Gayle Crosmaz-Brown lives her life to the beat of her drum. But it’s not just the rhythmic melodies that draw her to play.

Crosmaz-Brown, a spiritual teacher, artist, author and performer, believes that the drum is the tool to get knowledge, channel your ancestors, heal your mind and body and to connect to your higher self.

The drum is so powerful a tool at so many levels,” said Crosmaz-Brown. “Vibration of the drum moves the blood through your body, clears cholesterol, pluck, it releases tension and stress.”

She shared her skills and knowledge with six people who attended her one-hour introductory workshop “Spirit of the drum” with the help of two drummers — Cathy Vye and Ginette D’Aoust-Castonguay. The workshop was held at Algonquin’s Spiritual Centre for the first time on Nov. 14.

The workshop introduced the participants to different types and purposes of drumming including emotional, spiritual and physical healing, demonstrated to show how to awaken soul and spirit — and in the end gave them a chance to experience the art of drumming first-hand.

For Crosmaz-Brown, the drum represents the knowledge guide that helps us to awaken to the memory of our ancestors. She says the same DNA memory is running through our blood steam and in order to learn, we just tap into it through the drum.

“The drum is teaching you to tap into our own wisdom and learn things by remembering them,” said Crosmaz-Brown.

By “remembering” she learned how to play the drum. Once a spirit of a Viking showed up over her right shoulder to help her remember how to play the instrument.

“He showed me a vision of myself in the ancient times with the war drum strapped to my hip,” said Crosmaz-Brown. “Within 10 minutes I remembered how to play the drum.”

The drums used during the ceremony are all hand made and have different sizes. They all create different sound vibrations that connect to the different parts of the body.

“The images that I paint on the drums and the size of the drums that I do are all customed to the person that I make it for, because they are messages from their ancestors and what that person needs to learn,” said Crosmaz-Brown.

Despite the fact that Crosmaz-Brown’s workshops may gather dozens of people, she says that 90 per cent of those who she meets are skeptical about the experience.

It’s such a personal and individual thing,” said Shelley Neilson, the organizer of the event. “Some people respond to certain stimuli and may be really moved by spiritual waves, while some people might just come in and say ‘I don’t get it, I don’t like it.”

When Crosmaz-Brown contacted Neilson with the offer to do the workshop, she didn’t know what to expect, but after looking at what she had to offer decided that students would enjoy this kind of event.

We are always looking for something that’s spiritual and that broadens what we already have here,” said Neilson.

“It’s kind of like religion in that way. It links with person’s spirituality and some people just don’t reach that place. It’s kind of hard to predict.”