Introducing the Tibetan singing bowl
There is saying that you don’t choose your bowl, rather, your bowl chooses you, and for me this is true. I didn’t go out searching for a Tibetan Singing Bowl and I hadn’t intended to use one in class, but a friend had moved away from the island, and left a few personal belongings behind with me. One of these was the bowl. Around the same time, I’d been listening to some music that used gongs, bowls and vibrations and also studying the meaning of vibrations. I thought it was very interesting, that in a way the bowl speaks the same language we do in yoga – all about healing vibrations and entering a meditative state.As many of my students know, a few months ago I began to introduce the use of a Tibetan singing bowl into our daily classes. At the very end of each class, as students settle into their final Savasana, I use the bowl to create a beautiful vibration and sound to help ease you into the concentration that brings you closer to meditation.
The vibration and sound is created by running a mallet around the rim of the metal bowl, which creates a harmonic frequency – the ‘singing’ type sound the bowls are named after. The frequency each bowl emits is unique to that bowl and its user. I like to use these sounds to signify the beginning of the concentration period during all of my classes, and also at the end of CORE 40 Ashtanga classes – in a very, very gentle manner as we bring students back to the present space on the mat. I like the peaceful atmosphere it creates in the room and I think it makes entering relaxation easier.
Bowls come in all shapes and sizes. From the very small, to the enormous, full body sized. Mine is small, but big enough to fit in both hands and powerful enough to fill the studio with its healing vibrational frequency. Round, hand hammered, shiny and brimming with energy, it’s also a thing of beauty. It’s interesting to note these bowls were not always used for rituals or sound healing – they have also been used in the past by the Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian people while begging for food.
And so I began to experiment with using the bowl and before long I felt a connection with it and I wanted to share this feeling and vibration with my students. So yes, you could say, the bowl chose me!
Another saying surrounding Tibetan singing bowls, is that it’s not just about the bowl – it is also about the user. What this means is, it is also about the energy and intentions with which I create the sounds and vibrations as I send them out into our studio. The significance of the three chimes I create can be interpreted in many ways, and how you choose to receive the message will depend on your own beliefs, faith, lifestyle or practice style. For example, they could represent the mind, body and spirit. Perhaps it is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Or it may serve as a reminder of the three nadis – ida, pingala and sushumna – the energy pathways in the body.
Or maybe you just choose hear a pretty, peaceful sound that helps you relax, and that’s totally OK.