I have always taken an interest in alternate therapies. Therapy can come in all different forms. I guess it's what ever brings joy, if even for a moment, to our lives. A scent, a sound, a smile, a touch, being outside, sunshine, clean sheets, good food, loved ones. I could go on and on and what we consider therapy is different for each of us.
So while singing bowls are not closely familiar to me in my culture, I have seen them in shops and heard them on tv and online. I have been curious for awhile.
I find myself drawn to modes or practices that have been used historically. They've been around and stood the test of time and are still available today - there must be something to them.
What is a singing bowl?
Singing bowls work on the same principal as a bell, but free standing, without a handle, and instead of a clapper a handheld wooden mallet or striker. They make sound or "sing" when the bowl is struck by the mallet and then drawn around the rim to carry on the vibration.
It is thought that the singing bowl's origins trace back to ancient Nepal where gold was plentiful. Tibet was where they gained notoriety used as prayer bowls by monks.
Singing bowls were used traditionally to bring about a state of meditation.
How they're used today
Even if you're not a monk :)), you can use these bowls in your home today much in the same way they have been used traditionally. For mediation, deep relaxation, stress reduction, holistic healing, Reiki, chakra balancing, & simply for listening.
Many people have collections of different sizes and material bowls.
How do they work?
Singing bowls are 'struck and sung' in specific rhythmic patterns to create vibrational sound harmonics at the frequency of "AUM" or "OM". This sound frequency is known as that of perfection or pure tone, impacts the sympathetic nervous system as your brain waves synchronize to the vibrations of the bowls. The harmonic vibrations engage the relaxation reflex and slow down the respiratory, brain and heart rate and disrupt the pain reflex creating a deep sense of well being.
My kids and I are enjoying our singing bowl. I have started a practice of signaling a slowing down, calming of the house with our bowl. I explained to them that when I take the bowl out and we gather together to listen, this needs to trigger in their minds the beginning of evening time. My Capri wants to hear it over and over and is working on making the bowl sing on her own.
I have noticed with myself that I feel an immediate centering effect. Like a call to presence. It brings me back to the here and now. It feels clearing like coffee beans do for scent. I also enjoy the action of doing - making the bowl sing :)
Singing bowls come with a cushion for playing on and storing gently. Many years ago I bought this circular basket ring when thrifting. I just liked it even though I had no idea what it was made for. Now I think I know. It is the perfect size for a singing bowl. I think it is a basket cushion!
Holding the bowl on the palm with an extended hand, no fingers touching the bowl, lightly strike on the edge for a gong like sound and immediately begin drawing the striker around the rim of the bowl. This will allow the vibration to circulate. The more firmly you press the louder your bowl will sing. If you hear a clanking sound simply slow down the striker.
Try it yourself!
I got my bowl from Maha Bodhi Products. The set comes with what you see here.