Yoga Teacher Harnesses the Power of Sound
Jul 31, 2019 07:52PM
By Sheila Julson
Throughout millennia, music has had the power to soothe the body and soul. Rosie Rain, of Sacred Sound Yoga, has long recognized those effects of music, and today she deftly weaves music into her yoga teachings, energy work and holistic memory-care services.
Rain comes from a musical family. Her mother is local singer-songwriter Peggy James, who played throughout Milwaukee’s music scene during the 1990s and is still recording today. Her father and grandparents were also musicians. As a youth, Rain learned to play piano and has since added percussion instruments, accordion, mountain dulcimer and other instruments to her repertoire. “Music goes straight through me and really touches me more than any other way of communication,” she enthuses.
As a teen during the early 1990s, Rain adapted lifestyle practices like vegetarianism, crystal healing, herbs, oils and meditation before many of her peers had even heard of these things. She discovered yoga during her college years as a student at UW-Milwaukee.
“I have an extra vertebrae, and I was told my only options were surgery or a back brace. But it was synchronistic because, at that same time, UW-Milwaukee offered a yoga class, and to this day it is still one of my favorite yoga classes that I’ve taken. It was detailed, and I had an excellent instructor,” she recalls.
Through that class, Rain learned to create a perfect balance within body symmetry through yoga. She eventually healed her scoliosis, and from then on she practiced yoga every day. Some of her current teachings are designed to help people with scoliosis and back tension.
Throughout adulthood, Rain traveled and lived in Taos, New Mexico, where she owned a vegetarian café. When she returned to Milwaukee in 2006, she began teaching yoga with music through workshops at fitness clubs and studios throughout the city. She also taught music-accompanied yoga to trauma victims and memory-care patients. This past October, she moved into a permanent studio in Shorewood and opened Sacred Sound Yoga, where her instruments—including a custom-made drum given to her by her father for her 16th birthday—are as much a part of her teachings as the yogic practices.
Rain incorporates music into all of the classes, but especially kundalini, a form of yoga that blends movement, breathing techniques, meditation and chanting of mantras. Rain sets up students with a three-minute exercise, makes sure they are doing them correctly, and then she’ll go to the piano and play. “I’m inspired by New Age pianist George Winston, so I play a lot like him. I’ll do meditative music and sing mantras to match up the energy of the meditation with the mantra so they fit together.”
Rain credits her reiki training as influential in developing intuition to create intimate mantras and meditations. “I also consider what the students are going through. I’ll ask students how they’re feeling and what they’re seeking,” she notes. “If some say ‘I want to open my heart,’ we’ll focus on opening the heart chakra.”
Rain also incorporates gong healing into savasana, the relaxation at the end of every yoga session. “Gong vibrations have thousands of healing benefits and it works on all levels, primarily healing the nervous system and clearing the subconscious mind,” she says. While music can be relaxing on an energetic level, Rain explains that it also releases arthritic tension, and she says research shows that balanced sound frequencies can help reduce tumors. “In my experience, I don’t think there are any limitations to what sound can do.”
Rain also works with the dementia population. “Dementia patients are very nervous, especially when they’re not in a familiar environment. My specialty is to help the most anxious or troubled people by sitting at the piano with them and singing, or drumming or doing art. It’s such a great thing to get to know people and know what music they love.”
In addition, Rain teaches yoga and meditation at HarborChase of Shorewood assisted living and memory care center, and she offers private nature yoga sessions. She also hosts a monthly women’s gathering to help participants restore balance and mindfulness.
“I love introducing people to yoga. My passion is teaching beginners—I love seeing how people’s lives change. It brightens my whole day to see people so happy to find yoga, and I want everyone to know they’re welcome,” she concludes.
Sacred Sound Yoga is located at 3805 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood. For more information, call 414-403-2053 or visit SacredSoundYoga.org.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings.