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19.08.2013
After two years, yoga teacher Boontiva Truong-Quang achieved her goal to bring yoga to patients at the Elgin Mental Health Center, a medium-security facility for the mentally ill. After a year of working at Elgin Mental Health Center, Boontiva invited Kenny Kolter, a gong meditation leader, to a health and wellness fair she was hosting at the facility. Boontiva teaches seven to eight yoga sessions on several units during her three days a week at the facility. The yoga classes are very simple and direct, with patients participating in full asana practice on the floor with yoga mats. Boontiva keeps it interesting by constantly mixing it up--introducing new poses or talking about meditation techniques, proper breathing, or food choices. Kenny describes gong meditation: “I try to provide a sonic backdrop for people to go within to pray, meditate, or relax.
Gong meditation is one of the most popular activities for the patients, sometimes with half the unit attending--approximately ten to twelve people. The reason the gong is so effective, says Kenny, is that “within the sonic spectrum of the instrument is the eternal Om sound, providing a mantra for the participants. The activities staff, who work with the patients every day, appreciate the work Kenny and Boontiva are doing, although in the beginning there was a fair amount of skepticism about the gong, says Kenny. Elgin Mental Health Center describes its services as follows; “ Recovery is a personal journey of hope, healing, growth, choice, and change.
With more than 600 hours of formal training, Boontiva founded Optimum Health School of Yoga in Elgin. Kenny Kolter started playing drums and percussion at the age of nine and has been practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) since he was twelve. The TAU Center in Wheaton, IL invites you to partake in this Thursday evening healing and transformational gong bath meditation with Marian & Gabriela Kraus, among the finest sound therapy work in the greater Chicago area. The healing, meditative, spiritual and transformational experience is a psycho-acoustic gateway to raise an individuals’ vibratory frequency and to reach higher states of awareness.
Marian & Gabriela’s gong sound sessions provide a unique path to a real and deep transformation that goes from matter to essence in a Body-Mind-Essence trajectory that is rooted in physical awareness, understanding, deep transformation and culminates in the essential experience. The only requirement to join us in a wonderful experience is to bring an open mind, wear comfortable clothing, and come with a pillow and blanket to cover up. Experience sound therapy and the guided gong meditation at its finest and view one of Marian & Gabriela’s self-explanatory videos here or read what others are saying about their gong bath.
Harmony sinks deep into the recesses of the soul and takes its strongest hold there, bringing grace also to the body & mind as well. The healing, meditative, spiritual and transformational experience is a psycho-acoustic gateway to raise an individuals’ vibratory frequency and to reach higher states of awareness and consciousness. Marian gives a brief description and history of the gong as well as the intention toward human potential development which drives his sound immersions.
Experience sound therapy and gong meditation at its finest and see a short feature documentary on the benefits of Marian’s sound therapy work or read what others are saying about his gong bath. First, she attended a conference on healing at the center, where Mary Jensen, an associate at the Mental Health Center and a student of Boontiva's, invited her as a guest speaker.
Her friendliness, sunny disposition, and down-to-earth manner quickly earned her the respect and trust of the patients. There is a core of six to eight people who attend each session (with sometimes as many as 18) every week, practicing the poses at various levels of difficulty, and some of them are fairly advanced. For half of the sessions, he works in tandem with Boontiva, playing the gong (sometimes with a drum) softly in the background during the yoga class. He says, “She has a very simple, loving, and friendly approach with the patients, and always has a smile. Boontiva chooses postures that help the patients have better flexibility, circulation, and mental clarity. A woman who previously had a “gruff personality” now appears happy, smiling, and more outgoing. Kenny says, “There is something about being in service to a population that is in need, who would never be exposed to yoga or gong meditation because of their economic or cultural background.


Elgin Mental Health Center provides treatment for relief and restoration of the people we serve. Her parents were members of the Vietnamese Royal Family, and the family was forced to flee Thailand to escape the Communist Regime. In addition to teaching yoga, Pilates, reflexology, and yoga teacher trainings at her center, Boontiva teaches at locations in the northwest and western suburbs.
Learn about our various offerings including our corporate options as well as our retreats and workshops and contact us to find out more.
The sound immersion is generated by the vibrational and mystical characteristics of the couples’ three large gongs, four Burmese whirling gongs (KeeZees), tuning forks, several authentic Himalayan singing bowls and additional sound tools. During the introduction, participants will receive an outline to some of the basics of sound therapy and history of the gongs, followed by an explanation of how the upcoming meditation and sound session work together to facilitate a transformation, evolution and healing experience within the conscious mind. It has been used over the past 4,000 years in yoga, sound meditation, and vibrational therapy in various parts of the world. Combined these provide the opportunity to feel and understand that each one of us are much more than just our body, mind and feelings. The instruments facilitate a change in one’s nature of being and potentially restore an intrinsic state of inner balance. The energetic and relaxing sonic back drop created by the instruments during the hour and a half long event is geared toward giving the participants a chance to rapidly access deep states of meditation. And please before you move on…read the entertaining and informative piece “Music School” by Dr.
The next year, Boontiva lectured about the science of yoga as a therapeutic, holistic approach to life at a national conference of mental health workers. Three days later Kenny got a call from the comptroller of the facility who asked if he would be interested in a one-year contract to play the gong one day a week at the center. Most of them have only a modest understanding of what yoga is, and some don't know anything at all, so Boontiva takes a variety of approaches. All of the patients participate on a voluntary basis, choosing from a variety of activities. The rest of the time Kenny leads gong meditations while the patients lie on mats or sit in chairs. Kenny provides specific sounds that have highly beneficial applications in medical and clinical settings. She dresses in brighter colors and participated in Bollywood dancing during a recent “activity day.” Another patient, who was new to yoga, has begun writing a book on yoga and meditation. Neither of them have had a formal review with the staff, but the fact that their contracts have been renewed during a time of heavy cutbacks at the state level indicates that the staff sees value in what they do. It is very rewarding to be in this environment where people are hurt, separated from their families and loved ones….
Educated in Bangkok, where she learned English, she later emigrated to the US with her parents and completed her studies at Northern Illinois University, earning a Master of Science degree in Marketing and Management and a Master of Arts degree in Fashion and Design.
Boontiva also received a grant from Activate Elgin to promote awareness about obesity and healthy lifestyles for children. A specific guided meditation will then prime the subconscious mind to transition the participants into the essential experience brought on by sound.
The gong is an ideal tool for stress reduction, stimulation of the glandular system and as a facilitator to breaking up emotional and physical blockages. We all are part of a universal order and potentially can vibrate in perfect resonance and harmony.
It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. The sound immersion generated by the vibrational and mystical characteristics of Marian’s three large gongs, four Burmese whirling gongs (KeeZees), set of harmonic tuning forks, the Ocean Drum and several authentic Himalayan singing bowls will energize and quiet your mind & body simultaneously in a unique and unforgettable fashion. The Gong is an ideal tool for stress reduction, stimulation of the glandular system and as a facilitator to breaking up emotional and physical blockages. During this gong sound meditation, or gong bath, you will experience gongs and singing bowls being played in a uniquely rhythmic, melodic and pleasing fashion.


Later that same year she was invited to lead eight introductory sessions of yoga for patients and staff as well as some members from the national conference at the Elgin Mental Health Center. Because of their mental illness and medication, many don't have the physical dexterity to do a full floor asana program.
The gong I play is tuned to 172 hertz, which is the frequency [at which] the earth rotates in our solar system.
She's like a cheerleader, always sharing her excitement and passion about yoga and spiritual growth.
We feel the work we are doing is groundbreaking because this is the state's largest mental health facility. Combined these facilitate a change in one’s nature of being and potentially restore an intrinsic state of inner balance.
It serves as a holistic vehicle for natural re-balancing and re-tuning of one’s mind & body. Experience this powerful entry point for shifting and heightening your consciousness as an entry point to self directed healing.
There will be no yoga class during the event and you can contact Pulsation to reserve your spot here.
The staff and doctors were impressed, and finally Boontiva obtained a one-year contract with the State of Illinois to teach yoga three days a week to the patients. Cathy Johnson, Activities Program Director, told Kenny that in her 25 years of working at the facility, she had never seen a contract go through so quickly. She may bring them into a circle and invite them to move into their favorite animal postures, which are often names of yoga poses. I've been playing drums since I was nine years old, so I bring a rhythmic and musical element to playing the gong.
All of the patients are incarcerated because they have some form of criminal activity associated with their mental illness. While Boontiva is teaching, some people just come and listen to the gong and pick up on the good energy that is generated.
Traditional clinical facilities are very conservative; they don't stray from traditional therapies. She worked in corporate America for 14 years as a marketing director for the Marriott Corporation.
During this gong bath and sound meditation, you will experience gongs and singing bowls being played in a uniquely rhythmic, melodic and pleasing fashion.
The gong’s sonic, vibrational and mystical characteristics deeply resonate all cells of the body and thereby energize and relax participants simultaneously in a most powerful and unique way. The gong’s sonic, vibrational and mystical characteristics deeply resonate all cells of the body and thereby energize and relax participants of Marian’s gong bath simultaneously in a most powerful and unique way.
Now Kenny is in his second year of playing the gong, and Boontiva is in her third year of teaching yoga at the mental health center. They may be unfit to stand trial, and they are there to become mentally integrated to stand trial. We are very fortunate that there were some people here that were progressive and willing to embrace change. In 1995, after an impromptu trip to India, Boontiva discovered yoga and stayed at The Yoga Institute in Mumbai to become a certified yoga instructor. Each year she goes on a six-week, volunteer pilgrimage to orphanages in Thailand, Nepal, and India. Many of these patients are not really able to be at a regular county facility or state prison.



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