True Gong Love: 5 Countries, 3 Weeks
I am writing this on the day after completing a 21-day Gong Training tour of Europe with my wife.
We met the most amazing gong friends, students and gong makers in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and England. It was a whirlwind of mallets, teaching, yoga studios, and friends, all accompanied by a continual sound and re-sound of over one hundred gongs as we traveled through time and space.
It all began in Germany where we traveled to make our own gongs in Broder Oetken’s “Metal Into Sound” gong-making workshop. With gong lovers from all over the world, we labored mightily under the supervision of Broder who helped us hammer, design and fashion our own personal gongs.
The 12-hour first day was made sweeter with a delicious lunch made by his wife Ines, followed up by intermittently playing the amazing gongs in Broder’s new studio sound room. If you have not heard a 40” Water Gong, well…..
The end result of day two, after polishing and waxing, was a heart-shaped gong made by my wife and what was graciously called a “fantasy gong” made by me. Oh, and of course we had to buy some of his gongs as well.
That night, we were off to Norway for the Gong and Aliveness Festival that was produced by Tor Arne and the Gong On The Way organization. While teaching a 3-day Gong Therapy course there, we were excited to meet gong maker Martin Blasé of Germany who brought his massive new gong creations for us to see and play.
A highlight was Martin’s daily talks on how he makes his gongs and his unique philosophy on the nature of sound. He also brought many “sound toys” such as a singing bowl made from Tantalum, the scarcest metal in the solar system, that has a sound sustain that must have lasted into next week.
On Summer Solstice, we traveled farther into Norway to the sweet Pax Kundalini Yoga studio of Bard Huseby and Nina who graciously hosted us for an intense day of Kundalini Gong Rebirthing.
The next morning it was off to London for what I think is my fifth visit to teach all things Gong. Saturday and Sunday was my intro How To Play the Gong course at Sat Shakti’s JOY Kundalini Yoga Studio. What do you get when you put 40 people and 20 gongs into a room in downtown London and play them all at once? More sound than the Human Mind can process.
Sunday night we left 40 recent gong graduates and flew on to Sweden for a 5-day Planetary Gong Therapy retreat held by Karin Gibson at the Nyhyttan Resort. It was – well – cosmic.
Ten planetary gongs in a beautiful Swedish summer setting of wildflowers and lakes. Only about two hours of night at this time of the year, but who wanted to sleep?
Then into a car for a road trip to Stockholm for an Advanced Gong Practitioner training at the beautiful Varmdo Yoga Studio on the Gustavsberg harbor. Long-time yoga teacher and studio owner Helene Fernstrorm made us feel very welcome.
We had the chance to put together 16 gong stands the morning of the course (delivery was delayed) and then gave a basic course in gong playing, followed by two days of advanced playing practices for students in Stockholm and all over Europe. This is one of my favorite places to play the Gong, and we are making plans for a Gong Therapy course there next year, and more.
The next morning it was off to Denmark where we would teach the Gong Yoga Nidra training for the first time in Europe in Askeby on an island retreat center. Tina Marie Stahl put this one together, her first retreat and it was very well done. Students from Asia, South America, North America, and Europe attended and by the fourth student Gong Nidra presentation, we were all Gong Jelly.
It was a lot of fun also teaching these more experienced students a one-day workshop focusing on advanced mallet techniques. As I always say, I would rather have three mallets and one gong instead of three gongs and one mallet. We learned a lot from each other and celebrated with a mallet raffle at the end of the day.
The other highlight for me in Denmark was a visit to the training by master Gong Maker Rolf Nitsch from Gongland in Germany. He brought several of his giant gongs and also a sneak preview of his new planetary gong line, with a prototype of a Jupiter Gong that is unlike any gong I have ever played. The studio was filled with his gongs as he described his approach to gong-making, with stories of making gongs since the 1960s.
I was tempted to buy more of his gongs (I already have three) but others faster than me made up their minds and bought them up. Dark Water Gong, someday you will be mine!
The road was calling us, and we headed out to the airport for our second flight back to London to finish our tour with a two-day Kundalini Yoga and the Gong training course for the Kundalini Yoga teachers from England, Europe, New Zealand, and the US.
Only 18 gongs and 36 gong players (!) in the cozy JOY Yoga studio this time, but my friend from Brazil and the UK, Martin brought a nice collection of singing bowls that sucked up any remaining space for our concert Saturday night.
Playing the gongs with breath of fire, stretch pose, and mantras for two days was the peak of three weeks of continuous teaching and playing. Who needs a day off when there is a new gong waiting down the road?
Still in vibration, we got out of London before sunrise this morning, and on our way back to America where more gong players and gongs are needed than ever before.
But we will return to Europe next summer – and in fact September is for Spain!
Come join us?