New Workshop Provides Space for Communal Relaxation



Between the stress of heavy workloads and the social and societal pressures that students face every day, unwinding and taking time to oneself seems an elusive task. Fortunately, counseling graduate interns Sarah Farrell and David Rapp are attempting to combat this struggle through a weekly “Subtle Body” workshop. The “experiential workshop” itself does not have a fixed agenda or set of expectations— Farrell and Rapp simply hope to create a space for students to discover a different way to relax and unwind.

Farrell and Rapp explained that they decided to use a specific form of “sound therapy” as a way to generate such a meditative space. During the workshop’s first session, Farrell and Rapp knelt behind three quartz crystal bowls that sat in the center of the room, and invited everyone to take a position that was comfortable for them, whether that was lying down, sitting up or standing. The leaders began “playing” the crystal bowls, and the room slowly filled with a sound that grew from a small ringing to a loud, almost overwhelming bath of noise. The reverberating song made thought almost impossible to formulate.

Rapp explained that he thinks the tension created in between various notes generates a landscape where the tensions builds and then is resolved when the notes stop competing with one another to be heard. The perfect fifth has been used in sound healing as it is considered a mechanism to promote relaxation with the way the two notes resonate with one another. The F and G notes are close to each other on the scale, which sometimes causes a palpable vibrato-type tension in the air.

Following the period of sound therapy, Rapp brought out a pack of what he referred to as “energy medicine cards.” He read aloud from the backs of each of the cards, on which a poem or reflection was written for students to connect with as they chose. Rapp said that he decided to use this type of card because they could be interpreted in the way that was most useful to the listener.

Moving forward with the workshop, Rapp and Farrell are developing this relaxation space based on the student response they receive. Farrell emphasized that she was happy to set the stage and facilitate while students explored what they thought would be most helpful to them and others.

“We were very excited that there is an interest, and we are very open to bringing the bowls and helping create the ambiance,” said Farrell.

Rapp and Farrell received many comments after the workshop, and in particular they were happy to hear one student say that they felt connected to people they had never met before.

Rapp said that this one piece of feedback made it all worth it because he believes this is the purpose of the Subtle Body workshop, to connect everyone to themselves and to connect everyone to one another. Building that kind of community can help alleviate stress, promote good health and provide a space for people that they feel safe and comfortable in letting go of the stressors that may plague them throughout the day, according to Rapp.

The next Subtle Body workshop is on Tuesday, February 20 from 5:00-6:00 pm in the Mitchell Green Room in McCullough.