How To Use Tibetan Singing Bowls — The Essential Guide

Have you ever wondered how to use Tibetan Singing Bowls properly? You can produce some truly beautiful sounds with a Tibetan Singing Bowl. And in this guide I’ll share everything that you need to know to use your Tibetan Singing Bowl properly.

Tibetan singing bowls are beautiful instruments. The sound that they produce is truly beautiful. That resonant chime. It’s a wonderful sound to meditate to, don’t you think? In the same way that beautiful meditation music produces a harmony that helps your mind to relax, Tibetan Singing Bowls produce a rich, resonant sound that is very good for spiritual healing.

And not only do singing bowls produce beautiful sounds, but they are fabulous for meditation. Try meditating on one for an hour. You will find it absolutely Zen-sational.

You might be wondering whether these ancient instruments actually help to heal you and to restore inner peace. Well, let me tell you, a lot of science has shown that Tibetan Singing Bowls do indeed make you calmer inside and do help with mental health.

We’ll get to that in just a moment. But first, let’s start with the basics.

What is a Tibetan Singing Bowl?

Tibetan Singing Bowls are actually a type of standing bell. However,  instead of being inverted they are held in the hand.

Nowadays people the world over are learning how to use Tibetan singing bowls, but traditionally they were only used in Asia, where they were created.

Subsequently, Buddhist practices have spread worldwide and there are now many manufacturers of Tibetan singing bowls around the world. (You can find a great selection of singing bowls here). Nowadays, no meditation room is complete without a good Tibetan Singing Bowl.

In Buddhist tradition the singing bowl is used as an auditory marker, denoting the beginning and ending of a period of meditation. They would usually be combined with the use of a percussion instrument called the “wooden fish,” which is struck when a specific phrase is chanted. They are used slightly differently in other cultures. In Japanese and Vietnamese tradition, for instance, they are used specifically to mark the beginning and ending of periods of walking meditation and seated meditation.

 

How the sounds of the singing bowl help with meditation

As you will know if you’ve used a singing bowl before, the rim of  bowl vibrates to produce a whistling sound. That sounds is made up of two frequencies: a first harmonic and then overtones. Those frequencies are important, because they happen to be at ranges that are very beneficial to your brain.

There are also undertones that the bowls makes. Together, these sounds produce a chord that is a “flattened fifth”. Naga Shakthi says, “Singing bowls produce layers of rich additional overtones, which, when heard binaurally, create beat frequency which alters our brain waves from a Beta brainwave state to an Alpha state,”

When you meditate on the sound of a singing bowl you switch your brain to alpha frequency. And alpha frequency is very beneficial (for more on this take a look at my guide to Alpha-brain-wave meditation).

It’s the chord that the bowl makes that makes it so good for meditation.

Th flattened fifth chord that the bowls produce is perfect for spiritual healing and chakra balancing.  As you listen to the frequency of the bowls your brain waves actually synchronise with the sound of the world, and at the same time the unique tones produce a deep meditative state. Not only this, but the sonic waves of the singing bowls open your mind, which can lead to spiritual awakening.

 

 

 

Do Tibetan Singing Bowls work? Science says yes.

Dr. Mitchell Gaynor [director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine, Cornell Cancer Prevention Center New York] says, “Sound is vibration. Vibration touches every part of our physical being. Sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies.

“One reason sound heals on a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.”

Sound Healing expert Diane Mandle says, “Tibetan 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 the sound of Perfection. It 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.”

Tibetan Singing Bowls and other spiritual sound practices have even been used to help people suffering from cancer.

Speaking about the first time he learned to used a Tibetan singing bowl, Dr. David Simon [medical director, Deepak Chopra Center] says, “I could feel the vibration physically resonating through my body, touching my core in such a way that I felt in harmony with the universe. I immediately intuited that playing the bowls would change my life and the lives of many of my patients.”  He has subsequently tested Tibetan Singing Bowls on his patients and states that sound has a powerful capacity for healing even in cancer patients.

But how can a musical instrument possibly help with cancer?

Illnesses can be thought of as a disharmony of the body, an in-balance. All energy is in a state of vibration, including energy in the body. When that vibration is tampered with the body falls out of sync, resulting in illness. Meditating on the sound of a Tibetan Singing Bowl restores the body to its natural frequency. And this in turn cures illnesses, both physical and psychological. You can quite quickly test this for yourself. Below is a video of Tibetan Singing Bowls being played. Listen to the sounds and you will quickly feel your body and mind relaxing, unwinding, and restoring to their natural state.

Do Tibetan Singing Bowls create “Divine Sound?”

Bodhisattva Gwalwa Karmapa says that Tibetan Singing Bowls produce the sound of nothingness, the primordial sound, resonating at the same frequency as “Om,” the frequency of creation. This is why early models of Tibetan Singing Bowls have been in use by Shamanistic cultures since as early at 560BC.

You’re likely wondering whether the healing properties of Tibetan Singing Bowls is similar to that of binaural beats. Though some studies into binaural beats have given positive results, the latest Brainwave Entertainment lacks the history and culture of the Tibetan Singing Bowl. There is an ethereal quality to the singing bowl that binaural beats lack. Tibetan Singing Bowls also hold a powerful spiritual symbolism that binaural beats lack, and that symbolism can help you to get deeper into the meditation, which creates a more powerful and lasting effect.

Countless studies have shown the power of belief and the power of spiritual influence on the mind. The more the mind believes in the spiritual properties of an object the more effect that object will have on them. By mere virtue of their history and spiritual symbolism, Tibetan Singing Bowls are more powerful than binaural beats and other modern practices. And that is not likely to change.  Plus, Tibetan Singing Bowls are a natural, analogous sound, where more modern sound healing devices are digital. So it is easy to see why Tibetan Singing Bowls are so much more powerful than “Brainwave Entertainment”.

Brainwave Entertainment and Tibetan Singing Bowls are similar though. Both produce theta brainwaves. At 4-8Hz our self-healing, intuition, and creativity mechanisms are activated. It’s at this range that you are at your strongest, and that is precisely the range Brainwave Entertainment and Tibetan Singing Bowls put you in. It is also at this frequency that the chakras can be healed.

The Indian healing system believes that chakras, energy centres, pass energy around the body. You can discover the science and spiritual of Chakras in our Complete Guide To Chakras. Essentially, there are seven chakras in the body (Root chakra, Sacral chakra, Solar Plexus chakra, Heart chakra, Throat chakra, Third Eye chakra, and Crown chakra). When one of these chakras is blocked energy is not channeled through the body correctly. This can cause illness and dysfunction.  

Chakra balancing is used to restore the natural flow of prana / chi / energy around the body, thereby restoring health. This is precisely what happens when you meditate on a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

So, we have now looked at the culture, history, and science of Tibetan Singing Bowls. Let’s now take a look at how to actually use a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

How To Use A Tibetan Singing Bowl for Meditation 

“Around Rim” Technique

  1. Hold the bowl in  your left hand. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length. Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  2. Tap the mallet on the bowl’s side to warm the bell
  3. Using an even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell almost like soup.
  4. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the singing bowl.
  5. Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.
  6. Meditate on the sound for twenty minutes (use our free online meditation timer)

 

 Advanced Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation Techniques

  1. “Wah Wah” : Most singing bowls allow you to use the Wah Wah technique. To do this:
  2. Start by using the technique above. This will get the bowl singing.
  3. Pull the mallet away from the bowl while it is still singing.
  4. Now, hold the bowl up to your top lip one inch away from your mouth.
  5. Now imagine that you’re saying “Wah. Wah. Wah.” Make the mouth shape of this sound while your mouth is an inch from the bowl.  This will change the sound of the bowl.

 

Water Bowl

  1. You can make a special effect by putting a little water on the bottom of the bowl. This makes the bowl sound like dolphins.
  2. Put three quarters of an inch of water into the bowl but do not get the rim wet.
  3. Hold the bowl in  your left hand. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length. Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  4. Tap the mallet on the bowl’s side to warm the bell
  5. Using an even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell almost like soup.
  6. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the singing bowl.
  7. Pull the mallet away
  8. Now tilt the bowl, causing the water inside to lap towards the rim.
  9. Now swirl the bowl. This will create  the sound of dolphins.

 

 

 This is the type of sound you can produce once you know how to use Tibetan singing bowls.

 

If you love meditative sounds, you will love our collection of free meditation music.

Are you a fan of Tibetan Singing Bowls? Do you know any special techniques would would like to share?

Leave a comment.

Paul Martin Harrison

Im on a mission to spread spirituality and enlightenment. How? By writing and teaching. You guys asked me to write a book that will teach you how to meditate properly and how to find enlightenment. Guess what? The book is out now. It's called Welcome To Silence : A Practical Guide To Mindfulness And Meditation.

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