This post is for those that have just bought their first singing bowl and are looking for new ways to use it.
I bought my first bowl about four years ago after hearing Kunga play them. After learning how to rub the mallet around the rim and get a clean sound, I started looking for ways to use them in more ways. I also started observing other people with singing bowls around me. All the techniques described here include one bowl only. What might work for me might not necessarily work for you and it's all about what finding what connects with you the most.
Here are my favourite ways to use the bowls:
Relaxation with one single bowl: This is pretty simple and something that I started doing on my own. All you do is lie flat on your back (in Shavasana) and place the bowl on your chest. I normally have the bowl sitting directly on my sternum or you may choose to have it resting on a cushion or towel. Please be careful not to have the bowl too close to your face or sliding towards your face. Next, get comfortable and relax. Strike the bowl with a ball mallet and let the vibrations ring through. Focus on the sound and notice the different notes being produced by your bowl. Notice the sound of the bowl as it increases and decreases in volume and breathe. This is one of the easiest ways to relax with your bowl. The technique above works even better when you have a bowl that helps open up the heart chakra (note F).
Massage a friend's back: Kunga demonstrated this to me first and I was absolutely amazed by what singing bowls could do. For this technique, you will need a medium sized bowl with powerful vibrations. Next, place the bowl on your friend's back close to where the shoulders are with the rim of the bowl facing towards you (your hand stays inside the bowl and presses against the bottom to hold it in place). Make sure your hand supporting the bowl does not touch the rim else this will dampen any sound/vibrations that you produce. Next rub the singing bowl around the rim and let it ring (you can rub half way around the circumference on each side to make things easier). Your friend will feel the vibrations on their back and get a gentle massage. You can also slide the bowl up and down their back to spread the vibration.
Meditate with singing bowls: There are different ways to incorporate singing bowls into your meditation practice. Most of it involves focusing on the sounds that the bowl makes. A good example is what was described in technique 1 earlier. I have also seen a video of the Karmapa Lama explaining how to listen to the bowls and focus on them during meditation. Others often include singing bowls as an accompanying instrument during their mantra chanting sessions.
Singing bowls are a great aid when it comes to relaxation and meditation. They age beautifully and sound better and fuller when you continue to play them. If you would like to learn about techniques to play the bowl, read our previous blog post here.
I hope you discover your own ways to use the singing bowls and incorporate them into your daily lifestyle.