How to play a Tibetan Singing Bowl and Risk factors
The Tibetan singing bowl goes by different names and is often connected with Tibetan and Buddhist culture. Depending on a particular location it may be called a Meditation bowl, a Himalayan singing bowl, or a Prayer bowl. A singing bowl is a musical instrument that vibrates and produces sound when it is struck, rubbed, and shaken. The singing bowl comes in different shapes and sizes. Smaller bowls produce more subtle sounds while larger bowls produce a profound high vibrational sound.
There are mainly two methods of playing the sound bowl, striking and rimming. Each method produces a distinct sound. It is commonly used in religious and spiritual settings. It is also used in sound therapy sessions to heal and treat different physiological and emotional ailments. Sound healing restores disturbing frequencies in the mind, body, and soul and aligns them. Playing the bowls creates a balancing effect that synchronizes the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The Tibetan singing bowls are therefore used in yoga and meditation practices due to their ability to bring peace and tranquility.
History Of Tibetan Singing Bowl
The enigmatic history of the Tibetan sound bowl began long before the beginning of modern civilization. Singing bowls are considered one of the oldest handicrafts. The earliest sound bowls were made of pure copper and used for both musical and healing purposes. They were mostly made in artisan homes but the chain of knowledge of how to make them broke eventually. After some time, sound bowls were made of brass which is a combination of various earth metals like copper. A 2000-year-old brass singing bowl was found as an anecdotal reference.
Singing bowls were mainly found in monasteries but monks were not allowed to talk about the bowls. The Buddhist and Tibetan scriptures did not hold any information about sound bowls. Stories tell that it was only used during private spiritual ceremonies by monks. During a crisis during the 1930s monks were forced to sell their valuable singing bowls which made them propagate around the world.
How to play a Tibetan Bowl?
Tibetan soung healing bowls gently massage the cells and improve physical and emotional well-being. It is played with mallets and strikers. When the mallet touches the sides of the bowl, it creates a vibration. One can change the frequency of the sound produced, by altering the pressure and speed of the mallet. A new singing bowl is paired with a padded mallet. Initially, when one starts to play the bowl, the mallet will be smooth on both ends. However, the mallet gradually has small grooves that help it to grip the rim better. So, it is recommended to play the bowl for about five minutes, which is enough to break in the mallet. As the bowl is played more, it creates a smoother sound. The two common ways of playing a tibetan bowl are striking and rimming. Striking is the easiest way, and rimming although challenging at first can be mastered with continuous practice.
- Place the bowl in the non-dominant hand and the mallet in the dominant hand.
- Hold the mallet and strike the bowl’s mid-exterior.
- It is suggested to strike the bowl, let the vibration fully dissolve, and then hit it again.
- Similarly, place the bowl in the non-dominant hand and the mallet in the dominant hand.
- With your thumb and forefinger, form a gentle grip at the center of the mallet.
- Strike the bowl lightly on the mid exterior and immediately place the mallet vertically near the rim of the bowl before the vibration subsides and circle the rim clockwise.
- It is crucial to move the mallet in circular motions as soon as it hits the rim, or the bowl will not be able to produce the singing appropriately.
- Move the full arm around the bowl at least five times to build the overtone.
- As the overtones increase, slow down the speed and establish a firmer touch between the rim and the mallet which will help to produce the vibrations.
How to use a Tibetan Bowl safely?
- It is often advised to avoid lying down too close to the instrument, as it may affect the nervous system.
- Pregnant women are advised to avoid singing bowls for the initial 120 days of pregnancy. They must lie down in a position that is safe for the baby.
- Individuals experiencing epilepsy may stay away as the vibrations may trigger a seizure.
- In case of any serious health issues, it is very important to consult the doctor before attending a Tibetan bowl healing session to ensure physical and emotional safety.