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A traditional Tibetan Singing Bowl goes by many names. Over the millennia, they have been humbly referred to as a: singing bowl, himalayan bowl, singing bell, standing bell, meditation bell, sound bowl, vibration bowl and many others.
The history of these instruments isn’t clear; they are believed to be at least 3,000 years old. Made originally by pre-buddhist cultures, they may have been created as mundane, daily use serving bowls that happened to be made with perfect harmony. A lesson to remember in an era of single use, throw away products --- these tools serve multiple purposes in one’s home, studio, classroom, temple or church. And can last for generations.
When a singing bowl is played, it will produce a special, resonant tone that will be unique to that bowl’s history, shape, size, weight and dimension. Each bowl is as unique as you are.
There is a concept in neuroscience called “plasticity,” that refers to your brain’s ability to change, even as an adult. Regular singing bowl users report that practice with their bowl allows them to “train their brain” to access peaceful states more easily every time they practice.
The culture of singing bowls is filled with non specific and vague reasons why they are useful. A simple way to understand the real benefits of singing bowls, is to understand what’s at stake.
When it’s heard that these special tools raise your “frequency” or “vibrations” it can be taken to mean that literally. We can adjust the electrical frequencies of our brains and bodies using special, resonant sound instruments.
There are 5 main frequencies that your brain operates on (these are electrical signals, your body is electric!) and is a key ingredient in the magic behind a singing bowl.
Beta (14-40 Hz) – We live in beta 95% of our waking hours. This is the logical part of our brain. The grinding, thinking, reasoning and logic. In this state, you may feel trapped in your thoughts, overthinking and anxious. It’s also the frequency that evolved to keep us alive and alert - we couldn’t very well be off meditating if we were looking to avoid predators and find food!
Alpha (7.5 – 14 Hz) – In this frequency, you are relaxed, alert and may feel “in flow.” This state is regularly reached during quiet, eyes closed meditation.
Theta (4 – 7.5 Hz) Theta waves will have you experience relaxation, a feeling of being open, guided and creative. It is interesting that there earth’s frequency vibrates at 7.83 hz. During theta, you become reconnected with the part of you that has existed on this earth for millennia. Harmonious and free. This frequency may be ideal for visualization exercises and re-patterning your brain. Regular use of singing bowls at the right frequency will allow you to access theta while using your bell, and then allow you to access it on your own, over time. Your brain can be trained!
Delta (.5 – 4Hz) Body restorative state, most commonly achieved during sleep.
Gamma (over 40 Hz) Gamma is the rarest of brain frequencies, most regularly measured in monks practiced in the art of meditation.
A lot of the “magic” behind regular bowl practice is because you can use these tones to generate theta waves in your brain. Here’s some of the benefits of why regular Theta brainwaves are good for you.
Regular use of your cell phone and technology have you caught in a cycle of constant beta brainwaves - logic, thinking and overthinking. Use of a himalayan singing bowl can help you access theta and alpha brainwaves and open you up to insight and calm, beyond the rational mind. Another consequence of experiencing a sound bath or using a singing bowl in your own practice, is that it allows us to temporarily place technology to the side and focus on the present.
Experiencing constant, and chronic, levels of stress takes a toll on your body’s ability to heal itself. In the emerging field of epigenetics, we are learning that the environment one’s body is in affects the genetic expression of disease states. By using a regular meditative practice like a singing bowl, we can place our body into an “environment” more receptive to healing,
Theta brainwave are found in talents creators of the world. Folks like Albert Einstein, Aristotle, Salvador Dali and many more have become known for their regular power nap schedule. Creative insight often strikes at the most interesting times - walking up out of a nap, or a deep sleep with that “AHA” moment is a common occurrence. And it’s because napping takes one out of a beta state, and into the states of brain that are more receptive to big ideas. We can use a singing bowl to access these states while awake.
While you don’t remember everything that’s ever happened to you with your logical brain, there is a part of you that always has deep access to this. Operating in more beneficial brain states opens you to the collective intelligence that you have access to - beyond your rational brain.
A singing bowl can be used for a wide range of things; some of those include: