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Himalayan Singing Bowls

The Himalayan bowls belong to the bell family (sometimes called resting bells). They originate from the Tibet area, Nepal, India, China and Indonesia.


There are a lot of stories around the origin of the Singing Bowls, but we will get to that a bit later. When I first time came across them in 1999, I was absolutely drawn to the sound the bowls created and could not believe that after a 15 minute experience I could rest my mind and body in that Ocean of Complex Sound.

My body was floating, I felt my leg shake a bit at the beginning and after that I was gone, into a deep resting space. I felt like in a dream state while at the same time sense the waves of vibration, that from strike to strike, passed through every cell of my body.


After that experience I felt so good that I decided to explore the possibilities of this sound by playing with it. 2 years later I came across a European singing bowl institute" who I decide to study with, becoming a teacher of their methods after two years. Some time later, during one of my presentations after concert, I was sharing with audience all the information I had about Tibetan Singing Bowls, Gongs and ancient forms of Healing from Tibet when a member of the audience questioned all of my 'information' claiming it was absolutely false. That person was Marek Kalmus, a Polish Tibetologist, Geologist and Philosopher. Marek had spent over 35 years visiting remote areas of Tibet, studying their culture and language. In 2004 I went for the first time to Nepal and India to research these stories. Every year for the following 5 years I travelled to Nepal, sometimes with groups visiting remote places, exploring different stories of the "local Shamans", playing many different types Singing Bowls and enjoying the beauty of this land.


Very soon I realised that the 'School' I was part of offered a lot limitations and miss information built on the New Age "Mumbo Jumbo" stories that were invented by the creators of that system. My findings about Singing Bowls, also known as (Bronze bowls, Tibetan bowls, Himalayan bowls, Healing bowls, etc... ) was very simple and quite different from all the stories I was told at the 'Singing Bowl School' and some of the information provided by the internet.


The bowls were used by their owners not to play, but as everyday items to store food, eat from, or place water with flowers and other offerings on their altars.


The flight of thousands of Tibetans before the Chinese invasion in 1959 contributed to spreading the singing bowls around the world, many of them moved to Nepal and India. A great expansion began in the 60's with the birth of Spiritual Turism greatly instigated by The Beatles and the Flower Children.

People from the West started seeking Spiritual Masters, Shamans, and they found many of them.


A Friend of mine who was helping me with the organisation of Mountain Trekking and visiting Temples during my travels there, was a local journalist. He also brought to my attention the increase in the number of local Sound Healers as demand start to grown from tourists. One person who was suppling me with beautiful sounding "antique bowls", didn't know anything about the way to work with bowls when we meet. Today I see him all over the Internet claiming himself to be a Third Generation Sound Healer, presenting not only Sining Bowls but also Gong Healing experiences as though they originated in Nepal hundreds years ago.



There are also stories about bowls being cast out of an alloy containing up to 12 different metals which influenced the quality of sound. Each metal representing a planet of our Solar System and its archetypal quality. Gold – Sun, silver – Moon, copper – Venus, iron – Mars , tin – Jupiter, led – Saturn etc.


In 2006 a friend of mine and I collected 12 different Singing Bowls from a number of sources who claim their bowls contained 12 metals, some were rare ancient bowls, others modern. We sent these bowls to the Research Institute at the Technical University in Gliwice, Poland, for them to analyse the alloy under an electron microscope. The results of these tests was that every bowl we sent checked was made from Bronze (tin & copper). The old ones had some oxidants and sulphides (dirts) due to the conditions under which they were made.


We sent this information to all of the participants of this research (the 'Singing Bowl School' and other folks who claimed that their Singing Bowls contained all these precious metals). They all chose to ignore this information, still repeating 7, 9, 12 metal stories on their websites and in their workshops. A German school replied a few months later that in their Singing Bowls, all these elements exist in homeopathic proportions ( 1/10000) which are not accessible to be measured under an electron microscope. This made me realise the purpose of these commercial stories. I decided to focus on the sound and quality of the sound, not the story around the instrument. Singing Bowls nowadays are mostly produced from bell bronze or gun bronze (red bronze).


At the same time my awareness grew about the same subject related to Gongs.


Nowadays a growing number of bowls are made for tourists from brass. This material is thicker, heavier and has less harmonics than bronze. It sounds more tuned to one tone than an ocean of sounds.


Antique bowls that were produced in kilns are in great demand, however, the majority of them disappeared about 90- 100 years ago. They are characterized by their unique antic look. Today they are made to look ancient but they are modern. After they are made, they are simply put into a plastic bag filled with Cola and buried in the ground for a few months. Have you ever wondered how come one person sells hundreds of "Rare Antique Singing Bowls" from 15th up to 19th Century every year for the last 20 years? and where are they getting them from? In the beginning I heard; this is the last batch they were able to buy in the North Pakistan, but their sources seem to be endless.


There are many types of singing bowls known commonly as “Tibetan Singing Bowls” but one can also find such bowls originating from Japan, China, Nepal, Bengal and Assam, as well as bowls made of crystal but that is another story.


BENEFITS OF USING SINGING BOWLS

It’s all about moving the energy that flows throughout the body to make the client more receptive, connected with him/her feelings. During my first few sessions I simply relaxed, but later began to explore how the sound affected my mind, my feelings and my physical body.


Over 20 years of practice I have collected the feedback from many individuals after their experience of a Singing Bowl Massage. This also open me to understand complexity of the experience.


One of the major aspect that influence our health is stress and overload of information that we cannot cope with (even during sleep) I can confirm that singing bowl massage boosts and strengthens the human immune system. Subtle vibrations generated by the Himalayan Bowls stimulates the body to relieve tension, restore its own harmony, awaken the regenerative capabilities of the organism, and finally lead the mind into a state of deep relaxation.


Sound massage using the Singing Bowls is a great complement to all kinds of well-being treatments. The sound massage helps us connect with and strengthen our own innate vibration, as well as regain and protect our inner harmony.


Over the years of working with the Singing Bowls, I have experienced their beneficial influence both personally and on participants of workshops and sessions in Poland and abroad. Through experience I have become convinced, there is nothing better for children and adults than the singing bowls massage before going to sleep for example.


In 2006 during a workshop on the Croatian Island Iz I played the bowls in the sea for the first time. I asked one of the participant to lie on the surface of the water, a few other participants held him and we applied for the first time Singing Bowl massage in water. This experience took me to another level of working with and using this instrument, and the experiences described by the participants were mind blowing!


Most of the Sound Therapy Specialists are not confined to playing only the bowls. They often play a whole range of other instruments including the voice. The purpose of all these practices is to achieve relaxation, calmness and well being.


Many people who receive sound massage with Himalayan Bowls have the following reflections:

  • Time stops

  • You feel totally calm

  • Relief from various ailments appears

  • You touch something that goes beyond all everyday experiences



HOW TO PLAY HIMALAYAN SINGING BOWLS

The Singing Bowls can be played by either striking with a mallet, or rimming with a wand. There is one rule concerning both the mallets and wands in relation to the bowl. For larger bowls you should use larger wand or mallet, for smaller bowls, smaller wand or mallet. This is to say the size of the bowl and the wand or mallet are directly related in order to achieve the best possible sound. However, on one bowl, many different types of wands and mallets will produce a greater variety of sound than many bowls with only one implement to strike or rim.


Holding the bowl on your hand will allow you to feel the vibrations better than when it is resting on a support. The bowl is generally struck with a mallet on the side with a precise sharp movement. When rimming the pressure of the wand on the rim of the bowl as well as the speed of the movement, affects the sound. The type of wood that the wand is made of also has an influence on the quality of sound. It is worth bearing in mind that what is good for one bowl may not work on another and likewise.


Very often bowls harmonize with other bowls or instruments giving beautiful, cooperating sounds while playing.



SOUND MASSAGE WITH SINGING BOWLS

The sound massage helps us connect with and strengthen our own innate vibration, as well as regain and protect our inner harmony.


The main purpose of this massage is to restore the harmony in our bodies and promote deep relaxation. Many patients fall asleep during a massage, while others achieve a state of shallow hypnosis.


Sound massage using the Singing Bowls is a great complement to all kinds of well-being treatments. The sound massage helps us connect with and strengthen our own innate vibration, as well as regain and protect our inner harmony.


During the course of the massage, the sound of bowls creates a holy space around and within us. It allows us to "stop the world and get off it” becoming tranquil on both an inner and outer level, we are capable of winding down deeply, regenerating and immersing within ourselves. Therefore sound massage helps us deal with challenges in a healthy manner and be aware enough to use wisely and ethical all the opportunities that are presented to us.








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