Music, or at its most basic, sound, has fundamental abilities to enable inner peace, greater understanding, and holistic healing. A singing bowl is a percussion instrument that is played by striking it with a mallet and/or drawing the mallet across its surface. Singing bowls are so called because of their shape, and are also known as a "standing bell." When played with a mallet, a singing bowl produces a deep, rich, resonant tone that lasts for minutes on end. The vibrations have the potential to focus the mind, cleanse the chakras, and promote healing of body, mind, and spirit.
Singing bowls have many uses. Some are religious or ceremonial in nature, some are healing and restorative, while others are more mundane and practical. Take a few minutes to watch this beautiful demonstration of our singing bowls by Lora Singer and read on to find out about even more uses.
Uses for Singing Bowls
Meditation requires mental concentration, which can be difficult to achieve because our minds become cluttered with mundane concerns, and there are a myriad of external factors working to sabotage our inner clarity. Playing a singing bowl can help to alleviate distractions and focus your thoughts to achieve a deeper contemplative state. For this reason, singing bowls can also help as an aid to other mind-body practices related to meditation, such as yoga. Singing bowls used as a meditation aid can be found in Buddhist monasteries and temples, as well as in private homes.
Singing bowls are used to relax the mind similarly to the way that massage is used to relax the body, and indeed, the two practices are often used in combination with one another. There is a scientific basis for the relaxing effects of singing bowls. Human bodies have a relaxation reflex that inhibits pain and stress. The vibrations of the singing bowl have an impact on the nervous system that induces relaxation and clarity of mind by changing the pattern of brain waves.
The vibrations of the singing bowls can clear excess away from the energy centers of the body, called chakras, activating them and bringing them into balance. In your interactions with other people, especially friends and loved ones, their energy can become attached to you, sometimes without your even noticing it, draining your energy and causing you to become emotionally exhausted. The vibrations of the singing bowl have cleansing properties that help you to clear that energy away, revitalizing and rejuvenating you on a spiritual level.
Practitioners of Buddhism and other eastern religions believe that disease occurs partly because an area of the body is not in harmony with the rest. Singing bowls can help bring the diseased part back into harmony through its vibrations.
Scientific findings suggest that the effects of singing bowls are more than emotional , psychological, or spiritual but physical as well. Patients who underwent a directed relaxation session that began with 12 minutes of singing bowls demonstrated greater reductions in heart rate and systolic blood pressure compared with those whose directed relaxation session began with silence.
- Other Uses
Singing bowls are sometimes used as an instrument, particularly when playing world music compositions. Some people in Tibet and Nepal use singing bowls to clean and purify their jewelry, which they believe has protective properties.
History of Singing Bowls
The history of singing bowls is shrouded in mystery. According to some, they date back to ancient Mesopotamia. Whatever the origins of the singing bowl, it has been in use in Buddhist practice since at least 480 BCE, the period of the Buddha Shakyamuni.
The Chinese invasion of Tibet in the mid-1800s caused singing bowls to spread all over the world as Buddhist monks and lamas were forced to sell their singing bowls and other items of significant worth in order to survive. Singing bowls were trafficked around the globe, and as a result, people from many different cultures and backgrounds gained an opportunity to benefit from their calming effects. Unfortunately, however, the traditional methods of creating singing bowls was lost in the diaspora.
Choosing a Singing Bowl
Despite the loss of the traditional methods of constructing singing bowls, those produced today still resound with beautiful tones and provide the same benefits to relaxation, healing, and cleansing. Check out our collection below and visit our Singing Bowls page HERE for more styles and/or to purchase your very own Singing Bowl!
Singing bowls are available in two different types of material: crystal or metal alloy. The most commonly used crystal used to make singing bowls is quartz. Quartz has the ability to amplify and purify energy. The alloys from which metal bowls are fashioned often include at least some of the seven sacred metals that correspond to the seven planets known in ancient times:
- Moon: silver
- Sun: gold
- Mercury: mercury
- Venus: copper
- Mars: iron
- Jupiter: tin
- Saturn: lead
When choosing a singing bowl, think about the size. Obviously, you do not want to choose a singing bowl that is too large for your living space, but that is not the only consideration. The size of a singing bowl also affects its tone. A smaller bowl will be higher in pitch, while a larger bowl will be lower.
Each singing bowl sounds one particular note, although different singing bowls are constructed to sound different tones. Collectively, the notes correspond with your chakras, so the singing bowl you choose may depend upon your intention and what you want to accomplish when using it.
Choosing a singing bowl should be an intuitive process. A singing bowl is a very personal instrument as its vibrations literally become a part of you. Therefore, you should choose a singing bowl with which you feel a connection, one that strongly draws you to it.