When I told an old friend that I was adding sound bowl balancing meditations to my writers retreat she was skeptical. “I am not into that hippy-dippy shit,” were her exact words. A little over a year ago I probably would have said the same thing.
I had my first sound bowl massage during my annual, danger-frought family visit in Germany. A good friend suggested I needed a sound bowl treatment to help me decompress. My inner cynic rebelled, but I was exhausted and surely it wouldn’t hurt to lie still for an hour whilst someone played a set of bronze bowls on and around my body.
Within moments of the bowls being struck by a felt-padded mullet, I felt deeply relaxed and thoughtless. I am an experienced meditation practitioner, but I’d never reached a state of deep relaxation so quickly and without any effort on my part.
My emotional exhaustion and the physical tension I was holding, all of it fell away as I surrendered to a comforting cocoon of sound vibrations. My partner Nigel, a professional musician with over 30 years experience teaching and playing music, described it as if music had been played on his body. It was more deeply relaxing than any conventional massage both of us had ever had.
Within four weeks of that first sound bowl massage we were on a plane to Kathmandu to train with Himalayan masters and to find out everything there is to know about sound bowl balancing.
So, what is Sound Bowl Balancing?
Sound bowls are so effective at creating a sense of deep calm, because the body is largely made up of water. Sound travels through water five times better than through air. A pebble dropped into a still body of water produces concentrically spreading ripples as every molecule of water is set in motion. Something similar happens when we strike a sound bowl.
Sound Bowl Balancing is a massage at the cellular level
Sound bowl balancing can take us into the Theta range of brainwaves, which is akin to light sleep or a deep meditative state. The rich sounds we hear and feel when the bowls are placed on or around the body, are a succession of frequencies that resonate in concentrically swelling sound waves, penetrating every cell of the body. Sound bowl balancing is quite literally a massage at the cellular level, aligning our out of tune frequencies.
Sound bowls make mind, body and soul feel in tune
Like an orchestra, our bodies vibrate at many different frequencies. If an instrument is out of tune, we feel off key and unbalanced. Too many discordant frequencies can affect our wellbeing, creating stress, anxiety and disease. Sound bowls vibrate our frequencies back into balance, making us feel in harmony with ourselves.
Medical practitioners who are open to alternative healing modalities are increasingly embracing sound as an effective way to support self healing, pain and trauma management. Mainstream medical teaching facilities like Duke University and the University of North Carolina have added programs that link body, mind and spirit to the treatment of cancer. Cancer prevention centers are utilizing sound as a vital part of the healing process for patients with astounding results.
Sound bowl balancing stimulates self awareness, creativity and focus
Surrendering to a state of deep relaxation, we become more aware of ourselves as we experience mind, body and soul coming into alignment. Quietening the busy mind helps us focus on the natural rhythm of the body.
Sound bowls synchronise the brainwaves in both hemispheres, resulting in clearer focus, insight and calm. Balanced brainwaves provide access to the left and right hemispheres of the brain, stimulating our creativity.
Sound Bowl Balancing at the Retreat
Group Sound Bath
We will start the day with gentle yoga, followed by a 15 minute sound bowl balancing meditation during savasana.
You will also be able to experience an hour-long sound bowl meditation in the afternoons before dinner to conclude your day of writing.
Group sound bowl meditations are also referred to as ‘sound bath’. You’ll lie in a circle or arc around the bowls your head towards the bowls. Chord structures are played with harmonic modulation between the chords. You’ll experience a true ‘sound bath’ where harmonies vibrate around and through you.
Individual Sound Bowl Massage
Every participant will also receive ONE individual sound bowl balancing massage. Individual sound bowl balancing sessions last between 45 – 60 minutes. The sound bowls are placed around your clothed body for a true surround sound effect. They are gently struck with a mallet or a bowl stick to produce resonating and restorative sound waves.
Additional individual sound bowl massages are available against a fee.
Meet Nigel Rowles your on-site Sound Bowl Master
Nigel is my partner in life and in business. Drawing on his four decade-long experience in the music industry, he has developed his own technique of using chord structures to harmonise the body’s frequencies to induce a deep state of relaxation. As a professional musician his interest lies not in the esoteric, but purely in the way the sound vibrations impact the body on a cellular level stimulating deep relaxation, insight and healing.
Find out more about the origin, history and uses of sound bowls on Nigel’s website: www.feelintune.com
Here’s a little taste for you. For best results, please use headphones.
You might like to lie down and close your eyes as you listen to this sound sample:
Here is a visual and sound journey for you:
Need any more reasons why you should join me on retreat in Bali?
Check out Reason #4:
Writing for Wellbeing in Bali: Find Your Voice, Release Your Stories, Unleash Your Creativity with yoga & sound bowl balancing
October 30 – November 6, 2017
(retreat starts the day after the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival)
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