GREENWICH, Conn. -- For those looking to escape the stresses of daily life and find a sense of calmness, the Music and Meditation class at Greenwich Hospital may be able to help.
The classes are led by Amy Zabin, a music therapist with more than 30 years of experience. In each class, she uses crystal singing bowls, a flute, a guitar and guided imagery to calm people's minds and help them meditate and relax. She said the classes are designed to help anyone, from those who have never tried meditation to people who practice every day.
"It's an opportunity for patients, staff and community members to take a time out from life," she said.
From a young age, Zabin strove for a career in music therapy. When she was a young child, she lived in London, where her mother was a piano teacher who used music to help people with mental disabilities. Since junior high school, she knew she wanted to pursue a career as a music therapist. She said music and meditation are essential parts of healthy living.
"I think people have now started to realize it's one of the most integral things you can do. Studies show that even 20 minutes of meditation a week changes the way your brain functions," Zabin said.
She uses the music of her guitar and the sound of her voice to gradually lead class participants into deeper and deeper states of relaxation. Each crystal singing bowl emits different sounds, and attendees feel the vibrations within their body, which Zabin said has a relaxing feeling.
"We become more patterned, and less chaotic internally. Even days later, people feel an internal sense of calmness," she said.
Within minutes of starting the meditation, people begin to show the effects, she said.
"Their facial expressions soften, they look 10 years younger. When they walk out, you can see them walk with a whole different gait. They move more easily, like racehorses, every ounce of their being moving in synchronicity. Their spirits are enlivened and they're reading to greet the world."
The Music and Meditation classes are held Tuesdays from 12:30 to 1 p.m. in the hospital chapel. The classes are free, and no registration is required.