We are beyond honored and excited to introduce you to Sound Healing Practitioner Koko T. Bear. Robyn had the privilege of experiencing a sound bath with Koko at Blackberry Mountain in Walland ,Tennessee -- and it was transformative.
After having had several different sound healing experiences in the past, the one with Koko was unlike anything she had experienced. So Robyn and Karen knew they had to have them on to talk about sound healing, their journey, kundalini yoga, connecting to spirit and much more.
In this episode:
Follow and/or reach out to Koko on Instagram @KokotBear.
Robyn: I'm Robyn Miller Brecker,
Karen: and I'm Karen Loenser. Welcome to seeking center. The podcast,
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Robyn: We are beyond honored and excited to introduce you to Sound. Healer Koko T. Bear. I had the privilege of experiencing a sound bath with Koko at Blackberry Mountain in Wall, Tennessee, and it was transformative after having had several other sound healing experiences. [00:01:00] The one with Koko was like nothing I had experienced before, so, of course we knew we had to have them on to talk about sound healing, their journey. Kundalini Yoga, connecting to spirit, and wherever else our souls take us. Let's get going. Hi Koko
Koko: hi Koko. Hi. Thank you Oh
Karen: my gosh. We're so happy to talk to has talked nonstop about you since that trip to Blackberry
Karen: her in her receptivity and her feelings about sound healing. So to meet you now and hear more about your story, I am just so excited.
Koko: Thank you. I'm really excited to share. I started after meeting Robyn, I started listening to the podcast and then she asked me to speak. I could not wait. Sound bathing, opened my eyes to a whole new way of feeling meditation.
But then getting not only skeptics, but people who have a mindset of what sound healing is already, and then getting those groups of people to try it for the first time or try it again and see that maybe It can be a little different. Yes.
Robyn: can you talk [00:02:00] about how you would define sound healing and the term sound bathing or sound baths.
Koko: Oh, sure. Yeah. Yeah. Cause cause like even the baths phrase still gets a lot of raised eyebrows sound healing, sound bathing. For me, my elevator pitch is, it's the easiest, quickest meditation I've ever done, and I've not met anybody else who says different.
And one of my favorite things to ask when people are like, I've done sounding. I'm like, Have you found an easier meditation? ? No. Yeah, cause because it's so easy. , that's what my elevator pitch about it, but by my little expanded thing is that body's natural reaction to vibrate and harmony is what our bodies do.
So if we're in a tense situation, a tense room, our body gets tense. If we're in a relaxed situation, if we're at the beach, everybody's listening to the waves we're all loose. So what we're doing is we're just bathing, we're surrounding our body with very intentional sounds.
And we're letting our body like focus on those sounds for sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes an hour and a half, sometimes the full overnight experience. So in that time, our body is not [00:03:00] regulating itself. It's just a tuning to the instruments of the room. So depending on what that practitioner has chosen to bring into the room.
Sometimes we love it and sometimes we don't like it. Some instruments are just not our favorite and sometimes we really hope we only hear one thing the whole time, . But it's such a simple practice that you're. So passive in your regular practice, let's just call it a level zero sound bath.
You're just laying there enjoying it. But what if you wanna be in a seated posture where you're really focusing on opening your upper chakras to the energy channels and what if you wanna bring a moodra practice in, or a mantra inside your mind throughout the sound bath?
Now all of a sudden you can support this as a double or triple meditation and you get some pretty big experiences and feelings and emotional epiphanies and new ways of practicing. So all of a sudden sound healing becomes this supportive thing that your body is getting to stay in deep meditation for extended periods where.
we get to heal at a cellular [00:04:00] level, not just for moments of time like we do when we dream, when we sleep we get to experience it for minutes of time. Minutes of healing versus moments of healing is massive. . And so then we start getting minutes and moments of clarity in our day to day life without even thinking about it.
I Listen to headphones far too loud as a young child. So while of raining in my ears, and I noticed that through the years of going to sound baths as the ringing doesn't go away, but the quiet between each ring is a lot longer.
And so I was like, Okay, my body, my ears, are. Something that medical science says will not heal, will not get better. I'm feeling get better over time. The more I do this. And so it's this very gentle practice that doesn't require anything of you to really do. But I keep seeing big effects in myself and in others.
. So I've become a massive nerd about it. I'm constantly telling people to go by tuning forks I think I've said this line a million times now. I don't sell tuning for it . Cause I want [00:05:00] you to buy them so bad. . I don't want it go look like I'm trying to make any money.
I'm because they're just incredible. I'm not a great business person. So I'm even like, let me teach you how to use 'em on yourself. You can use them on you. You can teach your loved ones, how to use them and use them on your loved ones. It's such an easy way to connect.
You place a tuning for on your own heart and then your friend is also tuning to the same tone. There's just a lot of cool little things you can do these instruments that get your body to respond in a meditative way Very quickly,
I'll recall it next to the microphone.
Robyn: Oh yeah. Love that sound. And what I wanted to ask, just because We're talking about the fact that our bodies are attuning to a certain frequency.
Can you talk a little bit about that? Cause I think people listening may not understand why or how everything you're saying is actually
Koko: working. Cool. Okay. So our nervous system is in constant response usually in a sympathetic nervous system that fight [00:06:00] or fight. My teacher likes to say everything is vibration light and vibration. That is and perceptions, light vibration perception
and so that vibration of our nervous system is usually a high vibration or high We use music terms day to day life and we don't even realize it. And so with this high, strung tense kind of tightness the body is not to release, to let go of narrative of injury, of emotional injury, of physical injury.
The body gets stuck in survival mode. So here we're getting the body not to be tuned to the normal pattern. What I like to call the human doing. And we get to remind the body to let go and be a part of gong and a lot of symphonic Gs tuned to the ohm tone reminding us just to come back to nothing, Come back to everything come back just to the infinity of the universe.
And that big sound is usually enough to knock this out of our normal pattern, get back into that human being versus human doing. And in that [00:07:00] space, our nervous system gets to literally cool out and not be so high strung. So if you have sciatic pain, meditation is far more effective on loosening that up than stretching it.
Lot of times stretching will actually, inflame a sciatic nerve even more. So like finding a soft, gentle meditation where you can let the whole nervous system settle and those kind of nerve problems start to loosen. And it being such a, an easy practice, how many sound baths did we do together?
We just did the one exactly even breathwork meditation, which is so powerful. It actually is my foundational practice took me three or four private sessions with a coach squeezing on my chest to get me to that place where I could start going into TRAs and falling into a deep meditative space.
You get to do that in sound bathing and tuning fork treatments and the first time. You don't need the built practice. And so you get to get someone into a meditative state very quickly in their journey.
Karen: Speaking of journey that's how Robyn describes her [00:08:00] experience with you in the Sound bath that she did down there at Blackberry.
So for somebody who's never gone through a Sound bath experience, can we just hear yours, Koko,
Koko: So part of my training with my teacher Lauren Rose Wagner, a very thoughtful teacher, was she had us build our sound baths, thinking about colors, thinking about intention, thinking about time of day and feeling and moods we were trying to invoke during the
And at Blackberry Mountain, it is a resort, a hotel setting. So I like to give a pretty. Rounded, not too hyper focused on any one thing. Sounds bath that way if the room is 12 people, maybe we find a moment for each person. So with that kind of broader spectrum in mind, I think of it like a full day, a sunrise, a mid-morning, an afternoon, a nap in the afternoon.
You get up and get another little second wind and then you start winding down for the rest of the day and you really start getting into that, brushing your teeth winding down as like getting a good book kind of feeling as you're coming up and [00:09:00] seated and finding yourself again. So I try to build this full day in my mind, so that way I keep track of it like that.
Now I if I get to be with a private, student who really likes one sound or more, and then the other then we get to really start focusing those sound baths for those people. And those are really fun to do.
You can start customizing every little thing with just gentle intentions .
Karen: I'm trying to get my arms around the exactly what happened. I walk into a room with 12 people? Do I lay down?
Koko: It kinda depends. Your standard setting, so it's like usually your yoga studio, something like that.
Hopefully I've been able to set up some nice soft pillows and blankets on the ground if I'm not able to. Maybe you've brought your own pillows in blankets, but the idea is that we're building not just a place to sit still with a place to really melt, release, like a little nap spot in a south, we call it a pallet fill a pallet on the floor.
So maybe you use yoga props. Maybe you just throw a blanket on a couch. So you really make yourself a nice soft spot. It usually [00:10:00] smells as if maybe I have burned sage. But I try to do it like 20, 30 minutes before anybody walks in cuz we get some smoke sensitivity.
And then I usually like to break down the instruments. I like to show everybody what all the instruments look and sound like. So that way when we're in it, we don't have to do any peeking.
And I don't tried to set too many expectations cuz you never know what the body is gonna do in it sounds bath but then after getting everybody mentally ready get them physically comfortable and then, and that try to get them breathing, it's just a guided meditation at the top really with some chimes and some tuning forks play underneath.
But even the chimes and tuning forks are. Secretly getting into your body and already opening you up at a musculature level. So we're trying to just get your body to open I'll guide the breaths to like, breathe in together, hold exhale together.
And what that does too is like now you can bring a whole room, not only breathing together, but when we breathe in rhythm, our hearts beat in rhythm. So even in just that soft space, but you can get everybody vibrating at that [00:11:00] circulatory level. And so from that level, like from that kind of gentle softness, we start bringing in instruments that really remind the body to just let.
Robyn: And then you also I remember, were singing or chanting at the end
Koko: too. Yes. Mantra is a big part of my practice as well. I love bringing in protective mantra as well. Yeah. at the end, I'm going to sing
, mantra, bringing in this which leads us right into some k stuff. I found this yoga practice that was so weird that I was very intrigued. Not weird Huh, weird oh, and. At one point the teacher was like, Get up and dance.
And I put on like a world dance jam. And I was like, Okay. , I'm looking around the room. And then she was like, Close your eye or look down at your mat and dance. And I had the best time of my life. And then I lay down and during Shavasana the gong started playing.
I thought I was asleep for hours. And then I eventually kept going back to this kundalini. It was always different. it's not vinyasa where there's a flow. sometimes you're just like laying on your back, [00:12:00] laughing. But then you get up real quick and start doing essentially burpees.
Robyn: What would you say is the reason it's so different and that you can have those kind of reactions? It's
Koko: because kundalini tests the nervous system the same way life does, but it does it in a insular environment where you're safe, where you're allowed to scream if you want to, you're allowed to stop immediately.
If you want to go in a child's post, you're allowed to feel what it feels like to be taxed and then push a little bit further in a safe environment. And so it was learning how to do that feel, thing where you start to get a little shaky and you start to get a little tears in your eyes that You're not here to cry, for some reason you're tear doctor filling out. With kundalini with breath work, I learned how to start using breath using my own energy centers to pull that in, .
It was always different and challenging. And then afterwards you also just felt so euphoric because there was this mantra, there was this chanting, there was this breath in group, there was gong. And so all these things wrapped up where I was [00:13:00] like, this is my jam. But at the same time, so many people get so into kundalini and I say this as a level one trained kundalini yoga teacher. I Googled the phrase is kini cult 30 times
it. You're so into it. They're like, you start wearing different outfits and you start going by a different name and you like, but at the same time that no point is kri asking for any amount of your money. never are they telling you have to move to New Mexico. People do talk about moving to New Mexico, like they'll think high and dry.
I don't, I'm not trying to have nose leads. , thank you though and that's a nice thing. It's like you're not gonna be kicked out of the kundalini world just because you don't go full. You don't have to like, become a, sheik to really enjoy and use this powerful tool of connecting deeply to yourself and therefore feeling that connection to shunya, to the central channel, to the ever present, generating, organizing, and destroying force of the universe.
Robyn: It feels like another tool, just [00:14:00] like a resource to your higher self, to spirit, to the universe, which is also how you use, I think, sound and instruments and your voice. And as you just said, also your breath.
Koko: Yes. Yeah. It's one of another set of tools Cause we all need more than just one thing.
We all need kinda a broad support system.
Karen: And you do this so often for, I'm sure for a lot of people who've never experienced a sound bath or any of this, what are some of the things that people say to you afterwards?
Koko: Oh man. One of my favorites is, Hey, I saw colors the whole time.
And so like they get this synesthetic experience where sound and colors start to mix in their brain. . But colors start to. Be inspired by the sounds. And then I have a friend who is Synesthetic. He sees colors everywhere he looks. He works in banking, so it makes a lot of sense that he's always loved numbers.
Cause they some numbers stick out of color to him. Only found this out because he was like, all a sudden it went black. He was like, I didn't see anything behind my eyes. He's I've never seen that. He was like, And then all of a sudden a face [00:15:00] of a gorilla turned into the face of an Apache.
What's that mean? And I was like, Wow. I was like, Jordan, you were the most normal person I know, but I think you now have a spirit animal. You're a gorilla. I'm sorry man. I'm like, you're now weird of, I didn't mean to do it to you. But like a lot of people who never experienced any meditation are like that.
Karen: So it introduces them, Yeah, the idea of meditation because they've allowed themselves to at least let themselves feel, So
Koko: many of us have tried the hardest version of meditation, and that's sitting still anding of nothing. Just watching your breath. That is not the easiest meditation period is
No. So a lot of times in your head you're like, Is this all meditation is when do you think we're done?, is that play of cookies for everybody over there? Or when do we think we get to eat those? If you're not actually doing the meditation, then yeah, you're gonna get nothing out of it.
But it's not a choice You've already made the choice to be in the sound. So the choices are already done. You're going to physically meditate now.
Robyn: And let's talk about too, with some of the instruments that you [00:16:00] use, as you were saying earlier, everybody does have a different reaction, To a sound bath in general and probably to certain instruments. Yeah. I know For me, I believe the gong is a huge release, and I'd love for you to talk about that. And I wanna just tell everybody that when I walked in to this sound bathing experience with you, I don't get very nervous about a lot of things, but I was really nervous because I had a previous sound bathing sound, healing experience.
That actually wrecked me a bit And it really scared me cuz it did show me when while I was in it, a darker side of spirit and the universe and I had to really work after that to regulate myself again and to understand what I had seen and why I had seen it.
And so that took me actually several months after the experience. So when I walked in and [00:17:00] saw the gong and my friends who were with me saw the gong, they looked at me and they were like, Are you gonna be okay? And I walked over to you and I told you, and you said to me, Oh, you will be more than okay. This is why I got into using the gong cuz I had a similar experience.
Koko: Yeah, my gong. So this is my go angel. She's a inch sy gong. Like most of Pisces gone based on the, just a zinc disc and it's hand hammered, it's even hand scored. There's only seven gong masters at Pisces and so each one of these is very painstakingly made.
now you'll get a lot of gongs that are like, based off this one is the own tone, 136.1 herz. These gongs have different tunings, different intentions.
And then this one being a symphonic gong, being a feminine sound bringing in all the sounds of the universe is my favorite. If you're gonna have one gong, have a symphonic gong, one that covers all the sounds. But yeah it's a big. Metal disc physically. So people get very excited and they want to like [00:18:00] ring that bell, And so that's what they get used to and they start building what I like to call the sizzle of a gong. And it doesn't feel sizzly in the ears and sometimes it overwhelms you in a chest physically that some people will hear an instrument and think I need to play it at 11.
But a lot of instruments are really great down in that five to six range. . It's can be an overwhelming instrument.
And it was that sense of being overwhelmed by things that really inspired me to want to start playing the gong to be a gong player. The crystal bowls are pretty easy to play softly. The gong takes a bit of restraint, so even as it just kinda starts to build, you're always just asking the gong to play.
You're building up this relationship and letting the sound build off this instrument
Not sure if you can hear it. We can.
[00:19:00] Then it starts to get really complex. You start to get these really high notes that are surprising. But then these big low rumbles are so low and comforting, almost like a weighted blanket of sound But one thing I will say about the gong versus a tuning fork or for, versus most other healing instruments, even the bowls or crystal, the gong will show you what it is.
Found. The gong is like a proud dog or a proud cat, whichever one you're more apt to that they're like, Hey, I found this garbage inside your nervous system. I wanted to show it to you. . But even if we worked on that, my personal thing my favorite story was something I worked on specifically in therapy with my therapist.
I was like, Why is that going up? Allie and I have talked about this and then as soon as I said that the gong cdo, I bawled and the next time that, that thing that was supposed to bother me. Cause even though I worked on it in therapy, I still saw it on the calendar. That anniversary still came up right the [00:20:00] next time.
I was at the end of that day, got home at the end December 12th, and I was like, Oh, whoa. I wasn't on the couch all day. I wasn't stuck at home. I wasn't stuck in the spiral. And I thought back to that day where the gong showed me that thing I didn't wanna look at anymore cause it had found.
Something inside me, but without being sizzly, without being rude about it, the gong will still bring it up, show you. And so a lot of times in the gong bath, you will feel some, like in yoga a release, Just public cry yes. there's a reason most yoga studios have tissues in them.
Cause when we do this work, whether it be passive like receiving the sounds of a go you might get those releases. You might those breakthroughs, we call 'em therapy there's something so sweet about that in a gentle space that if I'm gonna ask people to trust me a burly, bearded, non-binary sonic shaman. I'm gonna need to make the room soft. I'm gonna need to make the sounds soft cause I'm nearly 300 pounds. If I start clopping around the [00:21:00] room, you're gonna be kinda worried laying there.
But if I'm quietly, paddock can barely even hear the feet because the flute is playing over it. So there's all these little, just attention to detail things I think I learned in my years of theater years of improv and putting on production
and From that production side, all a sudden I saw those little tweaks that can be made in this meditation world.
I found that if, you could live In the moment, storytelling make believe with another adult coming from your highest sense of a lot of these people are Ivy League educated in the improv world.
Yes. And they're just up there doing silly make believes in a bar, But when you you come from this from your highest self and connect eye to eye and breathe together? You can make scenes that look like they're written by some of the best playwrights in the world.
You can touch on truths that philosophers would never even think to dare And in the moment you're in,
Karen: you have to be authentic too, don't you?
Oh my gosh. That's a whole level too at and most improv training is about [00:22:00] being authentic. . I remember one time I said something in this scene and the teacher stopped me. What?
Have you ever actually done that? I was like, a couple times like, All right, , that's, But when you called out, you're like, Where is this coming from? Is this actually coming from you? And that kinda training is also very important, I think. And for a lot of people in their twenties who were told to not listen to their gut
That's right. That's right.
Koko: So through this play and through this relearning, you get to retrain the brain to be a little bit more open to brand new narrative, be open to new ideas and trying things out. A couple.
And just a little bit of forethought about where is your A and where is your b the connection can be a lot clearer. You can get the point across That's something that is very helpful, definitely in getting people to try it again and getting skeptics to accept it. Yeah.
Robyn: For me, and I think the other part too, in addition to experiencing the gong with you was also this space in which we, had this sound bath, [00:23:00] right?
Because the space and how it feels, as you said earlier, you sage usually 20 to 30 minutes before people come in. I wanna make sure that people listening understand. How important the integrity of that space is so that when you are experiencing these sounds and this energy, you are in a safe place.
And the person who is also conducting it is doing it with intention. . And with your best
Koko: interests there. I'm gonna borrow a phrase from the world of psychedelics that's very helpful in this kind of world too. Cause it's set and setting. Oh, set and setting. If you take care of that.
Yeah. And sometimes you just set expectation. Sometimes you're on a storefront next to a busy road. And so you, you do tell people, you're like, the universe is gonna provide some sounds for us. Sounds I cannot make, I can't physically make the out of a Mac truck, but the universe might decide you need that.
So go ahead and let that sound in. And what we [00:24:00] get to learn in that lesson, which I, if I could make a perfectly sonic, like soundproof space, like that Integrity on and Joshua Tree, and people have never heard of Integra Tron and Joshua Tree, they should definitely check it out. , if you can't make a sonically perfect space, you're gonna need to set a little bit of an expectation that you're gonna hear something beyond just my you might hear someone fall asleep, you might hear someone I will tickle the ear with a feather. I promise . But yeah, sometimes you do your best with set in setting and sometimes you know your best is best late plans of mice and men been are off late awake. You know what
Karen: just occurred to me too about this is that it's, the sounds are so universal.
You're not dependent on words or language or It's up to your own interpretation of course, but you could have people from every country sitting there in that room and they can still experience it.
Koko: Yeah. Just seeing the instruments play one on one laying down and being able to hear them and feel them.
You don't need to know anything. That's
Robyn: right. And before we keep moving on. I wanna make [00:25:00] sure, when you talked about tuning forks, can you explain what they do and what that means to tune somebody?
Koko: Oh, I can try , Oh, where's my little Mary Poppins bag?
I keep my human tuning book around very often. So what I'm talking about tuning forks there's a couple different ones that I might be mentioning. I been talking about your classic activity for that. You're used to seeing and these two come together. So this is a c and a c. And because of that, you get to hear an eighth, a full Octa interval.
You kinda give it some sound and some movement.
Now, the reason I use these is because they are the instruments used in Dr. John BEAULIEU, the creator of biosonics. They were the same instruments used in his clinical studies where they just display simple intervals to watch how the body, how the brain reacted in real time. So when I'm playing a seventh interval, you might notice it feels discordant.[00:26:00]
But it makes the eighth the resolve even sweeter.
So you get to just build these little microcosm of juxtaposition, of a dis comfortable sound or feeling. And then you get to build in that knowledge, that muscle memory that it will resolve. Even in just that gentle training, we get to keep the body and that reminder that a tense moment will not always be tense.
and it's so quick and effective the tuning fork it that it is even suggestive that the osteo tuning for it. So one with a little dose on the end. Osteo phonic bone vibration. But what it lets you do is be in a crowded area, have your tuning forks going, and give yourself a little like bubble of sound.
So if you're in a really loud environment, all of a sudden this brings everything down to one sound. Say you have trouble hearing though, so you can use bone vibration, you can use your, that bone [00:27:00] conduction. I like to call it the tuna corn horn, But then I was saying though the tuning forks are so powerful that it's suggested not to put these in the exact same space spot more than twice in a 12 hour period.
what you're doing, which like it's 128 Hertz that I like to use is hypothesize that it reminds the body of our heart rate in the womb 120 to 132 being the average. And it brings the body to this slow spot reminding the body that when we were a heart rate, a brain, a nervous system that we could regenerate.
So we're here to regenerate. We're here to let go. And I've played this on my joints. When I've had a little arthritis flare ups, I've seen a tuning fork bring a a miscarriage. Back to life into an EC topic, which is not a great thing. But the fact that it brought life back into a clump of cells that had been declared non-viable was very scary for us.
Me and my student, but also very affirming about how effective these tuning forks are. And we've continued to play them. Her journey is actually [00:28:00] in a very good place right now. fingers crossed and everything is looking really good. But it's the tuning forks I just keep seeing the tuning forks move not only physical hurt through the body, but even last March, I lost a close friend very suddenly and.
I felt myself ask myself like, Oh, do you believe in these tuning forks or not? And so I started playing the tuning forks and like I was hurting up in here in my head. So I play the tuning forks around my head. I felt it moving to my heart. I played it around my heart. I felt it move into my kidneys. And so I played my iliac points in my hips and I felt myself digest this grief because of the tuning force within a matter of a couple hours physically.
Now the mental part was still up to me. I still had to do some journaling, still had to do some work. But I felt it get out of my body because of these tuning Wow.
Robyn: When you talk about too, just for people who may not have really paid attention to the term Hertz, and in terms when we're talking about frequency, The different sounds and what they make.
Can you just talk about that for a moment? For those, what that what does [00:29:00] that
Koko: mean? So if you think of that black and green round graph with whoa. when you're measuring hurts that are low hertz. So as humans we can start hearing about 20 hertz low.
Whoa. And those are real low and wide waves. And what we can hear up to 20,000 hertz, which is really high, like a i, a mosquito by. And so those can be very tight, very fast vibrations. So when we're talking about hertz we're talking about how tight are those sound waves?
How fast are those sound waves moving to create that sound? Cause sound is pressure moving through a medium. And you can almost visualize that pressure wave looking like that, that you, you does that. Yeah,
Robyn: it does. And I'm bringing it up too because I think if people look into certain frequencies and certain hertz levels can help you, get to maybe a more calm place or a happier state
Koko: or tone are really incredible. [00:30:00] They're, you're gonna find them. It was funny when I first, I was like, I just sounds is that one of the scales? ? It does sound like that. like the frisian. And so yeah it's, the cool thing about solfeggio tones is it's really hard to get.
A digital or a podcast or an ear forwardable sound bath. Find an acoustic sounding, moving instruments and a digital source is hard, but what we can do in digital sources very well is tune into one specific frequency. One hertz so 528 I think is my favorite right now. 792 being a pretty good one too.
And these might sound like random numbers, but when you hear them enough, when you play them on your Spotify enough, you start recognizing them. it's really, it's a nice, another easy, supportive way to put sound into your life. It's having those specific tone that sound good to you, playing in your space, even if you're not there.
Koko: You can even just to yourself. Self humming is probably the most active tool I share with people. Cause not only does it [00:31:00] feel good, none of us love the sound of our own voice, but if we have a tone that we like to hum, it's not because it sounds good. Because it feels good. That's your tone. So that's your tone.
You can do it whenever you want. If you're a little stuffed up, maybe it's a little different. , like you're gonna find your tone and you're going to actively use that as a soothing tool. You just practice that, and you can change your own frequency, your own vibration by bringing your tone in whatever you want.
Karen: are great tips. I also wanna just say for anybody who's interested in the solfaggio frequencies, cuz I got hooked on those, I love to meditate to them because they're just, there's something about them. They're so familiar in a way. Yeah. When you hear them I think I heard somebody say that the root of them is the music of the universe.
It's really, those are the original notes. Before we created notes, but there's just something about them, and they're all over YouTube. you can just like literally put your headsets on and just listen to them.
Koko: A fun rabbit hole to go down with that. Especially on YouTube.
Are cymatics, C Y M A T [00:32:00] I C s iac? Yeah, just Mac, like automatic c y. using like a physical metal plate either sand or rice on top. And they're playing these solfeggio through and all of a sudden it's just so it's like it's garbled up, almost like that black and white channel back when we had channels and then they hit the tone.
It'll snap to this mandala, this beautiful Almost chakra looking shape. So if we can do this to physical things with sound and we know we can do this to water with sound and you are full of water, like what do you think your cells are looking like during a
Robyn: Ooh, I love that
Wow. That is so we're getting our whole body to snap into these very sacred, geometric original truth vibrations.
Robyn: And I love that you brought up to the difference between experiencing a sound bath and healing live versus what you can do most of the time at home on your own.
Koko: And it's gonna be if you're at home alone, I [00:33:00] also suggest you use a Bluetooth speaker. You physically let it touch your body to also get into that replacement of a thing that you're missing when it's just in your ears. When its just your ear is very cerebral. You're actually just your cochlear to process it.
But if you could use the Bluetooth speakers that you're like a home theater , make sure it's pushing some air around you is, that's
Robyn: good. Yeah, because that is
Karen: the thing that I think everybody needs to remember is the sounds are incredible, but it's the vibration that really permeates you when you have the experience.
Robyn: How did you get into this ?
Karen: How did, how was your
Koko: I didn't love the academic learning system. I went to University of Tennessee twice, went to three different junior colleges.
I really tried to do college, but that version of life didn't really make sense to me. But going to multiple theaters and doing the the conservatory training programs and putting on sketch shows with people did that did interest me and Chicago is, one of the great [00:34:00] meccas of comedy with SCTV starting in Toronto, moving to Chicago and Second City kinda being birthed from that. It was always like, it was always fun to walk around in that reverence
I was very engaged and all of a sudden and that's how I also felt when, like, when I discovered meditation and yoga. I was like all of a sudden a very good student again. I was like, This is fun. I see the results. I feel the results. I just wanna keep doing it.
Robyn: You, I know you talked a bit about Kundalini yoga. Was there any of this from when you were younger, how did you get into this whole spiritual and sound healing world?
Koko: right around my 28th birthday. I remembered things I had been suppressing since I was about six. And , that was a little hard to process.
Robyn: Did that come through meditation? Like how did you
Koko: No, that came through. It just poured in everything. Just poured in years and years of removed memories just came back.
Around the 28th year in the masculine brain is when the frontal lobe connects. I think really it was just the [00:35:00] circuit finally connecting. Wow. But even these are the things I was hiding from myself. Were finally exposed. I didn't sleep for three or four days. Cause you're like, what is my reality?
Holy moly. Did this happen? Things get confirmed, things get denied. Trust and relationships start shifting. And I was lost. I didn't know what to do. And I found Pier Debar in Chicago, Illinois. It was a body worker, massage therapist, physical therapist.
But like at breathwork, meditation teacher And when I met him, he was like, you have four sessions. You can either get like massages or you can come and do the work you're supposed to do. And I was like, Whoa. I just got challenged by this, shoeless. Cause like in Chicago, no one's shoeless, so he's like over there shoeless. I've got challenged by okay. I was like, Yeah I'll do your silly meditation. And through that breathwork I figured out how to use all this energy that anger is not a bad emotion, but a very powerful emotion. And so it should be harnessed and focused but like all emotions, it shouldn't be tamped down.
And so I got to learn how to harness and ride and use energy through [00:36:00] breath thanks to Pierre Debar. And. That really opened up my eyes to that. I was numbing myself. I was shutting off, I was deflecting all those years of comedy and getting people to laugh or to make sure, I never cried.
If it got too quiet, I might get too serious. I might have to be truthful. So like even in those times of connection and improv and being open, I was unknowingly still shutting myself off. Now all of a sudden my comedy was not nearly as funny. Now I'm going through a self feeling journey. I'm going through a self reckoning thing of living about my own rules, how to be an adult in the world.
. even asked me in an improv scene one day, Are you just gonna live by your father's rules for the rest of your life? And in the front of a bar full of people. I just walked off the stage cause like it just struck me so hard. Yeah. I don't live by my own rules. I live by a set of rules that someone else set for me when I was a child to protect me, but not by the rules I set for myself.
And so like this step into meditation and seeing the physical connection between all living beings, even without the use of [00:37:00] psychedelics which I do think mushrooms have a really good use for helping people mentally. And I started feeling people's emotions versus projecting my emotions upon them.
And though because of the breath work and because I started seeing a little bit more, a friend of mine was like, You should try, Come to this yoga. And it was a little bit weirder. Everybody I expected an ohm at the beginning of class, but instead of an om it was on the name.
And I was like, Wait, all these people know this random new language. And so it was a little weird. I got into kundalini I loved it so much that I have to going. I started working at a yoga studio . Found my teacher who was a very cool, in a world of kundalini where people were wearing all white and turbans.
Lauren is wearing this shirt with a Perrier logo, but it says partier on it. , , That's amazing. Party A shirt. And she's just like very cool. And I have like very good taste of music, like hip and not just. It wasn't like anything else I had seen. And so I took her 150 hour training before I was a kundalini yoga teacher. I was already a certified soundologist [00:38:00] taking her three month training and then 10 more months of her letting me borrow instruments. But I finished my training with her. I had one tuning for. I was like, alright. And like literally finished the training the next weekend, went to a festival and was operating sound healing.
I've never gone to festivals my whole life. I've not interested in going to festivals, but all a sudden, even with just one little tool, I'm going up to strangers, talking to strangers, being like, Let me put this tuning fork on you. Just listen to how good this sounds.
I couldn't even do one for each year yet. I couldn't even put for, I was just so excited. I'll never, I'll probably never go to a festival again. I don't know how people go to those things. Cause it's just too
Robyn: much. It's too much, is that why that's too much energy?
Koko: Oh, much.
Karen: But what I, One thing that does strike me though, cause I have gone to those and it's overwhelming is that there is something tangible about what you do.
People can Right actually physically feel and experience. They don't have to try to go there. In their mind. It's
Robyn: right there. Right
Koko: there. When you play a somebody, you'll see [00:39:00] shoulders drop, you'll see people straighten up naturally.
Robyn: So then from there, how did you end up where you are now at Blackberry
Koko: Mountain? I'm not super sure.
Robyn . Go. I went from teaching weekly classes around LA doing a monthly class at a place called like the highest hour for this hotel paired with a dispensary. And they did a rooftop pool, sound bath, with weeds.
And I would meet these people who they're in their sixties, it's the first time they've ever done sound baths or marijuana. And I'm like, You're doing both the right way. Good job. And so I went from just doing sound bads around LA and still being bogging through the studio and doing events.
Cause in Los Angeles, everybody had three or four gigs, and. I heard this voice in meditation to move back, the voice that takes sound healing through the south. I opened my eyes and I was at this beautiful duplex and I was like, No. You're like, no,
Robyn: I like my life in la.
Koko: Sorry. Voice of God.
So I literally never heard a directive in a meditation, and I was like, [00:40:00] Nah. And when you tell the universe no, the universe kicks your butt. Yep. my land lady was like, I want my grandson to move in next month. You can stay if you want to. one of my big jobs are like, Hey, we're not doing it for like California anymore.
And so I was like, Oh, I'm supposed to move to Tennessee. And so it was after I did that, I run to the U-Haul and then I. Got a couple new followers on Instagram, that exact same day. At the time they were both a manager and director at Blackberry Farm, and I was like, Okay, that's interesting.
Let me reach out. Cause they, didn't say anything, but it was that day that , we started switch 'em back and forth, dm. And then next thing I know it's September 4th, 2018 and I'm I got a brand new gong that I I could not afford.
I had barely enough money for the down payment and I was like, I'll figure it out. But I took this over to Blackberry Farm and did a little sound bath and they just started talking about the future of Blackberry Mountain and I was like, Did I get the job? ? So it started out as being, I think three sound baths a week at 50 minutes.
Then we went up to 10 sound baths a week at an [00:41:00] hour and 15. Wow. Wow. And y'all, I'll be honest, I was for a year and a half to do that for full time was very exciting. But also I'd get home my two days off and would be able to maybe get laundry done. Yeah. I was doing just so many sound baths that I was just physically getting Dre.
I wasn't able to take care of myself. I've gone down to three days a week at the hotel. But they're still doing, still offering 10 sound baths a week. So to see that program.
Like what a wonderful place to practice
I feel very fortunate to have been able to really give a chunk of my my 10,000 hours really focused hyper focus on small groups, Yeah. I we're really learning. how big of a difference the nuance can make. Yeah.
Robyn: And also just your connection to spirit. I feel it, I know we're all connected through it, but I feel you're able to interpret and translate for yourself and as you said, you're feeling other people's energies.
I can feel that from you. Can you just talk about that for a moment and how that developed through [00:42:00] all this
Koko: work? Oh, yeah. So growing up here in Tennessee See, as soon as I got my license getting into the mountains, Was a 10 minute endeavor. Just get in your truck and you just drive up.
It's either a river site and just pull off the side of the road. Or maybe you go to a farmer's property, and swim in their pod. And there's just a lot of mountain time that I spent in my, teenage years. That's really where I, without realizing I was doing that is where I learned how to be quiet.
It's where I learned how to listen and notice the little tiny details. . So without even realizing I was practicing that I was practicing that language the rivers and streams before and meant to. So that was one of those secret gifts of growing up just in the south.
And then you also grew up in the south. You go to church, you grew up practicing. You grow up practicing, connecting to spirit. So that way when you do feel it, you're like, Oh, when it does click, you're like, Oh, this is what now I see what we were talking about. So I'm really glad I had that foundation, especially growing up and finding [00:43:00] community and finding out how important and strong community is, no matter what is bringing that community together.
When they do come together, it is always so powerful
it just makes that connection to a higher plane. It's a little easier. We really can do it together. I was even at a concert last year, and so it was like, are we messing up our alignment by listening to this music so loud? I was like, actually every single one of us is beating together.
it's almost as if we're creating a dome of electromagnetic field above us. So through vibration we can all connect to the same tune, the same frequency, and I feel like no matter what when it's not a frequency, not a message, when it's not a direction, there's no intention behind it other than just frequency, just getting on the same page.
That's what we're trying to do. That's what sounds, that's what connection does. Love that.
Karen: That's a great
Koko: way to put it. Yeah. And then I like to call 'em psychic gifts because we never know when we're gonna get 'em, right? we say that thing that maybe we're just, we think we're being quick and fun, but then someone looks at us, [00:44:00] they're like, Wait, how did you, who'd you do that from?
You're oh no. If I had heard that from someone, I wouldn't even dare said it. Joke. I saw being accidentally psychic. So being open to those quiet moments, those coincidences. , like
Koko: Synchronicities, Yes. Yep. I feel like there's another little glimpses of the universe and like a little sparkle.
It's a little twinkle. Yes. You're on the right path. You're on the right way. Good job. Keep it up. Yes. Those little connective links are also very helpful.
Robyn: Yes. Do you find that you have a lot of them?
Koko: My gosh. Yeah. ,
Robyn: I would think so. Because first of all, you're, I feel like clearing yourself all the time from an energetic perspective, and you're keeping yourself at these very clear frequencies.
Koko: Yes. I try to, And what's funny is I'll, I forget about them. I said all my time talking about them, teaching them, making sure people use them. And then, I'll go three or four days of me, like in a pretty just poor attitude. And I'll be like, Come sit with this gong that's across the room.
[00:45:00] even talking about the tools as often as I do I have I'm constantly practicing forgiving myself for forgetting to use this.
Robyn: What's the difference
Karen: between the gong and the singing bowls I know they sound different, but
Koko: the singing bowl so the gong and more metal instruments, how to make like a buoy sound.
It kind moves out. I wish I had better imagery for this. Oh like an expanding foam is how a lot of metal instruments will play and a bowl, especially the crystal bowls, as if the sound goes up and just starts swirling around the top of the room. It's almost as you, you can hear a locomotive.
Moving. And so it's that swirliness of the crystal bowls that at least for me will send me into an astral plane or out of body experiences very lifted and out. And so like when my teacher would have crystal bowls, I would actually put on each shoulder, it's almost like strap myself in.
Robyn: That's amazing. . I love that visual. That's
Koko: it's about the set setting, right? So it's not like I better [00:46:00] really make sure I stay locked in for this one. Because yeah, those I found the crystal bowls for me would really
Robyn: Yes. Now that you say that, I feel like that does happen to me.
And then what about the chimes then?
Koko: I like to say that they are more like they're here to open up the memory center. Of the brain. So the creator of these kochi chimes says that they're tuned to air, water, earth, and fire, which is like fine and everything.
But like the earth and the fire have some natural and flat notes and then the air and the water have more like open hold. So whether your grandma's backyard sounded or your grandma, your backyard sounded, hopefully at one point we can unlock some part some kind of memories that help.
True. Yes. What could we unlock that part of the brain? Now we're playing around them there. Like a
Karen: lullaby. You know how they had the lullaby music? It explains now why it would be so soothing.
Robyn: Cause it sounds very much like that.
Koko: Yeah. Especially in [00:47:00] whole notes, the open notes, you get natural resolve, Nothing is gonna ever sound discordant like that seventh interval we before it's all gonna be those more like fifth intervals, like a fifth harmony, that very popular band . Or even like a an eight. Like you have certain intervals that just sound very wholesome. And so the chimes are just either wholesome at the beginning and then usually minor keys at the end.
Karen: How long is a typical sound bath you get? Were you saying it's like an hour and a half session?
Koko: Yeah, usually an hour and a half is typical. But we've, I've length them and I've shortened. I recently, I did one with a living room with a family and they were just tucked in and so as the sound bath ended because it was 8 30, 9 o'clock at night.
I just kinda put on some still solfeggio tone. I packed all my instruments up they're cat Justin, goodbye. And then just slowly walked out the door. Oh my God. 30 minutes later they sent me a text so they were like out anything. So so sometimes you're just, you're trying to put people to sleep and just leaving them.
Wow. Sometimes if it's like a morning meditation, I'm [00:48:00] gonna want to get you up and maybe groove in and move in. And they even have little dance jam party at the end just to get you out of that slow, say Okay, you had your slowness. Let's get back up to ease.
Karen: Love it. Just one other question. When you do the Sound Bath itself, do you literally tune into the people in the room to let that guide you? What instrument to play and how long and what to do?
Koko: Or is I actively try not to? So one of the reasons I keep my hair in the top knot is to cover my sun center in the daytime on the top of my head to prevent too much energy from coming in, but also to pull in my antenna, to pull my antenna in.
That way I'm not receiving what I'm asking the room to relieve. Interesting. Ooh, that
Robyn: is good. And it's smart . Yeah. I'm so glad you asked that question and that you brought that up. I would never have thought to ask. I never. Had any idea that your hair on top of your head had that sort of meaning.
Koko: And then it's also let's get outta business. Let's work. Everything got outta the way. Let's get going. Now when I drive, I like to have my hair [00:49:00] down, like just to be a little bit more aware. But it's not like I'm not staying in tune with the people in the room. I'm still watching Bellies, Breeze.
. If people are twisting and moving, I might bring 'em an extra blanket. Extra padding. You never know. So I'm always watching the people another teacher. And I would call the babies when they're in the room, little babies and take care of our little baby . We
Robyn: become that though.
I, I believe that.
Koko: Yeah. So when the little babies are there, you're gonna watch how they breathe
Karen: wow. So what has been the best part of doing this work for you, Koko, on your spiritual journey?
Koko: The best part is, so I grew up in the south from Texas originally. So have this connection to this story of the Cherokee. So we moved, because like in Oklahoma and Texas, you have a lot of from the reservations now from Oklahoma And then when you get to Tennessee, you learn where are the trail of tears all started?
You learn more about the Civil War and as a kid I was like obsessed with these stories. I wanted to learn more. I couldn't learn enough about ' em. But really, what are you gonna do with that knowledge when you're not [00:50:00] an academic person? And then so all of a sudden I have this go that's about healing and letting go not only what is here physically now, but maybe what is residually sticking around from the path.
And all of a sudden I have this tool to go to the places where I know certain things have happened where people were pushed off their land or sacred land was diffused. And I get to go play. For those spaces. So coming back home to the south and being able to play for civil war battle sites and camp sites and go to fortresses and villages.
I have a friend who has Aon boat. So a lot of Tennessee Valley is flooded to make hydroelectric energy, which is great renewable resource, but a lot of those lands are now underwater. Taking that boat over those lands, playing those gongs and it's been really nice to be able to feel like, especially as a European white descendant person to be able to feel like I can come back and place a bit of sooth.
For that land. One goal, being able to then walk the trailer tears eventually with the gong So if I could walk from [00:51:00] Knoxville to Oklahoma a three month journey that's like the goal right now. So everything's kinda leading towards that. Everything's pushing towards being able to do.
This next year I'm branching out on my own. So I can do more focused private events. Take care of the community meeting people like Robyn.
I thank God I met you now.
Robyn: All on purpose.
Koko: I'm gonna start moving all over. I'm gonna start moving around.
Robyn: It's like the next evolution of your journey,
Robyn: Koko, this was Unbeliev. I'm so grateful that we did meet when we did. Gosh. And thank you for sharing your journey and all of your wisdom today, because I think that you've opened a lot of people's eyes to a resource they didn't even know was a resource.
Karen: And now they'll try because just understanding the basics that you've given us today.
It's like I have a different perspective on it as well.
Koko: Good. Awesome. And
Robyn: you really, and you gave everybody listening. Something that they can do as a daily practice, what they can listen to even at [00:52:00] home. And now they'll probably go seek out sound bathing and sound healing experiences.
Koko: local yoga studio should at least have one sound healer coming through a month. In general, but they'll, someone around has probably got a gong. . But you might find if it does, if it hurts your ears, you find someone else
Koko: We all have different teachers for what we need. . So if it's not for you the first time, give it two or try.
Robyn: We learned so much today. And you can follow Koko on Instagram at Koko t Bear, that's k o k o t b e a r. go follow him, see where he's gonna be next.
And we hope to have you on again. So thank you.
Karen: Fun. We've been laughing the whole time, which is always added value for us.
Koko: Pleasure. This is really nice.
. Thank you
Koko: Thank you for having me. I'll see all the rest of the
Okay, sounds, Bye. Bye.