Exercises with singing bowls and gongs
A sound ritual of just a few minutes a day is enough to sustainably strengthen your own physical, mental and spiritual health. In this article we present you some popular exercises with singing bowls and gongs. For the singing bowl exercises we recommend the universal singing bowl in the quality of the Peter Hess® therapy singing bowls or Peter Hess® Himalaya singing bowls. With its broad frequency spectrum, the universal singing bowl appeals well to the entire body.
The most important facts in brief
- The perception of sound is a matter of practice: the more often you try a sound exercise, the better you will feel the sound with your whole body.
- The exercises are about letting go completely – the sounds help you do this and lead you inward.
- You can also do the singing bowl exercises wonderfully with children and as an evening ritual.
- Sound exercises in the evening can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
If you don’t feel the sounds in all areas of your body the first time you practice, that’s perfectly fine. Like so many things in life, the perception of sounds is a matter of practice. Therefore, we recommend that you do the sound exercises regularly – preferably every day, for less time.
Playing singing bowls, listening and perceiving
By striking or playing a singing bowl we come to listening. Listening is more than hearing, it is a perception of the sounds with the whole body. During the following singing bowl exercises, fully engage with the sounds, body sensations, thoughts and feelings. Listening to the sounds takes you inside and into a soothing silence, while what is happening outside fades into the background.
Exercise 1: How to play your singing bowl and find inner peace
This exercise is a kind of sound meditation. Make yourself comfortable and place the singing bowl directly in front of you on a pillow or other vibrating surface.
Strike and listen to sound nuances
Now gently strike your singing bowl and perceive its sound. Maybe you close your eyes to fully engage with the sounds. Can you hear the different nuances? The different high and low tones together produce a wonderful sound rich in overtones.
Feel the sound
Listen to the sound with your whole body and become one with it. So you may feel your body being touched by the sound vibrations. Can you feel the sound?
Let breath become calmer
After some time you can strike your singing bowl again. As you listen to the sounds rise and fall, your breath becomes calmer, deeper, and more serene. If you like, consciously take a few deep breaths. The silence after each sound lets a pleasant calm arise in you. Enjoy the sounds as long as you like and perceive the relaxing, harmonizing effect.
Now put the singing bowl and mallet aside and feel for a moment with closed eyes. Maybe you still feel the sounds even though they have faded away – they continue to resonate within you. How do you feel now, what is going on inside you, how do you perceive your body? Take your time and just observe without judging.
Finally, take a few deep breaths and stretch and stretch. Get back into the swing of things at your own pace.
Exercise 2: Experiencing the sounds of the singing bowl through the hand reflex zones
During this exercise, try to focus your attention on the area of the body that is being addressed. This way you can experience how the sound vibrations gradually spread throughout your body. Used regularly, this little sound meditation can be a valuable companion in everyday life.
The entire body is stimulated via the reflex zones. Thus, this singing bowl exercise helps especially well to prevent stress and overload at an early stage or to reduce it regularly and to strengthen one’s own health.
Make yourself comfortable while sitting down. Open the palm of your right hand with the palm facing up. If it is more comfortable for you, you can also place your hand on a pillow. Now position the singing bowl on your palm.
Strike singing bowl
Gently strike your singing bowl from the outside at the top edge. Just listen to the sounds at first. In the next step, you expand your perception to include feeling. Consciously perceive the vibrations of the singing bowl in your palm. You feel the delicate vibrations of the sounding bowl on your palm and focus all your attention on it. The vibrations move gently over the skin and through the palm.
Feel vibrations throughout the body
Now expand your attention to your entire body: let the sounds flow through it. Feel the sound vibrations spread from your palm to your right wrist and then to your right forearm, right elbow joint, right upper arm, right shoulder joint, neck area and finally to your entire body.
Take enough time to perceive the sounds in your body. When you are ready, position the singing bowl on the left hand and repeat the process as you did with the right hand.
Now put the singing bowl and mallet aside and feel for a moment with closed eyes. If you like, consciously take a few deep breaths. Be completely with yourself: How do you feel, what is going on inside you, how do you perceive your body?
Finally, take a few deep breaths and stretch and stretch. Get back into the swing of things at your own pace.
Exercise 3: Sound relaxation for the abdomen
The abdomen is a particularly sensitive area of the body that can react to stressful situations with digestive problems, abdominal or stomach pain. Playing singing bowls creates sounds that are a wonderful way to gently relax the abdomen.
The sound relaxation exercise for the abdomen has also proved particularly useful for menstrual cramps.
Lie loosely on your back and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Position the singing bowl on the solar plexus chakra. This is about a hand’s width above the belly button. Make sure that your head and the arm with which you want to strike the singing bowl are well supported, so that there is no unnecessary effort or tension.
Strike and play singing bowl
Now you play the singing bowl gently from the outside at the upper edge. If you wish, close your eyes and focus your attention entirely on your solar plexus chakra. Notice how the sounds gently massage this area and gradually spread from there pleasant relaxation. Breathe deeply and repeat this process several times.
Move singing bowl
After striking the singing bowl a few times on your solar plexus chakra, move it a little further down on your abdomen so that the singing bowl touches the pubic bone. Now gently tap the bowl here a few times. Take your time between strokes and feel the vibration spreading. Then push the singing bowl back to the solar plexus chakra and strike it there again about three to five times.
What are you feeling now and how are you doing? Just perceive without judging. Put the singing bowl and the mallet aside and feel with closed eyes for a moment. If you like, consciously take a few deep breaths. You may still feel the sounds even though the audible sound has faded away.
Finally, stretch extensively before opening your eyes and returning your attention to the here and now.
The abdomen usually reacts particularly sensitively to the sounds. The gentle sound vibrations spread through the skin, organs, tissues, body fluids and body cavities. In the process, they experience a gentle massage and get moving (again).
Therefore, it is possible that this singing bowl exercise will stimulate digestion and relieve cramping symptoms, such as menstrual cramps. Stress, which often feels physically like a stone in the stomach, can be gradually relieved.
Exercise 4: Playing singing bowl in the evening – ritual and help to fall asleep
The sounds of the singing bowl always have a holistic effect on body, mind and soul and cause circling thoughts to come to rest. After a stressful day, sound relaxation for the abdomen – as in exercise 3 – is a good way to help you fall asleep and sleep through the night. Listening to the sounds and perceiving the vibrations, the burden of everyday life gradually falls away from you.
You can use this evening ritual to let the images of the day pass by without holding on to them. The sounds help you to do this as a neutral observer. This way you can see what went particularly well and was nice – and also what was not so enjoyable and what you might want to do differently next time. Then let your thoughts slowly calm down so that your body relaxes more and more. You may well slip into a deep sleep immediately after the exercise.
“The sounds in the evening can also be used excellently with children as a bedtime ritual. You can review the day together with them or accompany the bedtime story with the sounds. There are many possibilities here.”
Book Tip: Singing Bowls – Playing and Learning with All Senses by Peter Hess and Emily Hess
Play gong and experience deep relaxation
Similar to the singing bowl exercises, you can also play a gong to enter into deep relaxation. In sound and music therapy, the gong has a high value today. This form of therapy has received increasing attention in recent years, as experiencing frequencies allows for stress reduction, deep relaxation, overcoming anxiety, and becoming in tune with oneself.
The gong, like singing bowls, has the advantage that the frequencies – especially the overtones – develop and spread slowly and do not die away quickly as with other instruments. This means that these frequencies can be better felt and internalized with the whole body. Those who get involved can experience balance and inner peace by playing the gong.
Several gongs are usually used for this exercise. It is usually offered as part of a course for several participants or as an individual session. The gong bath is an intensive form of sound therapy. The aim of this meditation is to leave behind the everyday life with all its worries and stress. During the gong bath, participants are immersed in a deeply relaxing sound experience, in a sea of sound, where they are enveloped by the sounds of various gongs and other primal instruments.
For a gong bath, lie down as centrally as possible between the gongs on a comfortable mat, close your eyes and let the unique sounds of the gongs take effect on you. Thus, within a very short time you will be transported into a space of silence and inspiration. The sound waves of the gongs are so strong that you can feel them all over your body. With each strike of the gong, its reverberation adds up to a sound space that carries the listener away.
Learn to play gong
To play a gong is not only learned by professional musicians in orchestras, but especially by yoga and meditation teachers, alternative practitioners, therapists and private persons who are interested in this voluminous and fascinating instrument. If you want to learn to play the gong in a seminar, you will usually also learn a lot about the basic meditative posture, about sound qualities and expressive possibilities of the gong. In the Gong Basics Course of the Peter Hess® Institute you will also learn a way of playing for a targeted sound tapestry in sound meditations and sound journeys.
Those who learn to play a gong also learn a lot about the tradition of the gong and are introduced to the playing techniques of different types of gongs. In addition, one deals with the numerous possible applications, especially in the therapeutic field. Particularly important in gong playing is learning how and where each sound is produced on the gong and what nuances and facets the sounds have. It’s also exciting to find out how to make sounds swell and then gently subside.
The Peter Hess® Institute offers you numerous possibilities to use your gong, be it in the context of a sound massage, fantasy journey or in the Experimental Gong Experience. Check out the various (online) seminars and workshops or enter the keyword “Gong” in the seminar search.
The advantages of a seminar to learn to play a gong
- Get to know the basic meditative attitude and history of the gong
- Experience different application possibilities
- Experience how the gong helps to let go of everyday life and relax
- Listen and play different gongs
- Approach it yourself and try it out under guidance
- Learn sound carpet for sound meditations and sound journeys
- Accompaniment of sound massages