If you have heard of Tibetan singing bowls before, you might know that they feature a wooden striker which is used to either hit the bowl or circle around the top of the rim to produce a vibrating, resonating, and relaxing sound.
What you might also know is that Tibetan singing bowls are used as meditation aids, but how exactly does this work? What exactly is a singing bowl, what is meditation, and why are they used as meditation aids?
What Exactly is a Singing Bowl?
Singing bowls, also known as Tibetan singing bowls, are generally small and rounded bowls made out of various metals, sometimes brass, sometimes gold, and sometimes out of a combination of as many as seven or eight different metals.
They then come complete with a wooden striker which is used to hit the bowl or to caress the rim of the bowl, which then produces a harmonious, rich, long-lasting, and relaxing sound.
Generally, these also come with a small anti-dampening pillow, a pillow designed to sit under the bowl in order to maximize vibration, volume, and sound duration.
These signing bowls can come in all sorts of sizes, with some as small as three inches in diameter, and some being several feet in diameter with the larger ones generally being used in monasteries, for large ceremonies and meditation sessions.
What is Meditation?
Before we get into talking why and how Tibetan singing bowls are used for meditation, it might help to clarify what meditation actually is and why it is performed.
Meditation has also been around for thousands of years, and yes, it was also created by monks (Hindu monks), but was then adopted by Buddhist monks as well.
The practice of meditation generally involves sitting perfectly still, trying to focus on one specific object or thing, clearing your mind of everything else, and mindfulness (focusing specifically on your mind).
The aim of meditation is to find inner peace, to find enlightenment, to achieve mental clarity, and to achieve a mentally and spiritually comfortable, calm, and stable state.
Simply put, meditation is all about healing and maintaining the mind and spirit, as well as the body, to a certain extent.
Why are Singing Bowls Used in Meditation?
The reason why Tibetan singing bowls are often used in conjunction with meditation is because these bowls, the sounds they produce, can help achieve the same goals as meditation.
The harmonious and long lasting tones and frequencies produced by singing bowls, along with the vibrations they create, vibrations that can actually be felt in the body, are said to help create a very relaxed and calm mindset.
Moreover, specific tones, notes, and frequencies affect brainwaves in different ways. For instance, some tons and frequencies can help the brain create more dopamine and serotonin, two brain chemicals that make you feel happier and less stressful.
There are also certain tones and frequencies that can help change the speed at which brain waves move, thus altering your mindset.
The bottom line is that the sounds and vibrations produced by singing bowls can help to relax you, to relieve stress, to help you concentrate, and to clear your mind.
Benefits of Tibetan Singing Bowls in Conjunction with Meditation
Let’s get a bit more specific here and talk about the various benefits that the combination of meditation and singing bowls can bring to the table.
- Singing bowls are shown to be fantastic aids for stress relief, to be ideal for reducing anxiety, and to aid in mental and physical relaxation in general.
- Due to the fact that these singing bowls can help reduce stress and anxiety, they can also help provide you with a better and deeper sleep.
- Although this benefit is somewhat debated, it has been shown that Tibetan singing bowls, due to lowering stress and anxiety, can help reduce high blood pressure.
- Because Tibetan singing bowls are shown to help increase serotonin production, they can also act as mood stabilizers, and can therefore help aid in reducing sadness and depression.
- Singing bowls may also help reduce physical pain, but that said, it is somewhat unclear whether or not the pain reduction is in fact real, or if this is a placebo effect. However, placebo effect or not, pain reduction is pain reduction, one way or another.
- Tibetan singing bowls are also said to be able to harmonize the cells in the body, which can help increase organ function and the strength of your immune system.
How to Use a Tibetan Singing Bowl for Meditation
There are a few different ways of using a Tibetan singing bowl, both for regular meditation and for guided meditation. Let’s take a quick look.
- You can use the wooden striker to strike your singing bowl. Here, you want to experiment a little bit to find the right spot to strike, to create the tone and vibrations that suits you best. Hit the bowl lightly and attempt to meditate.
- You may also make your singing bowl sing, as it is designed to do. To make your bowl sing, first use the striker to hit it on that sweet spot, and then run the striker around the outside rim of the top of the bowl. Slow your breathing, meditate, and focus on the sound.
- One of the best ways to use a singing bowl is through guided meditation, which means that someone else plays the singing bowl for you, thus allowing you to concentrate on the meditation.
- Singing bowls may also be filled with water to change the pitch and tone.
As you can see, singing bowls can have many benefits for the mind, spirit, and body, and these benefits are only increased when combined with meditation.
If you get good at coaxing sound out of your singing bowl, it can go a long way in making you a happier, more relaxed, and healthier person.