I recently took my three crystal singing bowls to a friend’s house to play them for her and her family. On seeing the bowls, her Father made a classic “Dad Joke”: “So, are we eating our dinner out of these tonight?”. However, his joke wasn’t as ridiculous as it may first appear, as it is thought that Tibetan singing bowls were not actually originally intended to sing!
Due to the communist Chinese occupancy of Tibet in the 1950s, there is little existing written history about the Tibetan singing bowls. But many say that traditionally Tibetan monks would be gifted with a begging bowl as their only worldly item, and it would be used for eating their food, collecting water, and begging; it was only later down the line that the monks realised it was a useful tool for meditation, and that their bowl could be made to sing!
Most people believe that the crystal version of the singing bowls were first produced in the 1970s. However one was recently discovered in China that is around 1000 years old, which suggests that they were coveted by the rich Ancient Chinese families…but whether they were played or not is a mystery that remains to be solved…
Nowadays, Tibetan bowls and crystal singing bowls are becoming more and more common in yoga and meditation classes. They are used as part of meditations, and for “sound baths” in their own right. And this isn’t just because they sound appealing, there is hard scientific fact behind the sound.
When a singing bowl is played, it creates a vibration, this vibration is in the form of a sound wave. If we were to see the wave with the naked eye, we would see it travel from the bowl into the surrounding area (the waves from the crystal bowls can travel up to a mile uninterrupted!), and anything it comes into contact with will absorb the vibration. These vibrations are wonderful for anyone who is stressed, needs to relax, suffers with anxiety, or suffers with insomnia, as the sound waves help to induce the Theta brainwaves needed to help the human body completely relax (these are the brainwaves we need to induce sleep each night). There is much evidence of this type of sound being healing physically and emotionally for many people (but we’ll have to save that for another post!).
If you are interested to find out more, seek out a sound bath near you! It might just be the medicine you didn’t know you needed…
Picture from https://www.dharmashop.com