New age therapies can sound kooky, but they may be the key to getting your mind out of its rut.
Not too long ago, yoga seemed like a bizarre idea for a workout. Meditation was something only monks did in mountaineous temples. And Swarovski was the only kind of crystals most people knew.
New age self-care methods, such as yoga, reiki and crystal healing, have come a long way in recent decades. While many of their purported benefits are not recognised by the scientists, their growing popularity begs us to take a second look.
If you have been stuck in a mental or emotional rut, these treatments may just be what you need to get a fresh take on life.
(Also read: Where to Zen in Singapore)
For the yogi searching for a feminine, sensual practice, womb yoga taught by Dewi Chen of Exhale studio may be the answer. This womb-centric practice is a way to “listen and honour the wisdom of your body, especially the cyclical rhythms of your womb life”.
This is a practice that is less about the sport of yoga – no one cares if you execute a perfect headstand – than about celebrating women by honouring one’s yoni (vagina) and cycle (or lack of).
If this all sounds fluffy, it is, until you experience a session. There, you’ll be encouraged to embrace your femininity with pelvic opening poses to let one’s belly hang loose (instead of tucking it in), repetitive yoni mudras (using your thumbs and forefingers to form a diamond to represent your womb) and an utterly relaxing yoga nidra (yogic sleep) using props that’ll leave you emerging focused and refreshed.
This class can feel intimidating for the uninitiated but it’s refreshing to be in an uncensored space where women can freely be just that, a woman.
Where: Exhale, 230A River Valley Road (second floor)
Thanks to the millennials, the healing effects of crystals like rose quartz, amethyst and quartz have become more commonly accepted. At the Deep Calm class at Canvass, crystals are not just a trendy prop, but an integral tool. Everyone is invited to pick a stone at the start of the class to practice with.
The hour-long session features a range of yoga stretches using blocks, straps and bolsters at a slow, gentle pace. You are encouraged to visualise nature’s elements and your own meridians. The placid pace eventually gives way to more challenging poses. The slight physical discomfort is symbolic of how loving oneself or anyone else isn’t always easy. At the end, the selected crystal is laced on your chest.
As you lie in savasana (corpse pose), you are treated to the ringing of Tibetan singing bowls. You will leave the class introspective about life.
Where: Canvass, 5A Binjai Park
(Also read: Feeling Stressed Out? Try Zenga)
Ajna Light Therapy
Everyone knows that stress is bad, but it’s not always easy for the agitated to ease into meditation. At Sagehouse, a technique called Ajna Light Therapy aims to give wired folks a hand in this department. According to Sagehouse founder Johnson Chong, this form of therapy “takes you to what is needed”.
Designed in 2014 by Guy Harriman, a former Apple engineer turned zen monk, the therapeutic application uses neural stimulating brainwave technology to help you easily access a state between wakefulness and sleep, usually achieved during deep meditation.
The flickering white light is also said to reset your circadian rhythm, rebalance your yin and yang energies, eliminate stress and anxiety, enhance creativity and improve focus and concentration among other benefits.
Multiple sessions are recommended for more visible results. This is a healing modality that is best suited for those who are not comfortable with talk therapy, or have been frustrated with failed meditation efforts.
Where: Sagehouse, 163 Tembeling Road
In vocal toning, you use your voice to “harmonise and rebalance your energy” using a steady sound on exhale. Sounds can resemble anything from a humming bee to vowel sounds and more.
Each sound is said to connect to different parts of the body. For instance “ah” is for “expanding the heart space” while “om” connects to the brow chakra, explains Amelia Kang of Ame de Lumiere who conducts the therapy.
Before the actual vocal exercise, the session starts with a ba zi reading, followed by a check on your chakra health and energy levels using a crystal pendulum. Based on your reading, Amelia will then prescribe the relevant vocal toning sounds to target problem areas.
While all this may sound ludicrous, Amelia testifies to the effectiveness of vocal toning to overcome everything from tricky business negotiations to divorce proceedings. You are encouraged to go with an open mind. Hardcore skeptics should stay away.
Where: Arc de Lumiere Holistic Consultancy
(Also read: 8 Effective Ways to Eliminate Stress at Work)
Singing Bowl Therapy
Hailed as the next big wellness trend, sound-based treatments have moved beyond the hippy set and into the mainstream. While the premise of raising vibrations and re-aligning chakras (we all have seven by the way) sounds a little out there, science shows that the body is made up of different energy frequencies, which if you like, can be re-tuned.
At Niyama Private Islands Maldives, the singing bowl experience is elevated by sound therapist Muayad Najemeddin who uses only singing bowls made during the full moon “to blend the purity of the moonlight within the singing bowl”. Beyond the sound waves, Muayad says the energy of the practitioner can also affect the outcome of the session. The therapeutic benefits vary from person to person
Where: Niyama Private Islands Maldives (Muayad is in residence at the resort until October 26.)