Posted on March 09 2018
One of my favourite items on my online shop is the singing bowl. Not only are they gorgeous and unique, having been handcrafted in Nepal, but they also make for an unusual and fascinating purchase. I am asked about their history and what they can be used for frequently, and I have realised that many people, sadly, don’t know much about these ancient and charming instruments.
A bit of history
According to many, singing bowls date back to Buddhism 560-480 B.C. and formed part of a Buddhist tradition in India and Tibet. It is traditionally used to signal the beginning and end of meditation, and it’s said that when someone plays it, you are able to hear the quality of that person’s karma through the sound that they produce using the bowl. These origins are, however, mostly rumours and the true origin of the singing bowl remains a mystery.
Singing bowls have only appeared in western markets quite recently. In 1951, China resumed sovereignty over Tibet and began to destroy many monasteries and temples. During this time, many monks fled the country and were pressured by poverty into selling their belongings, leading to the influx of Tibetan singing bowls into western markets during the 1960s and 70s.
What are they used for?
Singing bowls produce beautiful sounds which are used for healing, meditation, and relaxation.
Healing: it is said that illness is a symptom of disharmony or imbalance within the body and mind, and that this can be healed by training the brain to move at different brainwave frequencies. This can be caused by the sound vibrations emanating from the singing bowls, as they impact our nervous system, engage our relaxation reflex, and suppress the stress and/or pain response.
Meditation and relaxation: singing bowls produce a rich mixture of harmonic tones, which can invoke a deep state of relaxation and oneness. This assists people into meditative trances and can help you to relieve stress and feel at peace.
How do I use one?
There is a knack to playing singing bowls, but it is also fairly simple to grasp.
Rest the singing bowl in the palm of your hand (if you have a smaller bowl, you would rest it on your fingertips). Hold the striker in the middle with all fingertips pointing downwards, and gently tap it against the side to “warm up” the bowl. Then, with an even pressure, rub the striker clockwise around the outside rim of the bowl using a full arm movement – like you’re stirring a big pan of soup! Try to keep the striker straight and remember to apply pressure.
Let the sound build up slowly as the singing bowl picks up the vibrations.
We sell singing bowls of different sizes, along with various other instruments here.