A Yoga lesson or a meditation can be initiated and finished particularly well by applying a sound bowl. Depending on the sound and vibration, we perceive the sound at different points in the body. Feel it.
Singing Bowls are used as aids for ritual practice, in meditation and also in yoga. Depending on sound and vibration, singing bowls differ in effect. They can be calming and relaxing, harmonizing or stimulating. They can also be used in therapeutic work. Our singing bowls come from the Northern India and Nepal; they are characterised with the high quality of craftsmanship. They are made by hand, according to the old tradition, from complex metal alloys and impress with fascinating dimensions of sound. The origin of singing bowls is often associated with Tibet and Nepal, but they are also commonly used in Zen in Japan.
Working with a singing bowl is a possibility to focus completely on one of our senses. While we use incense sticks we deliberately concentrate on our sense of smell, and in the same way we can focus on our sense of hearing when using a singing bowl. Other objects like thankas, flowers or statues can be implemented to help us to focus on the sense of seeing.
Singing Bowls come in many different designs, from very simple up to those that are decorated with religious images and/or sacred text. When the singing bowls are made well, the decoration does not affect the quality of sound. When the bowl is of lower quality, though, you are sure to notice the difference in sound.
There are many myths around singing bowls. For example a popular one is that singing bowls have to be made from seven or nine metal alloys in order to be genuine. Yet this is not true. Good singing bowls of high quality made in Nepal are made of a metal alloy that is known in the West as “metal bronze for bells”. This alloy is made from about 80% copper and 20% tin; it can contain many further metals. This can vary depending on the manufacturer.
The most important characteristic of a singing bowl is its depth of sound and its spectrum of sound. A good singing bowl has a harmonious tone sequence which can be felt as very pleasant when listening. A good singing bowl can also be recognized by the length of their vibration. The longer it can vibrate, the better is the quality of the bronze it is made of.
1. Sit down in the meditation posture that you like best.
2. Put the singing bowl in front of you on a small cushion or hold it casually on the palm of one hand, while conducting the clapper with your other hand. Take time to slide into a smooth and relaxing rhythm of breathing.
3. Once you feel comfortable and relaxed, gently strike the singing bowl.
4. Listen to the sound of the bowl. Only notice the sound without trying to follow the slowly vibrating and waning sound.
5. Let the sound die away until it has completely faded. When the sound is gone, remain sitting quietly and feel your breath.
6. You can repeat this exercise as much as you like. Feel free to experiment. You can also strike the bowl again before the sound has disappeared. Try to notice the sequence of tones or the difference of tones. A singing bowl is a wonderful tool to mark the beginning or end of a yoga or meditation session. In Zen a singing bowl is frequently used to structure a whole meditation session into several sequences. This way, no talking is needed during a session. Singing bowls can also be used to improve the atmosphere in a yoga or meditation session.
Enjoy your practice of listening!