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How to use singing bowls

In order to enjoy the unique sound experience of a singing bowl, the correct application is crucial. The singing bowl itself, its placement, the technique of striking it, the choice of mallet, the space – all these have an effect on the intensity of the sound. Here we give you a few tips on how to use the full sound spectrum of your singing bowl.
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The most important facts in brief

  • To strike or rub the singing bowl you need a mallet or a grater.
  • Hold the bowl with the flat of your hand while striking it or place it on a soft surface.
  • The better the quality of the shell, the more overtones you will hear and the longer the shell will resonate.
  • Reaming requires a little more practice than hammering.
  • Singing bowls are often used in the context of sound meditations and sound massages.

Preparation: How to create the right sound

If you want to find peace and relaxation at home with a singing bowl, the most important item you need is, of course, the singing bowl. There are many different types of singing bowls – it’s best to find out which one is right for you before you buy. A single singing bowl is at first completely sufficient for the self-application. In some cases it can also be useful to use several singing bowls. This allows you to create different tones that complement each other in a harmonious way. You need several different instruments, for example, if you want to address different chakras with the singing bowl.

Another important element for your sound meditation is the mallet (also called clapper or mallet). With this you strike the singing bowl and make it vibrate. Find out more about the different types of mallets in our guide. Indeed, the choice of the clapper can significantly affect the sound of the bowl. If in doubt, try out different mallets to find a model with a convincing sound.

For beginners we recommend a soft and a hard felt mallet. The soft Hess Sound mallet is suitable for creating rather deep tones, which are good for the abdomen, among other things. The hard Hess Sound mallet produces rather higher tones that address the heart and head area.

Instruction: How do I strike a singing bowl correctly?

To strike the singing bowl take it on the flat of your hand and make sure that palm and fingers are stretched out straight. It is important that the edge of the bowl can swing as freely and unhindered as possible. If you hold the singing bowl at the edge of the bowl, the vibration and thus also the sound is stopped.

Alternatively, you can place the bowl on a singing bowl pillow or on a smooth, soft surface such as a rug or blanket. This positioning minimizes the vibration of the shell and allows the shell to sound long and free.

Placement of the singing bowl

Here your singing bowl can be placed:

  • flat on the palm
  • on a singing bowl cushion
  • on a carpet
  • on one blanket

The mallet is held parallel to the edge of the bowl and struck briefly against it. Even as you touch it, you pull it back again. Make sure you don’t hit the rim from above or at an angle. The vibration unfolds through the shape of the bowl and creates a penetrating sound.

What you hear when you first strike it is the fundamental frequency of your singing bowl. Depending on the shell, overtones are also audible. The more overtones and the more intense they are, the richer the sound spectrum of the bowl. The duration of the sound is also an important quality feature.

Instruction: How do I rub a singing bowl?

Instead of striking the singing bowl you can also rub it. To do this, run a grater along the edge in a circular motion, causing the bowl to vibrate. You don’t have to put a lot of pressure on it. Eventually, a singing sound emerges that gets stronger the longer you rub. Different mallets can be used to produce high and low fundamental tones.

For this technique you need a little more practice and patience. With the right amount of speed and pressure you can refine the sound.

To deepen the sound, strike the bowl once before rubbing.

Singing bowl application for sound meditations

If your goal is to relieve stress and find peace with a singing bowl, you should try sound meditation. To do this, it is important that you are already familiar with your shell and know how to place and strike it. This way you don’t have to concentrate on handling it during meditation.

Preparation of the square

When you feel confident using your bowl, prepare a space for meditation. This can be located in a room or outside. Usually one puts the singing bowl for a meditation on the ground. Make sure the ground is level and soft. On grass, an underlay is recommended so that the vibration is not dampened by the stalks.

Keep the peace

The most important thing is that there is peace and quiet in the chosen place. Turn off the cell phone and other sources of noise. To sit comfortably, you can place a yoga mat or rug on the floor. You should be able to reach the singing bowl easily from your sitting position.

Initiate meditation

Now you can start meditating. This is similar to other forms of meditation, sitting with the back straight and the eyes closed. Concentrate on your breathing. When you have calmed down inside, take your mallet and strike it gently against the singing bowl. Try to keep your eyes closed while doing this. Experience the intense sound and concentrate solely on the tone and vibration. You can also hum the sound softly or imagine the vibrations flowing through your body.

Targeting specific areas of the body

Another possibility is that you consciously concentrate on a certain region of your body and experience how the sound works there. Experiment a little yourself and find out what works for you. Many people find it easier to meditate with a singing bowl because the brain can concentrate on the sound and disturbing thoughts stay away.

Singing bowl application for sound massages

Another common use of singing bowls is in the context of sound massages. Specially developed singing bowls, the Peter Hess® therapy singing bowls, are positioned specifically on the clothed body and gently tapped. This method requires a second person to perform the sound massage.

The special thing about sound massage is that hearing and feeling are addressed in equal measure. While the harmonious sounds calm the mind, the fine vibrations emanating from the vibrating singing bowl gradually spread through the body. In this way a deep relaxation can take place.

“During a sound massage, feelings of safety and security arise – an ideal condition for regeneration and for promoting health, problem solving and learning.”

Peter Hess


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