Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Valerie Weyrich. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Hi Valerie, thanks for joining us today. We love asking folks to share the most heartwarming moments from their career – do you have a touching moment you can share with us?
Sound Healing with gongs offers the listener an invitation to go deeply within and gently vibrate what is ready to be surfaced, be it physical or emotional. The initial strike of the gong is followed by what is called resound. The resound is the sound after sound. Similar to echo. Through the sound and resound of the gong, vibrations are created. These vibrations can be heard and felt throughout the body. The top layer of skin, the dermatome, is gently vibrated during sound healing. Just below the dermatome is the access point to the central nervous system. So, sound healing with gongs has the unique ability to directly rattle, massage, or nourish the central nervous system and provide a state of relaxation. Now, what is experienced during the state of deep relaxation is unique to every single person.
As a gong player and sound healer, I receive similar benefits as the listeners while I am playing. And for me, my medicine comes from connecting with the students and listening to the stories about their experiences. In each class I teach, after the tune in, the centering, the intention-setting, the physical relaxation, vibration and sound from the gongs, sacred silence, and coming back — there are the stories. I love to end each sound healing by asking student’s the simple question “How did you do?”.
I have heard a range of responses! Some euphoric, some difficult to process, and everything in between! At an event I taught years ago, I had a student ask me if I had laid my hands on his back to hold him at some point during the sound healing? He had the experience of feeling held and supported by hands gently pressing on his back. I let him know that I had not laid my hands on his back, but what he felt was likely the experience of his own body being supported and held. He was astonished and told me that he was certain someone had come to hold him. He walked away shaking his head with a huge grin on his face and a glow in his eyes.
At another event, one of the students lingered around long after everyone else had packed up. As soon as I approached her with the question “How did you do?” she began to cry. She told me she was confused about what sound healing does and the experience she had had. She told me that her husband had passed away years ago. She was heartbroken, grieved, went to therapy, and she felt that she had processed the experience. However, during the sound healing the deep-seated wound surfaced and she felt it all come back to her. She was confused as to why because she felt that she had processed all of it. I sympathized with her for the pain that she felt resurface. I offered her the idea that sound healing holds the ability to surface what has long been hidden or buried at the moment when we are truly ready to receive it. We shared a hug, she left in tears and told me she was coming back to hear the gong again soon.
Valerie, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
During my first yoga teacher training, along with learning traditional yoga, I was introduced to the practices of Ayurveda, sound healing, and Jyotish (Vedic Astrology). These practices weave together to reinforce each other. After my yoga teacher training, I completed advanced studies in all of these areas. And through my training, I experienced the alignment of these practices in my own life.
Today, I weave these practices into all of my offerings. My sound healings are often influenced by the current planetary alignment, Ayurvedic season of the year, and/or the time of day. For example, if the sound healing is offered at 11:00 am in July I would likely include cooling breath work, twisting yoga asanas to calm heat, and the sound healing would be gentle and flowy as opposed to overly exciting or stimulating. Because in July, we are in the heat of the Ayurvedic season of pitta. And for most of us, pitta is balanced by cooling and calming practices.
My Vedic Astrology chart readings often include Ayurvedic principles and recommendations. Say someone had Venus in their 5th house, the house of creativity. Well, Venus is often associated with music, art, beauty, and love. So the placement of Venus in the house of creativity could indicate a high level of creative influence and vata dosha. Vata is the Ayurvedic dosha that governs the flow of movement and thoughts. Those who have a vata predominance are often creative people! So, some of the recommendations I may offer this beautifully creative person would be to integrate a steady routine to balance all of the movement. Practice sun salutations in the morning to start the day grounded and follow up with a meditation that resonates. These practices can help harvest creativity and offer balance.
Training and knowledge matter of course, but beyond that what do you think matters most in terms of succeeding in your field?
Training from an experienced teacher is essential for the practice of sound healing. Yes anyone can play the gong, really there are no notes or songs. However, playing the instrument is only part of the practice. Learning how to tune in, hold the space, support each and every experience, and intuitively know what is appropriate for the listeners in the room — takes training and practice.
Along with learning the basics of how to play an intuitive instrument such as the gong it is also important to know how to care for the health of the healer herself. This is where Ayurveda can offer support. For me, I know that to fully show up to play and hold space during a sound healing — I need to be in balance myself. For me, this often includes going to bed early the night before, having plenty of time for yoga, breathwork, meditation, and an oil massage the day of, and filling my body with good food and pure water before and after.
Can you talk to us about how your funded your firm or practice?
A sound healer needs instruments. And instruments take an investment. My collection of sound healing instruments has taken patience and years to collect. As soon as I finished my sound healing training, I started thinking about which instruments resonate with me and how I could afford them. The journey began at one of the first studios I taught at. The owner of the studio was a musician herself and she understood the practice of sound healing. I was able to borrow a gong from the music department of the local University, where the owner had connections, to host a fundraiser for a gong for the studio. All of the proceeds from the class plus donations from the community helped to buy the studio a symphonic gong! It was lovely. I played that gong at that studio for years!
When I moved to Colorado, I started imagining how I could afford a gong of my own. I saved, asked my family to gift me funds for my birthday and holidays and I bought my own symphonic gong. Many an hour has been spent with my Paiste symphonic gong. We have moved houses together, traveled to studios near and far, played for yogis, 12-step recovery meetings, and even spent the night in the mountains together. We are family now.
The passion, love, and respect for gongs only grows stronger when one acquires the gong they have been eyeing. There are always more on the wish list! Years after purchasing my first gong, I set an intention to support the somewhat debilitated moon in my Vedic Astrology birth chart by creating an abundance of lunar vibrations. The best way I could possibly think to do this was by playing a moon gong! So I saved and I bought my second gong, a beautiful sidereal moon gong. She has been a sweet addition to the family.
As of late, my heart is set on the next member of the family—which will most likely be a Mercury planetary gong!
Along the journey through growing my gong family, I have befriended and loved traditional metal singing bowls. I’ve collected them, traded for them, and had a few gifted to me. At one time I was intent on acquiring a “set” of bowls, one for each of the 7 energy centers in the body. But I realized that for me it felt more intentional to find and collect singing bowls that resonated with me. I sold a few of my bowls, gifted a few to loved ones, and have found contentment in a small collection of grounding bowls. I love the sound of each of them and together they are a family.
Recently, my heart has turned towards incorporating indigenous instruments into my sound healing offering. My family is indigenous to this land and the idea of bringing traditional instruments back to the lands where they were born is beautiful to me! I added a Navajo bear rattle into my offering. The rattle is filled with tiny anthill beads and painted on the front of the rattle is bear. In the indigenous teachings, bear is an intuitive creature. Bear spends months of the year going inward, hibernating through the winter, dreaming and resting. And come spring, bear is rested and ready. The indigenous peoples watched bear to learn which berries and foods were good to eat. Bear holds great wisdom. For me, this instrument holds the power to rattle what is ready to surface and remind us of our own intuitive wisdom.
- Website: www.valerieweyrich.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/valerieweyrich
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/valbrown
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ValerieWeyrich