Thursday, September 29, 2011

Singing Bowls

Singing bowls are very enjoyable to play. The experience is both invigorating and relaxing. Take time out to play a singing bowl every day, either as part of meditation or just to enjoy a few minutes of peace. Sound is very beneficial to our our health and well being. The warm tone, gentle vibration and subtle harmonic overtones provide many subtle benefits. Give yourself this little gift every day. It is also a wonderful opportunity to share with others. You can play them in group mediation, with music, in the classroom or yoga studio. There are many uses for sound. Even if you don't have a reason, it's always a nice treat. For Buddhists, singing bowls offer a way to renew the Bodhisattva vow every day or can be used as part of your daily offerings. Think of the sound as an offering for the benefit of all living things.

Large singing bowls (9 inches or larger) can be heavy to hold, so leave it sitting on the floor or on a table. If placing a bowl on a hard surface, use a cushion to prevent friction. Large bowls have a wonderful grounding quality. The deep and slow vibrations are very calming and instantly relaxing. You can also hold a large bowl flat on your hands at a level in front of you where it feels easiest for you - around the level of your heart, solar plexus, in front of your belly or resting in your lap. Experiment holding it at different levels and notice how the vibration feels. A person can lay on the floor with bowls surrounding them for a sound healing session.
The traditional way to use singing bowls in meditation is to play a large bowl to begin meditation (as a calming influence) and a small bowl to end meditation (as a signal and wake up call).

Medium singing bowls (6-8 inches) offer the best balance of small size and full vibration. They are the ideal choice for an all around personal bowl. Hold a medium bowl on your fingertips, or flat on your palm. Be sure not to touch the sides of the bowl, which will dampen the sound.
Try lying down and putting the bowl on your torso. Couples love playing the bowls for each other. For professionals, large bowls are best on the floor around the client but medium and small bowls can go directly on the body.

Small bowls (under 6 inches) are the ultimate for portability and produce the highest pitches. Small bowls are lightweight, so be careful it doesn't fly out of your hand when you play it. Hold a very small bowl on your fingertips with the fingers spread slightly for easier balance. When singing a very small bowl, it helps to press the bowl against the mallet as you press the mallet against the bowl - as you go around the rim both hands can move.

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