This Article was originally published by Elisabeth Frausto of La Jolla Light
Jeny Dawson, a yoga instructor for more than 20 years, says people looking for unique gift ideas should “think outside the box.”
Dawson, founder and chief executive of Zen Soul Balance, invites people to give something that will help with healing and relaxation, which she says are greatly needed.
Zen Soul Balance is a mobile business that partners with various businesses and organizations around San Diego, primarily in the La Jolla area.
It specializes in therapeutic stretching and sound healing sessions, Dawson said.
“I do a lot of private sessions,” including special events, she said. Sessions can be in-home or at local studios.
One of Dawson’s specialties, deep or therapeutic stretching, is part of yin yoga, a form that focuses on connective tissues.
“We live in a society that’s constantly on the go,” she said. “And we live very overstimulated lifestyles. Very rarely do we give ourselves the space to slow down and feel more centered and balanced and grounded.”
Therapeutic activities like deep or functional stretching can exercise tissues of the body that often are overlooked during traditional exercise, Dawson said.
Dawson and her team promote flexibility and mobility and “a physiological response that helps to maintain and repair and increase tissue health,” she said.
“My mission is to help people find more of a balance in their lifestyle,” Dawson said.
She said people often don’t turn to this restorative style of yoga until they’ve been injured. But she hopes to get others to use therapeutic stretching and yin yoga as “a preventive, before you burn out or before you hurt yourself.”
Dawson’s other specialty, sound healing, is paired with therapeutic stretching or done on its own.
The practice — also known as a sound bath, sound meditation or sound therapy — uses a variety of instruments, such as crystal bowls, gongs, drums and chimes, to induce relaxation.
It is accessible for “anyone at any stage of life,” Dawson said, regardless of the person’s ability to do yoga, including pregnant women and people with physical impairments.
“It is a beautiful opportunity to slow down,” she said.
“We live very overstimulated lifestyles. Very rarely do we give ourselves the space to slow down and feel more centered and balanced and grounded.”
— Jeny Dawson, founder of Zen Soul Balance
During a sound healing session, participants lie down or are seated. “The goal is to make yourself as comfortable as you can be, as relaxed as you can be,” Dawson said.
“When you go to sleep at night, the body heals and repairs itself,” she said. A similar process happens in sound healing, she added.
“The body is so relaxed and it’s in that restorative state where it begins to heal itself from the inside,” Dawson said.
The body is invited into that state through the vibrations emitted by the instruments, she said. “You’re literally receiving an internal vibrational massage that helps to recalibrate the system.”
She said her goal is “to create a relaxing, safe space for people to unwind, to unplug from the outside world, all the chaos, all the noise, everything that’s happening … and to provide a space for people to tune in to that place of inner peace and calm.”
Both sound healing and therapeutic stretching are useful for releasing stress and anxiety, promoting better sleep and improving mood and energy levels, Dawson said.
Dawson founded Zen Soul Balance in 2017 and said she’s encouraged that sound healing and meditation are becoming more mainstream, with references in popular culture and use in corporate settings.
“People are trying to incorporate more health and wellness into their lifestyles,” she said.
She also launched a YouTube channel through which she releases a new video weekly on deep stretching, meditation or sound healing.
Though the videos don’t offer the same vibrational benefits as in-person sound healing, Dawson said the audio still helps “you return to that place where you can slow down the brain waves and help you find that meditative state.”