Coming from a religious Buddhist family, I'd been seeing these 'bowls' around since quite a time. However it never appealed to me. To me, it was always just a decorative piece my grandmother adorned. One afternoon I was taking some Chinese friends of my father out for a visit to Boudhanath. One of them entered a shop and called me along to help her pick one. The shopkeeper explained to us how one bowl was different from another. The bowls were called by several names, prayer bowls, meditation bowl, yoga bowls, standing bowls, resting bowls etc. I was fascinated and amazed by the varieties that existed. What had seemed like a simple choice among designs of bowls, was now about tones, pitches, material, purpose and origin. We bought one that day and I returned home to my grandmother to understand her attachment towards these Tibetan Singing Bowl.
Surprised at my curiosity and yet excited to share her thoughts my grandmother reached over to get her bowl. She then asked me to pay very close attention to the sound next. she rubbed a wooden stick around the edges and it produced a long resonating lingering sound that slowly grew louder and louder as it was rubbed. She explained how the sound and vibration that flowed through the bowl had healing properties. The satisfaction that she felt while playing it reflected clear on her face. It was a kind of recreational healing therapy for her.
Upon further research I discovered varieties of singing bowls ranging from Handmade Singing Bowl, machine made singing bowls, crystal singing bowls, antique singing bowls, chakra singing bowls and so on. The uses and purposes of the bowls varied too. While some were used for meditation, others were used for storage of grains, music and some were simply collected as antiques. However the most noted quality of the bowl was definitely the soothing sound it created. Next I wondered how do you choose and use a singing bowl?
The best way to select the right singing bowl is to decide what you’re going to use your bowl for and determine the amount you’re willing to spend on it. Each bowl is uniquely crafted and varies in design, weight and sound. The prices of the bowls will differ according to the type of bowl you choose. You can get both cheap singing bowls as well as exquisite collector’s pieces in the market. To make your bowls more special you can add accessories such as cushion, drawstring bag, lokta paper boxes, strikers, mallets and rollers too. However be sure your vendor is a genuine seller before you make a final decision to make sure you get the best value for your product.
How to use/play singing bowl
You can make the singing bowls sing or use it with two techniques. You can either gently hit/strike the bowl or ring it by running the striker against the outer rim of the bowl.
To play the bowl by striking it: (steps)
- Place bowl on the cushion or palm, make sure your fingers do not touch it on any sides.
- Hold the striker and gently swing it and strike it near the upper edge.
- Try it out in different environments and location.
To play the bowl by ringing it: (steps)
- Hold the striker against the upper edges (rims) of the singing bowl and slowly run it around with even pressure.
- Try it by changing the position of the striker and speed to discover the variance in the sound.
Multiple health benefits of using a singing bowl
Singing bowls create a pulsation of sound to entrain our brain. They can aid in correcting chakras. The sound, vibrations and frequencies produced by it can help maintain unbalanced chakras and bringing them back to normal functioning. The vibrations also reduce stress, anxiety, helps control blood pressure, and improve blood circulation and flow. It stimulates the immune system, fibromyalgia and psoriasis in individuals that meditate. It helps us relax, while also increasing mental and emotional clarity. For individuals who use it regularly, it promotes stillness, happiness and well being too.
Cleaning and Caring of a Singing Bowl
Your singing bowl needs to be timely cleaned, to maintain its sonic sparkle. To remove the caked dust and marks, use white vinegar and a soft cloth. Alternatively, you can also use lemon juice mixed with warm water and a soft cloth. Traditionally, some people in Nepal also use ashes mixed with mustard oil to clean the bowl. You can also use a mild, scratch-free brass polish if available. Ensure that your bowl is fully dried after cleaning.
To avoid scratches and damages, do not rub or grind the bowls on any hard surface. While traveling packs your bowls carefully and handles them with great care. Be very cautious about dropping it on the hard surface, as the bowl can break or get permanently damaged.
If you’ve visited Nepal, I’m sure you’ve noticed these hollow musical items at popular tourist destinations like Boudhanath, Bhaktapur, Thamel, Lumbini or even Lakeside at Pokhara. The vendors probably must've even brought it to your nose. These unique and beautiful pieces are not just souvenirs from Nepal but can also be used to add aesthetic beauty to your homes and Contact genuine vendors and you’re sure to find the best deals!