I was very fortunate to be able to take two workshops with singing bowls Master Teacher Suren Shrestha and some of his students at the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art in NYC this past weekend: Vibrational Sound Therapy (1.5 hours) and Learn to Heal with Singing Bowls (3 hours).
The workshops were both didactic and experiential. We learned various ways to play singing bowls and ting-sha (Tibetan cybals or chimes), a bit about their history and how to use them for healing, and about the body’s Chakra System (both the Indian Vedic and Tibetan systems).
The best singing bowls are made of a special seven-metal alloy of gold, silver, iron, mercury, tin, copper and lead. Each bowl is tuned to the specific note that affects one of the body’s seven chakras. The art of making traditional Tibetan singing bowls has been handed down from generation to generation within family clans. Craftsmen in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal today are reviving the ancient techniques, traced back to the time of the Buddha – 2,500 years ago.
These singing bowls, when struck on the side or made to sing, produce multiphonic and polyharmonic sounds which are unique, complex, subtle … and healing. (Shrestha, 2013)
Suren grew up in the small village of Khandabari in Nepal, 45 miles from Mount Everest in the Himalayas, and now lives in Boulder, CO. In Khandabari, people were healed by herbalists, monks and shamans using drums, gongs and mantras. He learned from them how to practice the ancient techniques using sound and vibration and is now a Master Teaching traveling the world to educate others.
This is his website, including a calendar of his workshops.
HOW TO MAKE A TIBETAN BOWL SING
Set the bowl in the palm of either hand without touching the sides of the bowl as that is where the vibration occurs.
Holding a striker with an even pressure in the other hand, rub it in a circular motion on the outside rim of the bowl. Sometimes it’s easier to strike the bowl first to get the vibrations going before rubbing.
When the sound becomes full, remove the striker from the bowl and let the bowl continue to sing without touching its sides.
Here’s a short video (4:01) demonstrating some basic techniques for playing Tibetan singing bowls.
And a longer video (10:00) of a Singing Bowl Meditation: Crown Chakra Set.
You can also use a striker on the outside of the bowl to ring the bowl like a bell. An upward motion towards the rim works best.
TING-SHA (TIBETAN CYMBALS)
This short video (0.25) demonstrates another Tibetan vibrational technique, Ting-sha Cymbals being played.
What is Sound and Vibration Healing?
Everyone has a vibration that is a signature of their health and wellbeing. You could think of it as a natural results of the processes that ran our physical bodies as well as your mental, emotional, and subtle bodies. Similar to a musical instrument that can fall out of tune through use, our bodies can also fall out of vibrational harmony and potentially develop illness. Stress and negativity create blockages of a healthy flow of energy, showing up in the energy field around our body as lower energy disturbances at first, and later as illness in our physical body.
Sound and vibration can be used to re-tune us to health and one of the most powerful modalities for this is the use of Tibetan singing bowls. When there is a deep relaxation through soothing, resonant sound, the body is affected on a cellular level, opening up the flow of energy to move us back toward vibrational alignment with health. Sound can help us shift our energy frequency from lower to higher, removing the lower frequencies of emotions such as fear, anger, and resentment. If fact, whenever you are immersed in lower frequency emotions you can simply chant “Om” to elevate your energy.The sound of the bowls is calming, and they are frequently used as a meditation aid as the sound induces a sense of peacefulness.
Quantum physics has proven that everything has vibration, whether it’s a table, a chair, a person, a planet, or a cosmos. And wherever there is a sound, there is a vibration. When we use sound coupled with intention, which is the most important aspect of healing, we can direct sound vibration to raise the body’s vibrational frequency.
Negative energy can make us physically ill or mentally depressed. Each bowl emits a soothing vibration that radiates out negative energy, which restricts your ability to reach your full physical, spiritual, and mental health….
Healing through sound and vibration has been known to reduce stress, improve concentration, reduce blood pressure, stimulate life force flow in the body, improve immunity, harmonize the chakras with the energy field, heighten intuition and perception, synchronize the brain hemispheres, remove mental and emotional negativity, and enhance creativity.
Most importantly, stress is at the root of many of our twenty-first century diseases and it’s through relaxation of the body that balance, health, and happiness can be restored… As much as 70 percent of the human body is made up of water, so when you strike a singing bowl next to your body, the vibration makes a mandala (a pattern) in your body, which is healing and relaxing.
– From the Introduction to How to Heal with Singing Bowls, by Suren Shrestha, pages 13-15
HOW TO HEAL WITH SINGING BOWLS
I recommend Suren Shrestha’s book, How to Heal with Singing Bowls for learning more about this kind of vibrational therapy.
Suren is donating all profits from this book, along with a large portion of the proceeds from the healing workshops he teaches in Boulder and around the world, to the Aama Orphanage Education Foundation (AOEF) to build a new orphanage in his native village in Nepal. The Foundation’s goal is to provide quality education to orphans of Eastern Nepal, giving priority to orphaned girls.
Here’s more information on the Aama Orphanage Education Project.
TIBETAN BOWLS USED IN HEALING AND MEDITATION
There are many ways to use Tibetan singing bowls in healing. Here are some examples:
ON AND AROUND THE BODY
AS AN ADJUNCT TO ACUPUNCTURE
AS AN ADJUNCT TO MASSAGE
ON THE HANDS
ON THE FEET
INVERTED ON THE HEAD
Warm water inside the bowl helps transmit the positive energy of its harmonics to the client. (Shrestha, 2013)
TIBETAN SINGING BOWLS IN WESTERN MEDICINE
Western healers, including respected, board certified physicians, have taken an interest in the ancient art of using sound to heal.
Dr. Mitchell L. Gaynor, a well-respected oncologist practicing in New York City, considers healing with sound as integrative medicine – a complement to it, not an alternative. He distinguishes between curing and healing. To cure means physically to fix something, whereas healing refers to wholeness, a union of the mind, body and spirit. He compares sound healing to music therapy.
In “The Healing Power of Sound” he cites studies indicating that music lowers blood pressure, reduces cardiac complications among patients who have recently suffered heart attacks, reduces stress hormones during medical testing and boosts natural opiates. (Gaynor, 2002) (Rosenbloom, 2005)
Researchers from the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Centenary Institute in Sydney, Australia, have shown that 97% of human DNA programs or encodes proteins in our bodies. One of the researchers said, “this discovery, involving what was previously referred to as ‘junk’, opens up a new level of gene expression control …”
These findings form a scientific basis for the claim that we can reprogram our DNA to heal ourselves with vibrations. Numerous scientists – in the tradition of 1,000’s of years of spiritual adepts – claim light and sound can alter our DNA, directly influencing our biology.
Russian linguists, Dr Pjotr Garajajev and Vladimir Poponin found that DNA follows patterns and rules similar to human language.
Biologist Dr David Deamer and Susan Alexjander, an MA in music, have discovered that DNA makes its own beautiful music – on its own, before any attempts to alter it. The pair measured tha molecular vibrations of DNA, recording it using an infrared spectrophotometer. They exposed each section of DNA to infrared light and measured the wavelength it absorbed to determine its sound frequency. Alexjander described the combinations of frequencies as “hauntingly beautiful” music. “… they are just stunning. It sounds alive to me.” (Health Freedom Alliance, 2014)
MEDITATION ON ANTIQUE TIBETAN SINGING BOWLS
As a bonus, here’s a short video (4:30) of master percussionist Emile de Leon of Temple Sounds playing some large, high quality antique Tibetan singing bowls.
IPHONE SINGING BOWLS APP
If you’ve fallen in love with Tibetan singing bowls, have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, and want to be able to hear them wherever you are, there’s an app for that.
Bowls – Authentic Tibetan Singing Bowls
By Oceanhouse Media
Compatibility:Requires iOS 5.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
$1.99 in iTunes
Gaynor, M.L. (2002). The Healing Power of Sound: Recovery from Life-Threatening Illness Using Sound, Voice, and Music. See: http://www.amazon.com/The-Healing-Power-Sound-Life-Threatening/dp/1570629552
Health Freedom Alliance – Alice (2014). Science Theory Shows We Can Reprogram Our DNA to Heal Ourselves with Vibration. See: http://www.healthfreedoms.org/science-theory-shows-we-can-reprogram-our-dna-to-heal-ourselves-with-vibration/
Rosenbloom, S. (11/24/2005). What’s the Buzz? Sound Therapy. The New York Times. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/24/fashion/thursdaystyles/24sounders.html?pagewanted=all
Shrestha, S. (2013). How to Heal with Singing Bowls. See: http://surenshrestha.com/singingbowlsbook.shtml
© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.