Sound Retreat with Pandit Shivkumar


Restore your vitality through pure sound

We all live our life thanks to a prodigious vehicle: our body. It is true that we

are also “thinking beings”, but in the end, what takes us here and there is our

body. Without it, we are simply not alive.

Different reasons can cause us to be dis-embodied to different degrees. We

may live too much in our head, always planning the future or dwell on the past.

Our head may be cluttered with thoughts and opinions about almost

everything and everyone, causing us a permanent mental overload. We may

also have a certain definition of who we should be in order to love ourselves

or be loved, shadowing our deepest luminous nature. Illness, separations,

deceptions... We carry our scars wherever we go.

This is all very human, but there is a problem here. Living in our head and

forgetting our body prevents us from looking reality in a fresh way: we are

NEVER here and now. This causes our vitality to be lost, thus opening the

door to lack of hope, illness, depression, disconnection from ourselves and


What are we made of?

Everyday, you take a shower or a bath. Well... if you don’t, you probably at

least brush your teeth to preserve a social circle! You remove the debris of a

previous meal from your mouth through a careful teeth brushing, because you

want to keep your teeth as long as possible.

But what about the stories that you have been storing since you were born,

and even before? Are you aware that they are damaging your body? You may

very well object: “Oh no, my body has nothing to do with it, it’s just in my


Well, the first thing you need to know is that those two are not separated:

what affects one – your mind – will automatically affect the other – your body.

And that works both ways. But that’s not all. There is a third element that

makes who you are, combining with your body and mind: energy.

This is our door.

What we call energy here is not an obscure new-age concept. It is so simple

to understand that you may never have thought about it. Energy is something

you manifest every day but that you never learnt to harness.

This source of energy is SOUND.

Pure sound of the body.

As a vibratory phenomenon, pure sound has the power to reorganize you.

Why? Because you are a vibratory phenomenon too! You may experience

your body as a solid and heavy unit and your concerns as ineradicable, but

this is not true. You can reshape who you are and access a much lighter way

to relate to life. And as strange as it may sound to you, you can do that trough

singing... certain sounds.

Finding the switch-off button for your thinking mind

Our Western culture is very much based on the written word, which means we

mainly learn through seeing and reading. But other cultures have developed

other ways to learn and teach, and especially to teach the body how to be

happy! Is this happiness not what we are all looking for?

Indian classical music is probably one of the most ancient and refined path to

awakening the body through sound. It has been created thousands of years

ago, and practiced successfully by millions of people since then. Beyond

whatever cultural dimension, the basic features of a human body are the

same everywhere on this planet. So why not you?

Here is how it works.

First, you need to open up to the idea that you can spend one day without

your phone. That could be challenging for many, but that’s feasible! In case

you forgot, the switch off button of that apparatus is usually somewhere on the

right upper side!

Then you will join a group of people for 1 day, 2 days, a week or more,

according to the chosen program. You can also choose to go through this

process on your own, in private retreats. You don’t need to know anything

special to participate: no need to be a singer, no need to be learned on the

subject, no diplomas are required. And if you think you can’t sing, that’s one

more reason to join!

Through the day, you are going to alternate periods of singing pure sounds in

group with deep rest. That kind of rest you never give to yourself. Singing and

resting. Somewhere during the day, there will be space for food too! The

repetition of pure sounds over long periods will take you to a higher vibratory

state where your thinking mind will not be able to rule you anymore: it will be

off. Now of course, you will be able to put it on again when we finish the

retreat, but something will happen in between...

You will sit. Just sit. Not sit and do something, like reading, day-dreaming or

meditating. Sit to tune yourself to your environment, in a very fine way. Tune

to being instead of doing. Tune to the pure presence within you. And through

sitting, you will discover the power of now that so many people are talking

about. Bringing the body to stillness will act as a potent mirror of your mind:

the quieter your body is, the more you will become aware of the dance of your

thoughts and get to understand how your mind works. Then only will you

become able to silence that noise

This is what we call a retreat.

Why? Because you withdraw from the usual noise of daily life. You grant

yourself an opportunity to stop all motion and connect to what is there, inside

you. Because most of us live in a very fast manner, we are often not aware of

what is happening inside, how we have been touched by others and the world.

We can accumulate actions, meetings and conversations without learning

anything from them, just because we always want more action.

Here, action is stopped. You are meeting yourself. “Hello! How are you doing?

What happened since the last time you stopped this perpetual motion called

“daily life”? And when was that again?” Maybe you can’t even remember.

Maybe you never stopped.

Who will guide your retreat?

At that stage, you probably noticed that we are not talking about sounds here.

We are talking about PURE SOUNDS. What is that and how can we enter the

domain of pure sound?

This is indeed a key question, as this work cannot be done without somebody

mastering the subject. This mastery comes through dedicating your life to that

subject, and this is what Pandit Shivkumar did. He will be leading.

Aged 9, he left his family in Goa, India, to receive the precious teachings of

his own music master in Bombay. For ten years, he stayed in his house to

learn the ancient science of sound. He then became an extraordinarily gifted

singer of North-Indian classical music in a style called khayal, an art that was

performed in the court of princes and kings. Touring everywhere on the globe

for many years, he then chose France to create his school of music and share

those ancient teachings with Westerners.

But wait... Are we talking about an Indian classical music workshop here?

Not at all. You know when somebody strikes a chord in you, you say “I have

been touched”. This is what Pandit Shivkumar does with his voice: touching

the places that need tuning in you, awakening and clearing the now

unnecessary memories. In many ways, it is similar to a shamanic process

through pure sounds.

What can you reasonably expect?

When people read the word “healing”, it immediately raises big expectations.

And that’s fine, but we need to talk here. What kind of healing are we talking


To understand that, we must make a little detour and agree on what illness is.

In traditional medicines, it is said that illnesses have a root cause which is not

physical. Combined with secondary causes (a stressful lifestyle for example),

they give birth to the physical problem.

For example in Ayurveda, the thousand years old Indian medicine, there are only three root causes, and they are called anger/aggression, attachment/desire and ignorance/confusion.

It means that you can deal with the disease or problem on the apparent,

physical level, but that if you do not treat the root cause, your healing is not

likely to be as profound as it could be.

Sound/energy is working on that deeper, hidden level.

When we talk about attachment as a source of worry, we are not saying that

human beings should not create bonds with others: bonding is what makes

our life so valuable! But when we cannot turn the page and start a new

chapter of our life, when we remain glued to the past, it is urgent to detach.

And this is the core of what pure sounds can do: teach you when to attach,

when to detach, and with whom.

Because pure sounds circulate everywhere in your body/mind, they will loosen

emotional tensions and release old patterns, outdated beliefs, undigested life

stories and emotions. This will not happen through telling your story, which

almost always leads to reinforcing your false personality. It will happen

through singing those pure sounds again and again. Detoxing from

unnecessary memories will help you achieve this fine tuning, and you will be

shown where the tuning button is!

And yes, you will be moved. You may cry like a baby, laugh like you have

never laughed before and probably both at the same time! You may feel like

screaming, dancing, embracing yourself or the entire world. You are likely to

suddenly understand something about a situation of your life, decide to start

or end a relationship, just because you are now in touch with your inner

wisdom - a sophisticated name for “gut feeling”! What usually seems so

crucial, to the point of draining your vitality and happiness, will find its right

place on the shelf. Waving goodbye both to the permanent drama, the

endless chewing of old memories, and to indifference as a refuge. Finding


You won’t have to explain what is happening to you, you will just be invited to

let it go. No judgment or analysis here. We are just reconnecting to our

primary, spontaneous, happy and free nature!

And then, what?

Everybody has accumulated a tremendous amount of suffering in his or her

life. Those memories can take many forms and sometimes, they are not even

identified as such. This pain is both something that we inherit – what we call

trans-generational issues, inherited from our ancestors – and something that

we create, by the way we look at things.

Of course suffering is part of a human life, but what if we could get used to

more happiness?

And here, happiness has nothing to do with flying away or getting “high”: it’s

about feeling good in our body on a daily basis. Targeting super powers is not

the point, but rather updating our body to the endless joy of being simple.

Nathalie Bentolila - Singer, singing and yoga teacher

September 2021

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