This summer, my friend traveled back home to Nepal. She was kind enough to purchase an authentic, crystal singing bowl and bring it back to me. Since I was already obsessing over the sounds and benefits of these glorious bowls, I wanted to incorporate sound baths in my yoga practice.
Sound therapy, with Tibetan singing bowls, is an ancient form of regeneration. The first bowls were made from an alloy of various metals and were used nearly 6000 years ago in the Far East.
Besides their traditional use for meditation, Tibetan singing bowls are used for deep relaxation and muscle regeneration, to relieve pain in the joints and muscles, to ease pain related to sciatica, the digestive system, headaches and migraines or spine injuries, to improve circulation, release tension or blockages, to open the energy flow, and eliminate the toxins from the body.
When we relax with the sounds of singing bowls our concentration improves, and our emotional tension and blockages are eased. The sound with its vibrations can ease mental or emotional pain (low self-esteem, worries, fear, anger, anxiety, depression, insomnia). Tibetan singing bowls and their unique tones are used to stabilize blood pressure, to ease asthma related issues, to renew the functioning of the adrenal glands, to open and stabilize the meridians and to improve the synaptic responses in our brain. They also help children with hyperactive disorders, and they stimulate the immune system.
Wanting to experience these amazing benefits firsthand, I signed up for a sound bath last month. The teacher had ten or so various sizes, shapes, and colors of bowls. Many were made with precious gemstones.
Halfway into the practice, while in sukhasana, my fingers began to feel as though electricity was coursing through them. I wasn’t in pain. I sat with the sensations. The flow of energy was incredible. Later when our teacher switched from playing the sound bowls to using a chime, as she walked among the mats, I saw the brightest orange color, in my mind’s eye, I have ever seen. I opened my eyes only because I thought someone turned on the lights in the room.
Scientific studies have proven that Tibetan singing bowls produce specific waves. Scientific analysis of electromagnetic brain waves has confirmed the existence of clearly recognizable waves which are connected to different states of consciousness. It is known that the brain in its normal, everyday state produces beta waves which are involved in conscious thought and logical thinking. Alpha waves play an important role in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Meditation may increase alpha waves. Theta waves are typical for the state of slumber, whereas delta waves are present only during the deepest levels of relaxation and restorative, healing sleep. When the waves produced by singing bowls were recorded, scientists discovered wave patterns which are the same as the alpha waves produced by our brain. These waves give a feeling of deep relaxation.
Three or so weeks after my sound bath, I realized that a summertime, depression-cloud had lifted. I wonder now if the sound bath precipitated that healing.
“And I heard a tremendous sound coming out of heaven, like the roar of a waterfall and like the ear splitting sound of a thunderclap. The sound of music that I heard was like the sound of many harpists playing their harps. And they were singing a wonderful new song before the throne, in front of the four living creatures, and in front of the twenty-four elders.” – Rev 14:2
Sound and vibration are life. It is a beautiful gift and privilege, to the glory of God, to invite sound therapy into our personal and corporate practices.
Yogi Barb, Christian Yoga Association Trainer
R-YFT, R-YFYT, R-YFSS, R-TSYF