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An illustration of a transparent humanoid figure relaxing as sound bowls and waves of sound surround it and enter its ears
(Carlos Miranda / For The Times)

L.A.’s magical sound bath scene has something for everyone. Here are 11 of our favorites

It’s 8 o’clock on a Saturday night and I’m standing in my pajamas on the third floor of a nondescript office building in Beverly Hills waiting for a man dressed in white to clear my energy with sage. Behind me, two women clutch fleece blankets and giggle nervously. “I feel like I’m going to an adult sleepover,” one of them says.

But this is no sleepover. We’re about to walk into one of the many sound baths L.A. has to offer. Once a fringe practice more likely to be found in a conference room at the Conscious Life Expo, sound baths have vibrated into the mainstream in recent years, popping up in yoga and meditation studios, public gardens, churches, beaches and even the occasional BDSM dungeon.

“When I started in 2003 there were hardly any sound baths in L.A.,” said Jamie Bechtold, a veteran practitioner and co-founder of the Soundbath Center in Eagle Rock, where she offers six to eight sound baths weekly. “Now every time I turn around, I see another one.”

With this proliferation has come many interpretations of the practice. At baseline, a sound bath is a roughly hourlong experience where participants lie down while listening to relaxing music. In practice, that music is whatever combination of crystal bowls, gongs, chimes, ocean drums and other drone-y instruments meet a practitioner’s fancy. I’ve attended sound baths that featured electric guitars and synthesizers. A friend recently went to what was advertised as a sound bath but was actually an experimental jazz performance where attendees lay on the floor and microdosed magic mushrooms.


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The origins of these sonic experiences are equally murky. Religions and cultures throughout human history have made use of the power of sound, but contemporary sound baths trace their beginning to the late 20th century and the early days of new-age music (think: Deuter and Iasos). The crystal bowls that have become synonymous with the experience first came on the market in the 1980s.

“Sound baths are really a new cultural form, an invention that draws on all kinds of threads,” said Elisa Sobo, a medical anthropologist at San Diego State University who has been researching the phenomenon for the past few years. “It’s a mess if you try to unpack its roots.”

No one can say for sure when the first official sound bath took place, but the practice became better known after Huell Howser highlighted sound baths held at the Integratron in the Mojave Desert on his PBS show “California’s Gold” in 2001.

“It has grown exponentially since then across the U.S. and worldwide,” Bechtold said. “But Southern California is really the hub.”


As the number of sound baths in the Los Angeles area continues to grow, you’ll find a wide variety to choose from depending on the experience you’re seeking. Some embrace spirituality, inviting you to call in your angels and realign your chakras. Others are careful to create a secular space: no Buddhas, crystals, or incense — just you, your mat and the sound.

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June 7, 2023

To help you navigate L.A.’s sprawling sound bath scene, we’ve assembled a list of some of our favorites that occur regularly and take place in locations both spectacular and simple. They include a contemplative four-hour mini-retreat at the ornate grounds of the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens, an energetic session on a seaside cliff in Malibu and a former time machine in the Mojave Desert.

No matter which you select, know that all that will be expected of you is to show up, lie down and let the sound carry you away.

— Deborah Netburn

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People lie or sit on mats under a fabric-swagged ceiling in a white-walled room
(Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

For the intermediate crystal charger: Anahata Holistic Healing

Beverly Hills Soundbath
The two public sound baths that reiki master, ascension teacher, Kundalini yoga instructor and sound healer Shehera Barnes offers each month are lunar-dependent: one on the new moon and one on the full moon. Where she holds them changes from session to session (they are usually in-person and occasionally online). In fact, she only sends the exact address of her in-person sound baths after you purchase tickets. But she has returned many times to the space I visited this spring, a room in an office building in Beverly Hills draped in white fabric. It’s dotted with hanging lanterns, low sofas and straw baskets piled high with blankets and mats spread out on the carpeted floor. Barnes describes it as “a beautiful cocoon.”

The night I attended, we were greeted at the door by her partner, Taylor Barnes, who sometimes assists her with the sound bath. He offered each of us a hug and then cleared our energy with sage. Before the sound bath began, Shehera described the astrology of the current moment and then led an eight-minute seated meditation where we imagined lasers shooting out of our heads and down through our root chakras into the Earth.

Shehera’s introductory talk touched on light beings, astral realms and ascended masters. But even if that’s not your thing, you’ll still enjoy the luxurious ambient concert that follows. There were crystal bowls, gongs, chimes, a rain drum and some very impressive didgeridoo playing by Taylor. (I peeked and saw him standing in the center of the room, swirling the instrument over our bodies.) At the end of the evening they offered tea, dates and chocolate — a satisfying end to a beautiful night.

Because Barnes’ sound bath location changes constantly, it’s best to check her website or Instagram for dates and locations.

Price: In-person: $44; virtual: $25.
A woman stands on an outdoor stage addressing people sitting on yoga mats
(Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

For the Burning Man devotee: Ana Netanel

Malibu Soundbath
This most magical of sound baths takes place on a grassy clearing high in the Santa Monica Mountains, with broad views of the glimmering blue Pacific below. A towering sculpture of a seated figure with a heart cut out of its torso looms over the space, and a harp player with flowers in her hair plucks at her instrument while attendees set up their mats, pillows, blankets and sleeping bags so they’ll be comfortable and warm amid the ocean breeze.

Sound bath practitioners often begin with a quiet talk about the healing frequencies of the instruments. Ana Netanel, who has 20 years of experience studying, teaching and guiding sound healing, takes a different approach. On the day I went, she stood on a low stage dwarfed by the open-hearted sculpture and shouted joyfully into a microphone for us to set powerful intentions on this new moon. “See it! Believe it! Receive it!” she cried. “Big blessings! Big miracles! Miracles upon miracles upon miracles!” The energy was somewhere between a new-age revival and a concert. It felt fun and refreshing.

Netanel, who leads sound baths in this space every Sunday (weather permitting), was supported by a team of sound healers she calls the High-Vibe Tribe and Michael Whitehorse, a Native American elder and member of the Tongva nation, who welcomed us to his ancestors’ land and played a wooden flute over our heads. It’s a quintessential L.A. experience with a crowd to match — but keep in mind that unless you buy VIP tickets, your back will have to endure lying on the ground for an hour and a half. Free parking is available on site and I advise loading up on sunscreen and bringing an eye mask to block out the sun. Tickets are available on Netanel’s Eventbrite page. The exact address will be sent to you after you book a spot. If you purchase a general admission ticket, you’re responsible for bringing your own yoga mat and pillow.

Price: $45 to $55, depending on how far in advance you book; $111 for VIP tickets that give you access to special decompression cushions with pillows and blankets, which also offer the best views of the ocean.
Blue mats with purple towels laid out in an ornate room with labyrinth designs on the floor
(Alyssa Bereznak / Los Angeles Times)

For the percussion nerd: Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens

Jefferson Park Soundbath
The moment I stepped out of my car and onto the lush grounds of the Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens, I felt a sense of calm. There was no meter to feed. I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to do for dinner. All that was asked of me was to ascend the stone staircase of an ornate 1900s mansion built by Italian winemaker Secundo Guasti and forget about the rest of the world for an evening.

Because that’s easier said than done, the staff of PAL&G have made their sound baths a four-hour experience — essentially a mini-retreat. It begins at 5:45 p.m. with dinner at a communal table with other participants, during which meditation instructor and “soundscape artist” Paul Kaye hovers around, offering tidbits about the history of the architectural wonder that is the center. (The evening I visited, dinner was plentiful, if lightly seasoned, and included iced hibiscus tea and chocolate cake.) If you arrive on time, you can wander out back and give the center’s Chartres Cathedral-inspired stone labyrinth a spin while there’s still daylight.

The sound bath itself begins a little past 7 p.m. and takes place beneath the painted ceilings and chandeliers of the building’s impressive bottom floor. Each attendee is provided with a mat laid over a cloth re-creation of the center’s labyrinth, and two plush purple blankets. The session began with Kaye — who is also president of the Movement for Spiritual Inner Awareness, the organization that owns the center — sharing a handful of thoughtful quotes about the power of sound and silence, as well as his hope that the sound bath would be a chance to relax and reflect.

“This is a sound journey,” he said. “Where are you going? To meet yourself.”

Soon he was sculpting the air above us with his arsenal of instruments, including brass bowls, rain shakers, drums, gongs and Tingsha cymbals. Over the next two hours, Kaye played with long pauses of silence, interrupting with the occasional chime or bell, before launching into a full percussive chorus. Occasionally he’d drift above the crowd, hovering large crystal singing pyramids over our heads to intensify the vibrations. Two hours is a long time to lie on the ground with only your mind as company, and it challenged me to reach for a new meditative plane. But it was not uncommon for attendees to get up to stretch or use the bathroom. If you have back or neck problems, I highly recommend bringing cushions to ensure you’re comfortable on the center’s hard marble floors.

When it was finally time to rouse from our resting pose, Kaye played a “Planet Earth”-esque supercut of animals in nature to remind us of the good in the world. To my surprise, I found myself weeping.

The evening wraps up around 9:15 with cookies and tea at the same communal table where everyone had dinner. By then, the slight stiffness that comes with spending time with strangers loosened. We now had a shared experience to bring us together.

Price: $50, which includes parking, dinner and refreshments.
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A woman under purplish light holds up a pyramidal object.
(Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

For the spiritual agnostic: Unplug Meditation

At Unplug Meditation in West L.A., the mats are thickly padded and adjustable (think lounge chair but in pad form). Pillows are provided and sound baths are offered twice daily — at lunchtime and in the evening. If you want a consistent, relaxing sonic practice with no spiritual trappings, this is the place for you.

Finding the studio is easy: Just look for the giant floral peace sign in front of an otherwise nondescript office building on Wilshire Boulevard. Walk in through the verdant courtyard and to your left you’ll see what looks like a modern yoga studio with smooth laminate floors and crisp white walls — no Buddhas or incense in sight. When I went on a recent Wednesday afternoon, 17 people showed up, roughly half of them regulars. The meditation room, which glows purple thanks to special gels on the overhead lights, can hold about 45 people. Be prepared to relinquish your cellphone before you enter. You can pick it up at the front desk on your way out.

The 45-minute sound bath I attended, led by sound healer Heather Nevell, was shorter than your average plunge, but when it was over I felt relaxed and refreshed, like I’d woken from the perfect midday nap. Unplug Meditation offers unlimited classes for $150 a month, and as I looked around the room I wondered what it might be like to submerge oneself in sound multiple times a week. (Nice life if you can get it!)

I had no trouble finding street parking, but there are also parking spots behind the studio for $3 with validation — cash only. Reservations are recommended. (You can’t reserve a single class online, so it’s best to call ahead.) The lunchtime classes, which run 1 to 1:45 p.m. on weekdays, tend to be less full than the evening classes, which start at 7 or 7:15 depending on the day.

Price: $33 per class.
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A woman sits in front of a white tent under a tree
(Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

For the community seeker: Blessed and Abundant Healing

Manhattan Beach Soundbath
Tesha Smith of Blessed and Abundant Healing has been leading sound baths and breathwork classes at the storied Bruce’s Beach park for three years now. Her perch overlooking the ocean in Manhattan Beach is easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for: a small white lace tepee topped with fake pink roses, and a set of neon crystal bowls.

On a recent Wednesday she was wrapping up with two breathwork students just as I arrived for a sound bath at 12:30 p.m. The weather was cool and drizzly, not necessarily ideal for the activity at hand, but we managed to stay dry thanks to the canopy of leaves above us. We began by pulling cards from an inspirational deck and setting an intention. (Mine was to be less scattered.) Then she led a brief meditation before she turned to her instruments, which included crystal bowls, an ocean drum, a rainstick, a shamanic drum and koshi chimes.

Lying beneath the trees listening to the waves crash in the distance was lovely, but Smith’s sound bath is special because she holds space for dialogue and connection among participants. Before you begin, she’ll both ask how you’re feeling and tell you how she’s feeling. She picks an intention card with you and describes how it relates to her life. This personal sharing is deliberate. “I want it to be an interactive community-building experience,” said Smith, who also teaches Tai Chi, yoga and offers art therapy for private and corporate clients across the city. “You never know what people are going through, and when I share, it encourages other people to share too.”

Smith offers sound baths four days a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. She’ll send you very specific instructions on where to park and how to find her location after you reserve a spot. You can book a session on her website or through her Eventbrite page.

Price: A one-hour Qi-Gong and sound bath costs $33; a VIP pass costs an extra $5 and comes with a chakra card reading and a gift bag containing a selenite crystal and a palo santo stick.
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A woman stands in front of a wall of gongs with singing bowls before her
(The Soundbath Center)

For the introvert: The Soundbath Center

Eagle Rock Soundbath
Like many an L.A. gem, the Soundbath Center in Eagle Rock is tucked in a cluster of businesses on a busy road without so much as a sign to identify it. But what this studio lacks in outward appearances, it makes up for in intensity. Co-owner and founder Jamie Bechtold’s sessions are unique in their incorporation of both crystal bowls and a wall of German-made gongs, which she says help participants enhance their connection to their body.

“The gong is necessary to really have that deep, inward experience,” she said. “To help drive you away from that external world attention.” Given the studio’s relatively small square footage, the instruments quite literally vibrate through your body, creating a relaxing corporeal sensation.

On top of the gongs’ profound effects, the nine-year-old Soundbath Center offers intimately sized sessions, limited to a maximum of 10 attendees. The evening I visited, I was joined by just one other person. After introducing ourselves and taking turns shaking rain sticks over each other’s upper body, we lay on the provided mats and slipped on our complimentary face masks. Bechtold eased us into a more relaxed mind-set with a simple breathing exercise, then began to play. For the next 90 minutes, I was lost somewhere deep in my mind as the sound of the gongs poured over me. As the session ended, my body felt looser, my mind more present. I looked around, sipping on my complimentary bottle of water, and suddenly noticed all the enormous glittering crystals displayed along the walls of the studio. (They’re sourced by Bechtold’s partner in business and life, Robert Lee.)

Bechtold’s arms are noticeably toned for a reason. The Soundbath Center offers four to eight public sound baths a week, usually between Thursday and Sunday. They range from gong-heavy sessions like the one I attended to another called Thetabeats, which layers recorded sounds with live gongs, shamanic drumming and crystal bowls. Whichever you try, the center’s close quarters and bold instrumental approach will lead you to a more contemplative state.

A few tips: If you run cold, dress warm. Street parking on Eagle Rock Boulevard can be difficult, so consider trying a nearby side street.

Price: $65 to $75 per session.
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Two people dressed in white hold their hands in a prayer position as they sit cross-legged on the floor next to a gong
(Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

For the spiritually curious: The Rafi Lounge

Malibu Soundbath
On the third floor of a building across from SoHo House in Malibu, you’ll find Rafi Lounge — part co-working space, part wellness studio — founded 3½ years ago by Rafi Anteby, an Israeli army officer turned kung fu teacher turned creative entrepreneur. Members of the lounge are invited to work from the Bali-inspired rooftop deck, which is outfitted with straw cabanas, low white couches, Buddhas and plenty of potted plants. They also can jump into a meditation or fitness class as their schedule allows.

On Friday evenings at 5:30 the lounge offers a sunset sound bath-and-reiki combo for members and nonmembers alike. When the weather allows, it’s held outside in the “crystal vortex garden” — where an assortment of enormous crystals are arranged like sculptures. The day I went it was too chilly to be outdoors, so sound healer Niaz Parvaresh set up her bowls, drums, gongs and other instruments in a candlelit mandala room that led out to a mesh enclosure where live butterflies flitted around. She was accompanied by Karen Bruno, a reiki practitioner, who made her way quietly from mat to mat kneeling and sending energy through her hands to individuals throughout the sound bath.

Before we lay down on our mats, Anteby shared a brief spiritual talk inspired by the weekly Torah portion that included perspectives gleaned from Buddhism, Taoism and other wisdom traditions he’s studied over his eventful life. Although the talk was based on a sacred Jewish text, his message about the importance of taking time to rest and recuperate was accessible to anyone who happened to be there, regardless of their beliefs. “There’s not just one path to God or enlightenment,” he told me later.

Afterward, you may be invited to a Shabbat celebration presided over by Anteby that includes candle lighting and challah. The lounge hosts the gathering every few weeks. You can purchase tickets for the hourlong sound bath on the Rafi Lounge website.

Price: $36 for nonmembers. Blankets and mats included.
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A woman kneels with an ocean drm next to people lying on mats on the floor
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

For the experience hunter: Sound Bird Healing at Shatto Chapel

Koreatown Soundbath
Once a month, sound healer Adrienne Bawa and her rotating team of sound practitioners take over the beautiful neo-Gothic Shatto Chapel at the First Congregational Church in Koreatown, transforming it into a twinkling, iridescent setting for the sound bath of your dreams.

This is one of the most visually and sonically dazzling sound baths in L.A. With its graceful stone pillars, vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows, the intimate chapel was built in 1931 with the intention of evoking awe and wonder. Like many churches, it also serves as a natural amplifier, enhancing reverb by providing multiple surfaces for sound to bounce off. “They didn’t have PA systems centuries ago, so they worked with the architecture,” Bawa explains.

Before the event begins, the team drapes the space in an assortment of fabrics and adds dramatic lighting to make the space feel less like a traditional church and more like a cosmic sanctuary. The scent of sage hangs in the air and it can be hard to resist taking selfies.

Bawa’s team includes a harpist and at least half a dozen other practitioners who arrange themselves around the room with crystal bowls, gongs, chimes and ocean drums. When I went, organist Cristoph Bull was there, playing the organ embedded in the chapel — a rare instrumental accompaniment for a sound bath.

Parking is free and easy in the church’s abundant lots. You can find dates and ticket information on Bawa’s website.

Price: Tickets start at $44 for chair seating. A spot on the ground is $55 if you bring your own mat and pillow. For $77 you can buy a VIP ticket that includes a yoga mat, plush blanket, eye mask and pillow. (The VIP ticket price goes up to $88 if you buy it less than a week in advance.)
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People sit cross-legged on round mats in a dark room illuminated with electric candles.
(Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

For the meditation novice: The Calming Spot

Santa Monica Soundbath
Sound baths are offered daily at the Calming Spot, a small space at the bottom of a mixed-use building on 6th Street in Santa Monica. It might take your eyes a moment to adjust to the dim light, but the scene will take your breath away. Round mats depicting the signs of the zodiac and dozens of electric candles are spread across the floor of the dark studio. Stepping into the room, I felt like I was floating in space.

You don’t need to bring anything with you to this sound bath: Pillows and blankets are arranged neatly on the mats, and the room is so dark there is no need for an eye mask. On a recent Tuesday evening there were eight other people in the room (the space can hold 23). Sara Sofia Bousiali, who founded the Calming Spot in 2022 with her husband, TR Gourley, said Mondays and Tuesdays are generally the quieter days. Weekend sound baths often sell out and it’s best to make a reservation ahead of time on the website. There’s free two-hour street parking outside the studio.

The actual sound bath was a departure from most you’ll find in L.A. Bousiali played the usual crystal bowls, gongs, chimes and ocean drum, but prerecorded music played over a speaker system the entire time, and I couldn’t always hear her instruments over it. She also wore a headset microphone and led participants on a guided meditation throughout the hourlong experience. If you’re looking for a straight bowls-gongs-chime sound bath, this may not be the one for you. But if you find your mind wandering during silent meditations, you might appreciate Bousiali’s gentle guidance and find that the recorded music helps focus your mind. I definitely felt relaxed at the end.

You can also check out the Calming Spot’s outdoor sessions, held on Sunday on the beach from the end of spring through fall. Located near Lifeguard Station 24 at Santa Monica Beach, they include mats, blankets and wireless headphones through which the music is transmitted.

Price: $35 for indoor sound baths, $55 for beach sessions.
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A woman sits cross-legged on the floor in front of a gong
(Deborah Netburn / Los Angeles Times)

For the cultural explorer: Roxie Sound Healing

Sound healer and artist Roxie Sarhangi specializes in leading sound baths in art-filled settings. She has a standing monthly gig at the rooftop room at 1 Hotel on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. Otherwise, she moves around. She’s done a sound exhibition at Barakat Gallery where guests laid out their mats among an assortment of ancient Buddhas and sculptures, and another at the Culver Hotel’s historic Parisian room beneath an ornate chandelier. She’s played architecturally significant homes in the Hollywood Hills, the Craft Contemporary Museum, the Pacific Design Center and a mattress showroom where her own artwork was hung.

“I try to have sound baths in places that are elevated and magical,” she said. “The idea is that people should feel reverence the moment they walk in.”

I recently attended one of Sarhangi’s sound baths at FP Contemporary, a gallery in the Culver City arts district complete with polished concrete floors, high ceilings and bright white walls. (Before we arrived, Sarhangi sent an email suggesting attendees bring two mats with them to up the comfort level.) The gallery director, Helene Brown, is a fan and invited Sarhangi to play surrounded by an exhibition of work by artist Claudia Meyer, whose pieces were inspired by the shape and texture of ripples on water.

Sarhangi, who is of Persian descent, likes to include the poetry of Rumi and Hafez in her sound baths. After describing the art and its origins, she recited a poem by Rumi that referenced water as a flowing life force akin to love, before launching into the sound bath. “The sound baths are heart-led and the poetry is from the heart,” she said.

Sarhangi has built a devoted following in the six years since she’s been facilitating sound baths. She plays many of the same instruments as other sound bath practitioners — gongs, bowls, chimes, ocean drum — but the sounds she coaxes from them are distinctly gentle and warm. You can find out about her latest offerings on her website.

Price: Around $40-plus per sound bath (I paid $52 with fees).
The interior of a wooden dome, with white mats laid out in a semicircle on the floor
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

For everyone: The Integratron

Off a dirt road in the unincorporated desert community of Landers, you’ll find the gleaming white dome of the Integratron shining like a beacon in the dusty landscape.

Built in the 1950s by aerospace engineer and UFOlogist George Van Tassel, the 38-foot-high structure was designed to assist with rejuvenation and time travel, and was inspired by what he claimed were transmissions from extraterrestrials. Van Tassel died in 1978 and the building and the land were eventually purchased in 2000 by three sisters who have been hosting sound baths on the property ever since. If you haven’t been yet, I urge you to go. It’s weird enough to be intriguing but not so weird as to be off-putting. Musicians, artists, tourists and hikers alike flock to experience its wonder. There is nothing like it.

Public sound baths at the Integratron sell out quickly, so you’ll want to book a session at least a month in advance. (If you miss that window you can keep checking the website to see if there are any cancellations — I’ve gotten lucky in the past.) I advise arriving 20 to 30 minutes early. There’s a wonderful gift shop on site and an outdoor seating area with patio gliders and an inviting “hammock village” where you can soak up the desert scenery.

When it’s time for the sound bath to begin, you’ll be led into the Integratron building, which Van Tassel built entirely of Douglas fir with no metal fasteners. The sound bath takes place beneath a dome on the second floor of the structure, which one sound practitioner at the Integratron described as akin to being inside a cello. The acoustics are almost too good: If the person directly across the room from you starts snoring, you’ll hear it as if they were next to your ear. But the dome also amplifies the sound of the crystal bowls, making this one of the most powerful sound baths I’ve ever experienced.

Getting to the Integratron from L.A. is a shlep, but it’s only an hour from Palm Springs and about 30 minutes from Joshua Tree National Park, making it the perfect activity to tack on to a desert weekend. This sound bath also is notable for having the most comfortable mats I’ve ever had the pleasure of lying on.

Price: $55 per person.
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