Have you noticed the hype around Himalayan singing bowls lately? From New York to Bali, sound healing is touted as the latest cool thing to do alongside yoga and mindfulness meditation.
Feeling a bit skeptical about it all? Don’t worry, so did I just a few years back.
I had my first sound bowl meditation during my annual, emotionally charged family visit to Germany. A good friend suggested I needed a sound bowl balancing treatment to help me decompress. My inner cynic rebelled. I wasn’t into any of that New Age stuff. But surely it wouldn’t hurt to lie still for an hour whilst someone played a set of bronze bowls on and around my body?
What can I say…it was one of those life-changing moments. Within moments of the bowls being struck by a felt-padded mallet, I felt deeply relaxed and thoughtless. I’ve spent a lot of time on the meditation cushion, but I’d never reached a state of deep relaxation so quickly and without any effort.
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. It was pure bliss. I didn’t even have to make an effort to stop my thinking mind from running wild. I was instantly at peace.
My partner Nigel who is a professional musician with 40 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.
Meet Nigel Rowles
the creator of the original Write Your Journey sound bowl meditations
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. He plays chord structures with harmonic modulation between the chords.
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.
Together we offer so called ‘sound baths’ in our workshops at Nomad Yoga, Hoi An and in our retreats. We find resonating sound waves to be restorative. It’s one of the most effective way to switch from busy doing mode to being mode. It works really well when combined with Yin Yoga and writing. The inner stillness sound balancing generates helps writers access inner voice. I use it both with personal writing prompts and with creative writing assignments.
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:
Curious for more?
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If you like the experience, check out my new e-course MINDFUL JOURNALING.
It starts end of April. More info over here or click on the pic.
Journey to Self, Vietnam September 8 – 15, 2018, EARLY BIRD until March 31st.
Join us in Hoi An, Vietnam for a week of writing and deep relaxation with Yin Yoga and sound bowl balancing.
EARLY BIRD expires at the end of March. Be quick, spots are limited on this retreat.