The Power of Sound Healing: Your Guide to Playing Singing Bowls from Seasons of Sound

Want to level up your meditation practice or dive into the world of sound healing? Seasons of Sound: Sound Healing for All of Life’s Seasons by Julie Afsahi and Jessica Cross is your new go-to guide. Perfect for singing bowl beginners and seasoned practitioners alike, this book is packed with practical tips and inspiring content.

Inspired by nature’s seasons and the sacred sound of Om, Seasons of Sound teaches you everything you need to know about creating both solo and group sound bath experiences. From seasonal affirmations and guided meditations to journal prompts and trauma-sensitive group sound bath ideas, this book is a treasure trove of inspiration for those interested in deepening their sound healing wisdom.

Today, we’re sharing an excerpt from Seasons of Sound, specifically the chapter on how to play a singing bowl. Julie and Jessica will walk you step by step through playing both metal and crystal singing bowls. You’ll learn essential techniques plus energetic insights, like the significance of playing clockwise versus counterclockwise, so you can enrich your sound healing practice.

How to Play a Singing Bowl

There are several methods for holding a singing bowl, and it is important for individuals to determine the most appropriate one for their unique needs. It may take some practice to identify the optimal position, but it is crucial to prioritize individual comfort and tailor the approach accordingly.

singing bowl for sound healing

While playing singing bowls can be a calming experience, it can also be physically challenging, mainly when performed over an extended period of time. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a solid foundation that is comfortable and conducive to successful playing. Taking the time to develop an appropriate foundation can significantly enhance your overall experience and reduce the risk of discomfort.

Every singing bowl comprises three significant sections: the rim, the wall, and the base. The distinct sounds produced by singing bowls are influenced by the wall’s curvature and the base’s shape, leading to a wide array of sonic variations. Notably, the thickness of the rim, where the primary resonance occurs, holds the most significant influence on the bowl’s sound profile.

3 Ways to Position Your Metal Singing Bowl

  • The bowl rests on the tips of your fingertips: Holding the bowl using your fingertips is more sustainable with small, lightweight bowls. You may also hold the fingertips slightly apart to create a larger surface upon which the bowl can rest. This is for metal singing bowls only.

  • The bowl rests in your palm: An open palm creates a larger surface in which to hold the bowl on fingertips opened wide or slightly folded together, without touching the bowl. This is for metal singing bowls only.

  • The bowl rests on the ground or on a cushion: Place the bowl on the floor, on a cushion, or on a sturdy surface directly in front of you. Take note of your seat to avoid tension in the lower back while playing for long periods.

Other Objects Contributing to the Sound

Take a few moments to look around the bowl to ensure that your fingers are not touching and are not wrapped around the sides of the bowl, This will limit the vibrations and muffle the sound. 

Jewelry will contribute to the sounds you create. Removing all rings, bracelets, malas, and even long necklaces when playing is recommended to avoid clanking sounds against the bowl. Silicone rings are a nice alternative to traditional wedding rings.

singing bowl for yoga

Key Techniques for Playing Your Singing Bowl

The beauty of singing bowls lies in their ability to produce a rich and soothing sound when played correctly. To achieve this, metal bowls can be played in two ways – through a measured strike or by singing thebowl. We’ve also included striking and singing techniques for playing your crystal singing bowl.

How to Perform the Measured Strike on a Metal Bowl

  • Hold the bowl in your non-dominant hand or place it on its cushion on the floor.

  • Pull back the mallet one to two inches and prepare to strike the bowl just below the rim in a single motion.

  • A measured strike results in a full, strong tone in response to the strike, and the bowl’s vibration will match the intensity of the sound.

  • As the tone shifts from audible to inaudible, it becomes clear that although the fundamental tone soon diminishes, the resonance of the bowl continues long after the strike.

  • No two strikes are the same! What did the previous strike have to offer? What would you like to adjust for the next strike? Allow a count of five to 20 in between strikes.

How to Sing a Metal Bowl

  • Hold the bowl in the chosen position or place it on the floor or cushion. Ensure the bowl is not touching objects that willdampen the sound.

  • Select either a wooden or a suede-covered mallet. Place the playing surface of the mallet one to two inches below the rim. Angle the handle a few degrees toward the interior of the bowl.

  • Begin to move the mallet slowly in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Maintain even pressure as friction begins to create sound.

  • Listen closely. An inaudible sound may indicate not enough pressure, and a loud vibration of the mallet may indicate too much pressure.

Singing the Bowl Clockwise and Counterclockwise

The concept of clockwise and counterclockwise movement is intertwined with the idea of energy flow in the human body in certain spiritual practices. 

In many traditions, clockwise movement is believed to signify receivingor gathering of energy. It is often associated with expansion, growth, and manifestation. On the other hand, counterclockwise movement is often seen as a way to release, disperse, or let go. 

It’s worth emphasizing that the interpretations of clockwise and counterclockwise movements are subjective and can depend on cultural, spiritual, or personal perspectives. We’ll follow the concept of clockwise movement to receive and the counterclockwise movement to release in the practices that follow.

Seasons of Sound: Sound Healing for All of Life's Seasons

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Ready to get started with sound healing? Grab your copy of Seasons of Sound: Sound Healing for All of Life’s Seasons by Julie Afsahi and Jessica Cross now. It’s time to enhance your wellness routine with the power of a singing bowl!

Order your copy on Amazon and start your sound healing journey today.

How to Play a Crystal Singing Bowl

  • Ensure that you have the bowl placed on a stable surface on top of the bowl’s rubber ring or a soft cushion to prevent it from slipping. If using a cushion, ensure that the cushion is not dampening the sound.

  • Hold the mallet gently near the base with your dominant hand near the base, allowing the shaft to rest between your middle and ring fingers. Experiment with different grip positions to find the one that feels most comfortable for you. Consider the material of the mallet when playing, as different materials resonate in different ways. Silicone and suede are most suitable for crystal singing bowls.

  • To strike the bowl, gently tap the outside rim of the crystal singing bowl with a suede or silicone crystal bowl mallet. Aim to strike the bowl with even pressure, allowing five to 20 seconds between strikes. Listen to the sound produced by the bowl, allowing it to resonate and fill the space. To sing the bowl, place the mallet at the rim of the bowl and slightly angle the mallet toward the center of the bowl. Begin circling the rim with the mallet and apply gentle pressure.

  • Experiment with the speed and pressure to find the sweet spot that creates a sustained and harmonious sound. As you play, try to maintain a smooth and continuous motion. An indistinct or barely audible sound can be an indication of insufficient pressure, and an excessive vibration produced by the mallets suggests that too much pressure is being applied. 

Remember, playing a singing bowl is a personal journey, and it’s important to explore and discover your own unique style and techniques. With practice and patience, you’ll develop a deeper connection with the bowl and harness its healing vibrations.

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Sierra Vandervort

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I’m a writer, yoga teacher, and community builder located in the PNW.

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