How to use a Tibetan singing bowl for meditation
Meditation is a simple yet powerful way to create lasting inner calm and peace.
When you include daily meditation as part of your routine, you are setting yourself up for the day ahead and cultivating a deep connection to yourself that you can draw upon whenever you feel anxious or overwhelmed by negative emotions. Meditation is like a spiritual medicine, and that internal guidance is one we all have access to.
Meditating however can be challenging especially at first and even after many years. It’s totally normal for your mind to wander to your to-do list or for you to be distracted by external sounds. At Kensho Way we recommend building a practice over time in a dedicated space that you associate with calm and silence.
Many people use incense as part of their meditation ritual as specific scents can purify and transform an environment, creating a sense of stillness and helping the mind to focus.
Other people may rely on a guided meditation track or specific calming music to help bring them to that place of inner stillness where they can step back from their busy thoughts. Spiritual symbols are also a wonderful aid to meditation rituals.
In this guide, however, we are exploring the use of Tibetan singing bowls as a unique, effective and traditional way to create a peaceful environment for meditation. We will look in detail at the benefits and practice of using a Tibetan Singing Bowl and help you decide how to choose the best bowl for your own meditation.
When it comes to grounding yourself for inner calm and peace, the environment and ambiance that you meditate within is incredibly important. How you create this ambiance is entirely up to you but it is something that we recommend at Kenshō way.
Having a dedicated space can really take your practice to another level that you didn’t even know existed, allowing you to connect with the calmness within that just isn’t possible meditating in a cluttered or noisy environment.
How you establish this outer peace is also your choice. Many choose to use incense while meditating as the signal that the space around them has transformed from their living room or bedroom, into an area that can be used for reflection and internal guidance. While others turn to music, or even guided or scripted meditation to become at one with their breath and to step back from their incessant thoughts. One of the most traditional ways of creating a peaceful environment to meditate within is through the use of Tibetan singing bowls and in this guide we will take a look at what exactly singing bowls are and how they can be used to further your meditation practice.
What are Tibetan singing bowls?
Tibetan singing bowls are sacred instruments that produce a deep vibration and rich tone when played. The clear, resonating tone is similar to that of a bell, the frequency of which is said to promote relaxation and a sense of calm, ideal for meditation.
Tibetan singing bowls are considered to have powerful healing properties through the effects of their specific sound vibration. They are also beautiful decorative pieces that compliment your home.
Bells and singing bowls have long been associated with Buddhist monks as part of chanting or meditation practices and are now often used by music therapists, massage therapists and other wellness practitioners to create a calm and healing environment. The concept of sound healing is ancient, several religions even state that the world began with a sound or the world.
Tibetan singing bowls are known for the power of the sound that resonates and penetrates through layers of thought and busy mind chatter when they are played.
Also known as prayer bowls, Tibetan singing bowls are instruments that can be used to create a deep vibration and tone, perfect for promoting relaxation and peace synonymous with meditation.
Although called singing bowls, these instruments are actually a type of bell and have even been linked with powerful healing powers.
Benefits of Using a Tibetan Singing Bowl
Using a Tibetan singing bowl comes with a huge range of health boosting benefits to mind, body and soul. People find that they aid with reducing stress, anger and anxiety, help with pain relief and promote relaxation.
The healing properties are conducive to beginning a meditation or calm yoga session. Using the instrument at the beginning of a meditation focuses the mind onto the breath and creates a deep sense of peace.
Many yoga teachers begin and end a session with a gong or Tibetan singing bowl as it creates the perfect atmosphere for concentration and positive flow.
The sound vibrations produced when a bowl is played can even positively impact the cells in our bodies, balancing and harmonizing them. The vibration caused by playing the bowl causes sound waves to reach us on a cellular level and acts like a kind of stimulating massage to cleanse and purify.
It is also widely accepted that Tibetan Singing bowls can aid us by charging our immune systems and effecting change in our brain wave patterns and reduce blood pressure.
During energy healing, the sound of a Tibetan singing bowl balances the chakras, with different bowls matching the frequency of the various chakras of the body.
Sound baths are also becoming increasingly popular as an alternative relaxation technique as more and more people learn about the healing powers of sound vibration.
Scientifically speaking, few studies have yet to examine in detail the long term potential benefits of using singing bowls, but considering the overwhelming power of music on our moods, it is clear that sound and its vibration can have an immense impact on our well being.
Whether you need firm scientific proof or not, try it for yourself and see how a Tibetan singing bowl can positively enhance your meditation practice and your relaxation levels.
In summary, the benefits of Tibetan singing bowls include:
- Promote deep relaxation
- Reduce stress
- Dissolve feelings of anger and anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- Sharpen mental awareness
- Provide an overall feeling of contentment and well being
- Create an environment of tranquility.
How to use a Tibetan Singing Bowl
Tibetan singing bowls are traditionally used by running a mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl.
Almost like you’re stirring the contents of the bowl. Depending on the amount of pressure applied will result in different levels of vibration and ultimately sound given off, meaning singing bowls can be played differently depending on the type of meditation being carried out.
This vibration is an incredible tool that can be used to ground and focus the mind, bringing concentration to the vibration, the bowls producing it, and ultimately the breath.
When you want to create sound with your bowl, take the mallet and run it in a circular motion along the outside edge or rim of the bowl.
This will produce the bright, clear tone that resonates like a bell.
You should try to use your entire arm from its base to circle the mallet, rather than relying on your rotating wrist.
You can also strike the bowl softly once first before beginning to circle the edge with the mallet or rub the outside of the bowl.
It’s a good idea to experiment with your own bowl to get the hang of the kinds of sound and vibrations that best suit your personal mood. You’ll find that when you strike the bowl it resonates and when you rub it gently, it sings.
The pressure you use will affect the sound and vibrations, so you can play around to create different sounds depending on the meditation you are practicing.
When you circle the bowl at first you will hear various tones but eventually one will rise above the rest to become a pure, penetrating sound.
Now that you have created the sound you like, concentrate on the bowl itself and the sound waves as they vibrate into the air around you, as you do so you will find that your focus becomes centered and you are brought into a quiet state of consciousness ideal for deep meditation.
As you listen to the tones until they become imperceptible, you are bringing your mind to a place of still release from the everyday clutter of thoughts.
Another way to play the bowl and experience its healing powers is to lie down and place the bowl on top of your chest.
This way you can physically experience the vibrations as they resonate through your body.
This works because your chest acts similarly to the hollow space inside a guitar, meaning that the sound resonates there and then travels through the rest of your body. As you relax you can focus on the audible sound and the vibrations you feel as you calm the senses and physical self.
What is truly unique about owning a Tibetan singing bowl is that you can perceive the sound differently every time depending on your mental state, emotions or energy level.
When you get to know your Tibetan singing bowl over time, ringing it frequently and using it for meditation, you will find that its particular soundscape will begin to resonate with you deeply.
You may find that over time you will associate the sound of the bowl with a calm, good feeling that you can then easily access every time you ring your bowl.
How to choose a Tibetan Singing Bowl
When shopping for something as unique and personal as a Tibetan singing bowl, it’s important to consider all factors before making a decision, such as quality of materials, size, sound and the main purpose it will serve for you. You will also want to bear in mind that the way the bowl sounds to you is very personal. You will discover for yourself how you feel according to the individual sound of the instrument.
Singing bowls were traditionally made from a mixture of up to seven metals, but most bowls available for purchase today are made from three or five metals.
Bowls that date from over 100 years ago are likely to be of very high quality and craftsmanship and classify as antique. You should be aware that some Tibetan singing bowls are marketed as antiques but they are actually reproductions. Genuine antique bowls tend to be quite expensive and have markings as well as a certificate of proof.
They also tend to be made of more metals and be thinner on the bottom. Do not worry, If an antique Tibetan singing bowl is not in your budget, it is entirely possible to purchase a high quality, affordable artisanal bowl on the market today and with this guide we can help you do so.
Purpose of the bowl
Depending on what you decide to primarily use it for, the size of the bowl you choose is important. Larger bowls will produce deeper tones, which may enhance your meditation practice the most. The smaller bowls produce higher tones when played, which are said to be more suitable for clearing the body of any illness or negativity.
Tibetan Singing Bowl Reviews
Below you will find our reviews of the best Tibetan singing bowls on the market to help you choose the most effective and pleasing bowl for your own practice.
Ohm Store Tibetan Singing Bowl Set
If you are looking for a well – crafted, durable, small and beautiful bowl this is an excellent option. A complete full set consisting of the singing bowl, wooden mallet plus a hand-sewn cushion. The bowl fits in the palm of your hand, a perfect size to take anywhere and to have in your yoga or meditation room. The bowl emits a warm, strong tone and vibration. It is made in the Himalayan foothills by Nepalese artisans and has been designed in mind for anyone wishing to discover the healing properties of sound healing through singing bowls.
Reehut Tibetan Singing Bowl
Another excellent option is this hand hammered 7 metal engraved singing bowl also crafted in the Himalayas by Nepalese artisans. It measures Approximately 4 inches diameter x 2″ tall and will fit into the palm of your hand. It’s a wonderful beginners bowl, creates a loud and powerful sound and is the perfect accompaniment for any meditation or yoga practice or as an aid to anyone suffering from anxiety disorders or depression. The bowl creates a strong, rich tone considering its size and it is easy to make it “sing” even if you are just starting out with these instruments. The singing bowl comes with its own mallet and small, colourful cushion.
Dhyana House 5″ Bowl
This 5 inch brass decorative bowl makes a fabulous gift for anyone looking for their first singing bowl. The gift set comes with mallet and ring slik cushion and is presented in an attractive box.
The bowl is engraved with a traditional Tibetan Buddhist mantra (Om Ma Ni Padme Hum) and looks attractive on a shelf in your house or as part of a spiritual altar in your meditation/ yoga room. Handmade in Nepal, the bowl creates a strong frequency and rich, clear, calming tone ideal for meditation and yoga. This is a high quality, durable singing bowl that will bring you peace, happiness and inner guidance for a long time.
Silent Mind ~ Tibetan Singing Bowl Set
An antique design, 4- inch singing bowl that fits perfectly into your hand. Don’t let its size confuse you, this bowl makes a wonderful, healing sound that vibrates strongly and resonates as much as larger bowls. When you purchase this bowl you also received a hand-sewn cushion and a dual surface mallet, one side wooden and one with a small suede strip for creating different singing tones.
This is a best seller for its high quality craftsmanship and the rich, crisp sound it makes. It is ideal as an ornamental addition to your house as well as being a top choice for anyone looking for a singing bowl to compliment their meditation rituals. You can choose from different colours.
Silent Mind ~ Tibetan Singing Bowl Set ~ Antique Design
A wonderful choice, this Tibetan singing bowl set has a mesmerizing sound vibration that will immediately ground you in peace for meditation.
The bowl is 4 inches and comes complete with a cushion and mallet. The stunning antique design evokes the traditions and authenticity of Nepal and the devoted practitioners of these instruments.
The bowl could be used simply as decoration and would bring much joy, however once you play it and hear the sublime resonating tones this bowl is capable of; you will undoubtedly include it in your regular meditation and yoga rituals.