Ultimate Guide To Tibetan Singing Bowls For Beginners
Ultimate Guide To Tibetan Singing Bowls For Beginners

 In this Tibetan Singing Bowl beginners guide I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about singing bowls, from my ten years of experience using them.

As a meditation teacher I have taught many people how to use Tibetan Singing Bowls. They are one of the best tools for meditation. And they can have a powerful effect on your mind. Plus, they make for some of the best meditation music ever.

Here’s what we will be looking at in this guide:

CONTENTS:

And you might like to read my guide to buying a meditation gong too.

What is a Tibetan Singing Bowl?

Tibetan Singing Bowls (sometimes called Buddhist bells or prayer bowls) are instruments used in meditation. They are actually a type of standing bell in the shape of a bowl. You hold them by hand and play them with a mallet (usually). This produces a beautiful sound that is proven to have beneficial effects on the mind and body [1]. You can also use chakra singing bowls to open your chakra. I will show you how to use singing bowls for chakra opening in just a moment.

When you listen to or play these instruments, your brain changes structurally and your mind heals emotionally and spiritually. That’s why monks have been using them for more than 3000 years.

Today you can even have healing massages done at health spas where they put the bowl on your skin and the vibrations heal the body.

How Chakra Singing Bowls Open Your Chakras

It is possible to use chakra singing bowls to open your chakras.

You’ve probably listened to a chakra singing bowl during yoga when you meditate in Savasana. Or when you’re doing a group meditation session at your temple or meditation studio. They’re even heard at health spas, hospitals, churches and in therapy sessions.

So how do they work?

The chakras are wheels through which energy (prana) flows. The word itself literally means “wheel”. It’s a concept that has been around for 2600 years and was first found in the classical spiritual text the Upanishads.

The chakras exist along the spine from the pelvis up to the crown of the head, and they’re vital to our wellbeing.

When one chakra is out of balance it can cause serious issues for our physical and mental health. I found this out for myself in 2010, when a problem with my root chakra caused an extreme stress reaction and led me through personal hell (thankfully I was able to recover naturally using spiritual practices, one part of which was playing Buddhist bells.

Playing these instruments can open and balance all your chakras. There are seven of them:

  • Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
  • Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)
  • Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
  • Heart Chakra (Anahata)
  • Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
  • Sacral Chakra (Swadhishtana)
  • Root Chakra (Muladhara)

Each of these chakra responds to a different frequency of sound, which is why chakra singing bowls have seven bells–one for each chakra.

The different chakra frequencies are as follows:

Root chakra singing bowls:  UT – 396 Hz

Sacral chakra singing bowls:  RE – 417 Hz

Solar plexus singing bowls: MI – 528 Hz

Heart chakra singing bowls: FA – 639 Hz – Connecting/Relationships (the 4th Chakra)

Throat chakra singing bowls: SOL – 741 Hz

Third eye chakra singing bowls: LA – 852 Hz

Crown chakra singing bowls: 963 Hz

By producing the specific frequency for each chakra, singing bowl sets balance the seven chakras, healing the mind and body.  That’s one of the benefits of these beautiful instruments  But there are many more benefits..

Benefits Of Meditating With Singing Bowls

They are one of the most powerful types of instrument used in sound healing.

I’m constantly stunned by how much I get out of meditating on one of these instruments. Whether it’s a pure gold chakra singing bowl set that activates your chakras, or a simpler type used for relaxation, you will get get so much out of them.

The benefits of singing bowl meditation include:

  • Balances the seven chakras
  • Relaxes the mind
  • Some research shows it can cure illness [2]
  • Some research shows it can even cure cancer
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Balance blood pressure
  • Reduces anger
  • Improves blood flow
  • Good for pain relief
  • Balances emotions
  • Promotes inner peace and stillness
  •  Boosts the immune system

How To Use A Tibetan Singing Bowl for Meditation 

 There are lots of different ways that you can play a Tibetan Singing Bowl. For beginners, I recommend the following techniques.

“Around Rim”  

  1. Hold the bowl in your left hand.
  2. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length.  Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  3. Tap the mallet on the bowl’s side to warm the bell.
  4. Using an even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell almost like soup.
  5. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the singing bowl.
  6. Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.
  7. Meditate on the sound for twenty minutes.

  “Wah Wah” : 

Another great way to how to use a singing bowl is with the Wah Wah technique.

Try this:

  1. Hold the bowl in your left hand.
  2. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length.  Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  3. Tap the mallet on the bowl’s side to warm the bell.
  4. Using an even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell almost like soup.
  5. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the singing bowl.
  6. Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.
  7. Pull the mallet away from the bowl while it is still singing.
  8. Hold the bowl up to your top lip one inch away from your mouth.
  9. Now imagine that you’re saying “Wah. Wah. Wah.” Make the mouth shape of this sound while your mouth is an inch from the bowl.  This will change the sound of the bowl.

Water Bowl

  1. Put three quarters of an inch of water into the bowl but do not get the rim wet.
  2. Hold the bowl in your left hand.
  3. Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length. Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
  4. Tap the mallet on the bowl’s side to warm the bell
  5. Using an even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell almost like soup.
  6. Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge.
  7. Pull the mallet away
  8. Now tilt the bowl, causing the water inside to lap towards the rim.
  9. Now swirl the bowl. This will create  the sound of dolphins.

Beginners Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation Technique

To use Buddhist bells properly you need to know how to meditate on a singing bowl.

There are a few different techniques you can use. Here is one of my favorite techniques.

  1. Start by using the Around The Rim technique that we looked at above
  2. Continue to move the mallet around the rim
  3. Be mindful of the action of moving your wrist and hand to turn the mallet
  4. Take 27 breaths while meditating on the movement
  5. Continuing the mindful movement, start to focus on the sound
  6. Take 27 breaths while meditating on the sound
  7. You should now be meditating on your movement and on the sound
  8. Observe the connection between the movement and the sound. Feel that oneness between movement and sound
  9. Focus on the oneness of sound and movement for 108 breaths

This is my favorite way to meditate on a singing bowl.

Benefits of Buddhist Singing Bowl Meditations

Buddhist singing bowl meditations are deep, relaxing, and therapeutic. You can heal your by meditating on the sound of these instruments.

When you play singing bowls you make a sound that is comprised of two frequencies: a first harmonic and overtones.

The frequencies are at ranges that are very beneficial to the brain. There are also undertones that they makes. Together, these sounds produce a chord that is a “flattened fifth”.

Naga Shakthi says, “[They] produce layers of rich additional overtones, which, when heard binaurally, create beat frequency which alters our brain waves from a Beta brainwave state to an Alpha state”.

When you meditate on the sound you switch your brain to alpha frequency. And alpha frequency is very beneficial.

Scientific research shows that the flattened-fifth chord the bowl makes is very good for meditation.

The flattened fifth chord is perfect for spiritual healing and for when you need to balance your chakras.

As you listen to or play singing bowls, your brain waves synchronise with the sound of the bowl, and at the same time the unique tones produce a deep meditative state. Not only this, but the sonic waves open your mind, which can lead to spiritual awakening.

I looked for scientific research to prove the effects of Tibetan Singing Bowls on the brain, but sadly I came up short. It appears there is very little scientific research about these instruments. The best I could find was a fascinating article by Quartz, which looks at at the physics and experience of Tibetan Singing Bowls and whether they actually work (4).

Clearly, there are lots of benefits of Singing Bowls. Plus, if you’re like me you will just love them for the sound and the beauty of them.

There’s a fascinating history behind these instruments too, which we will look at next.

History Of Tibetan Singing Bowls

When you buy a singing bowl, you’re buying a piece of spiritual history.

If you ever visit a Buddhist temple you will likely see some antique singing bowls among the relics. I recently visited our local Buddhist temple and was delighted to see on a shelf the most beautiful Tibetan singing bowls set (along with wooden fish, Buddhist cymbals, bells and Dorje). Attached to the cabinet was a little leaflet introducing singing bowls for beginners, and explaining how to use singing bowls.

Traditionally, Buddhist bowls were used in Asia by monks. The monks would use them as an auditory marker to start and stop a period of meditation. Monks would combine them with a percussion instrument called the “wooden fish,” which is struck when a specific phrase is chanted. This would be done as part of a ritual before and after meditating.

Visit Japan or Vietnam and you will find a different way to use them There, they are used to mark the beginning and ending of periods of walking meditation and seated meditation.   

And then there is the Western way how to use a singing bowl.

It took thousands of years, but Tibetan Singing Bowls gradually became popular in the West, and today they are used in health spas and yoga studios as a way to relax the mind.

Facts About Tibetan Singing Bowls


Here are some interesting facts about the history of Tibetan singing bowls:

  1. Some antique singing bowls are up to 5000 years old, meaning they predate almost all other tools used in meditation.
  2. Bronze bells have been used since the 10th Century BC. Tibetan Singing Bowls have existed since around 5000 years ago. (5)
  3. Many people believe they are Buddhist in origin, but they actually predate Buddhism. It wasn’t until about 2500 years ago that Buddhists began to play Tibetan Singing Bowls. The monks found the sound the bowls made to be very relaxing. It is a healing sound. And that is why Buddhist monks have meditated on the sounds ever since.   (2).   

Interesting fact:

Many people believe that Tibetan Singing Bowls are made of seven metals that are astrologically related to stars and planets: Gold (sun) Silver (Moon), Copper (Venus), Iron (Mars), Tin (Jupiter), Mercury/Quicksilver (Mercury) and Lead (Saturn) (1). But actually, they are usually made from a bronze alloy of copper and tin. There are also expensive crystal singing bowls made of quarts, and even pure gold singing bells.  

And that is everything you need to know about Tibetan singing bowls. For beginners, I recommend simply picking one up and experimenting with it, and then getting into the real meditation stuff later.

I hope you enjoyed this guide. Remember to subscribe, and write a comment below.

Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher and writer. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Great article, very helpful, how to choose right bowl for meditation /healing and opening 3rx eye for a beginner?? Any info greatly appreciated

  2. uhm. Buddhism hasn’t been around 3000 years. Maybe Taoism?

    1. Thanks for your comment. Buddhism is 2500-3000 years old with no known exact date of inception.

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