Music has been a formative part of my daily life from the day I was born. I spent long hours practicing piano and flute, and by night, I loved to hear the sound of my parents gathering friends for a singalong, or playing banjo-piano duets late into the night.
A sense of the power of sound stayed with me as I grew older. Often I felt as if I was being led to use sound, vibration and song to create a healing environment. My own childhood included a backdrop of bullying and constant criticism, but this had a surprising effect; I developed a kind of immunity to that inner voice that says “No you can’t”. I talked my startled parents into taking me each week to a hospital, where I played guitar and sang to children who were suffering from injuries or life-threatening diseases. I could see in their faces that sound, vibration and music had a distinct power to soothe, nurture and heal.
Barely out of my teens, I got a job as activity coordinator in a local nursing home. I noticed that even the most agitated residents could be engaged and transformed, by playing music in relationship to their breathing. They would settle down and sink peacefully into a much-needed deep sleep. . I also noticed a profound letting-go of tension and stress in myself. One Saturday night, on the other hand, a polka band got them moving and the years fell away – they rose up and danced, even some we didn’t know could walk!
The right sound, phrase music, at the right time, is a gift from God that connects you deeply to your true self and to the source of your breath, where everything softens as you let go of tensions and resistance that are impeding the healing process. I experienced something similar myself when my mother took me to a transcendental meditation class in my teens, and then, several years later, through the powerful practices and teachings of Sivananda Yoga. I gained a classical training in music, but this was just a means to an end; what really interested me was the journey through sound and vibration that soothes connects and heals. I joined the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP) and became a Certified Music Practitioner, connecting with a body of theory and knowledge that validated my experiences. I’m employed by The University of Michigan, bringing bedside music to patients undergoing treatment at University Medicine.
Jyoti (Jody Tull) is a certified therapeutic yoga instructor and Certified Music Practitioner who combines the healing power of music with the ancient healing power of yoga. She received her Master’s Degree in Music Education from Columbia University, and has 20+ years of international therapeutic music making and yoga teaching. Her compositions have been performed by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. She leads retreats and Finding Your Voice workshops in Europe, India, the Bahamas, Canada and the United States.