and observe what he does in his clinic. And he made me meditate with one bowl every morning. He’s like, “Just sit with the bowl.” And so much came out of that. Even though it sounds so simple, it was profound.
Sound Healing Apprenticeship
Something I’m really passionate about is a sound healing apprenticeship. So I find that, you know, people can come and take a sound workshop or experience, but kind of a continued education learning experience over a year where myself and a few students can really gather and touch base and share and learn together. And I just want to lead that and create a space for that because I think it’s a lifelong journey, understanding and learning about sound.