This is a complete guide to Tibetan Singing Bowls for beginners. In this guide you’ll learn how to choose a singing bowl, the benefits they offer, how to use one, and more.
As a meditation teacher, I have taught many people how to use Singing Bowls for meditation. After all, they are one of the best tools for meditation.
I do highly recommend buying one and also buying a gong.
Tibetan Singing Bowls For Beginners – Introduction
Tibetan Singing Bowls (sometimes called Buddhist bells or prayer bowls) are a type of standing bell in the shape of a bowl. They are one of the traditional musical meditation instruments and one of the best instruments for sound healing.
You hold them by hand and usually play them with a mallet, which produces a beautiful sound that is beneficial for the mind and body according to research from Tamara L. Goldsby, PhD at the University of California: San Diego .
You can also use 7 chakra singing bowls sets to open your chakras.
When you listen to or play a Tibetan Singing Bowl, 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 singing bowls on your skin and the vibrations heal your body.
I recently visited our local Buddhist temple in Niagara Falls. I was delighted to see on a shelf the most beautiful set of Nepal bells (along with wooden fish, Buddhist cymbals, bells and Dorje). Attached to the cabinet was a little leaflet with an introduction to singing bowls for beginners.
Traditionally, Buddhist 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.
More and more people are getting into singing bowls, and you might be interested in buying one. So let me show you the best ones.
Best Singing Bowls – Buying Guide
Let me show you the best singing bowls for sale online.
As a meditation teacher, I often buy them online, and I’ve learned which ones are great and which ones are bad. I’ve listed the best ones below for you. And I’ve listed them by price so you can easily choose one.
I will say this, though: price does have a considerable effect on quality. If you’re looking for a high-quality large bell, it won’t be cheap. Many people want to buy singing bowls for cheap, which is understandable. However, it is worth spending a little extra for an exceptional one.
1. Best cheap singing bowl
If you’re looking to buy a cheap singing bowl online, I recommend this one from the Ohm Store. It’s cheap but good. Best for beginners.
There’s a lot I like about this little one. Best of all is the fact that it looks good for such a cheap bell. And it sounds great too. The frequency is 552 HZ, D-flat. And it’s been tested with the water technique and does indeed make water ripple and jump (which is a traditional way of testing them).
Made of brass and without seams, this cheap Tibetan bell produces a good sound quality. And at the price range, it is easily affordable.
2. Best 7 Chakra Singing Bowl Set (Metal) ($$$)
For the best 7 chakra singing bowl set, I highly recommend TheMelMart’s 7 chakra singing bowl set.
This 7 chakra singing bowl set is available in different sizes: 4 inches, 4.5 inches, 5 inches, 5.5 inches, 6 inches, and 7.5 inches.
The set comes with a 7-ring cushion and 7-piece wooden mallet, plus one or two drumsticks. It is a Himalayan Nepal bell that comes wholesale from an authentic manufacturer.
Both the look and sound of TheMelMart’s 7 chakra singing bowl set are authentic. And they produce a fantastic audio range to open the chakras.
3. The Best Crystal 7 Chakra Singing Bowl Set ($$$$)
If you are looking for the best singing bowls online, you will definitely want to consider TopFund’s quartz crystal singing bowls. As a meditation teacher, I have seen a lot of different bells, and these are among the best.
These crystal chakra bells look and sound beautiful. And in my experience, they are the best singing bowls for chakra-opening.
I love the way they look too. They have a beautiful, icy clean aesthetic that makes for wonderful decoration at home. They are made from 99.9% pure quartz, which creates a deep, resonant sound.
Why are TopFund’s the best chakra singing bowl set? They make the perfect sound for opening chakras and they look beautiful. Plus, you can choose your size. There are options from 8-20 inches. It comes with a rubber base to sit the bells on, and a rubber mallet.
For me, this is the best singing bowl set online without breaking the bank.
4. Best Chakra Singing Bowls For Healing ($$$$$)
Of all the choices in this Tibetan singing bowl buying guide, this is the absolute best one (for sale online or anywhere in my opinion).
It is a beautiful set that is perfect for sound healing. Made from frosted quartz, it is more effective for healing than metal ones.
Because the human body is made predominantly of water, it is predisposed to respond to crystal more than metal (the human body has comparatively little metal).
I recommend buying a crystal singing bowl made of 99% pure quartz that is finely tuned to the frequencies of the seven chakras. This one is the best.
Why Use 7 Chakra Singing Bowl Sets?
You probably noticed that in the buying guide above I said Chakra singing bowls are the best, but why?
“7 Chakra singing bowl sets” have existed for thousands of years, ever since around 2500BC. Today they’re everywhere, from your local Buddhist temple to your yoga studio—and even at home if you have bought one using our Tibetan singing bowl buying guide.
You’ve probably listened to a 7-chakra singing bowl set during yoga when you meditate in Savasana. Or you may have listened to one during meditation. Today you can even see these sets at health spas, hospitals, churches and in therapy sessions.
They activate the chakras.
The chakras are wheels through which energy (prana) flows. A Sanskrit word, “chakra” literally means “wheel”. It’s a concept that has existed for 2600 years after being first introduced in the classical spiritual text the Upanishads.
The chakras are energy centres located along the spine from the pelvis up to the crown of the head.
Chakras are pivotal for our wellbeing. When one chakra is out of balance, it can negatively impact physical and mental health.
Thankfully, we can use Tibetan Singing Bowl meditations to open the seven chakras.
Chakra singing bowl frequencies
Chakra singing bowl sets contain a bowl for each Chakra. Each bell creates a unique frequency of sound that targets one of the seven chakras, like so:
Root chakra: UT – 396 Hz
Sacral Chakra: RE – 417 Hz
Solar plexus chakra: MI – 528 Hz
Heart chakra singing: FA – 639 Hz – Connecting/Relationships (the 4th Chakra)
Throat chakra: SOL – 741 Hz
Third eye chakra: LA – 852 Hz
Crown chakra: 963 Hz
By producing the specific frequency for each chakra, singing bowl sets heal the mind and body.
How To Choose A Singing Bowl To Buy
Above I shared my singing bowl buying guide. Now let’s look at how to choose a singing bowl that is perfect for you. This will show you what you should look for when buying a singing bowl.
You will want to check that your set produces the right sounds for healing. But there’s more to it than that. So, let’s now look at how to choose a singing bowl to buy.
1. If You Are Buying Antique Singing Bowls, Fakes Are Everywhere.
Keep this in mind if you want to buy antique singing bowls: Fake ones are everywhere. It can be difficult to tell the difference between an authentic antique singing bowl and a fake.
YoWangDu has written an excellent guide that explains key facts about how they are made. Read the article here. It answers a lot of questions.
2. How to Buy Authentic Antique Singing Bowls
If you want to buy an authentic antique Tibetan singing bowl, make sure it is marked as at least one hundred years old. Some vintage bowls in private collections are thousands of years old. You can tell if it’s an authentic antique singing bowl by looking for specific markers:
- Authentic ones will have markings on both the inside and outside.
- Authentic ones will be thinner on the bottom.
- They may have a certificate saying it has been certified as authentic and will cost from $100 (for a very small bowl) to many thousands of dollars for a large one.
- Antique are metal and made from different materials to new ones. The new ones are typically made of a type of bronze called “bell metal”, which is made of copper and tin. Authentic antiques are crafted out of high-quality bronze and various other metals, such as gold, silver, meteoric iron (sky-metal) and thogcha.
3. Picking A Singing Bowl That’s Perfect For You
What is your main reason for buying a Tibetan bell? Is it:
- Chakra meditation?
- To use in yoga classes?
- For decoration?
- To add to a collection?
These are essential considerations to make before choosing a singing bowl. For instance, if you want to pick a singing bowl for chakra healing, you will want to make sure it has the right frequencies for chakra activation. If you’re choosing a singing bowl to add to an antique collection, you will want to make sure it has a certificate of authenticity.
Mallets come in different sizes and weights. Popular materials are suede, wood, and felt. Make sure the set you buy comes with a suitable mallet (or buy a mallet separately).
5. Sound quality
Don’t choose based on the image alone. Make sure you have a good idea of what it sounds like. The best singing bowls sound rich and resonant. You should be able to hear the overtones it’s producing. If it doesn’t hold its sound, it is poorly constructed. Even good cheap ones should hold their sound. Does it sound tinny? That’s another sign of a bad bowl. Don’t buy it. If you’re buying online, read the reviews.
6. Where to buy
If you want to buy singing bowls near you, I recommend visiting an antique store specialising in world culture or spiritual items. For all other times, it’s easier (and reliable) to use an online store.
Contact your local Buddhist temple or community. They may sell them themselves. If not, they should be able to direct you to someone who does.
7. Crystal Vs Metal Singing Bowls
Today, many people argue that if you’re looking for the best singing bowls to buy, grab a crystal set. Traditionally, however, Tibetan bells were metal.
The argument is that the sounds of traditional metal ones do not penetrate the body to the same extent as crystal ones because the human body is made mostly of water, not metal. Therefore, we naturally respond better to the sound of crystal singing bowls because our bodies are crystalline.
In the Tibetan singing bowl buying guide, above, I mentioned that quartz bells are the best option for healing. There is a good reason for this. Quartz is a highly conductive transmitter. After all, it’s the same material that is used in a lot of computers and other tech, precisely because it transmits electricity so effectively. And of course, we humans function largely off electricity. Therefore, it does seem logical that a quartz bell would have more of an effect on us than a metal one.
You can hear the difference between crystal singing bowls and metal ones.
It is curious that for thousands of years all Tibetan bells were metal. Then again, even the spiritual field is not immune to evolution. So, is this simply the future of these instruments? Will we all be buying crystal singing bowls from now on?
Either way, a crystal chakra singing bowl makes for a beautiful and powerful addition to your spiritual healing toolkit. And they are one of the best ways to balance the seven chakras.
8: Different Types of Singing Bowls
Here is a look at the various traditional types of singing bowls.
A type that was once used for storing grains. These are hundreds of years old, and the sound is generally in the 2nd and 3rd octave with an occasional small and extra thick bowl producing sound at the low end of the middle octave.
This is a traditional Nepal singing bowl type. It is a straight type with vertical sides and a flat bottom. They tend to be deep at up to five inches and up to 8 inches in diameter. They are one of the easier-to-find antiques, some being around 500 years old. Often they are made of copper and are typically golden. They produce sounds that span over four octaves, which is the most extensive frequency range of all the types.
A straight type with a flat bottom named after a small town on the Bay of Bengal. They have inward-sloping walls. They are decorative and usually feature artwork etched into them. Inscriptions are common on this type of singing bowl.
If you want to buy the antique singing bowl, the Manipura should be your go-to. They are the original type, made of metal and named after Manipur, a state in India that is a centre for brass production. Because they were used frequently and are old, they are generally worn. They range from 3 inches to one foot across. Their sound ranges from the lower second octave to the high fifth.
Mani / Mudra:
This type is distinguishable by its thick walls and flat bottoms and because they are wider in the middle than at the top or bottom. They are an antique type of bell dating back to the 16th Century. The sound is a high tone, generally in the 5th and 6th octaves.
This is the rarest Himalayan singing bowl. They were made for ritual purposes and feature a protrusion of metal in the middle and feature intricate artwork. Of interest to the antique buyer is the larger, round lingams, which are very rare. Be warned, however, that many of those for sale are fake antiques. The fakes tend to be newer ones made to look old. A genuine antique lingam will feature thick metal, where fake ones are much thinner.
“Stands” often called “Naga”. They have round bottoms and an attached base so that they can be placed on a surface without toppling over. Generally, they feature inscriptions and are often used for ceremonial purposes. They range from 4 inches to 10 inches. This type has a wide sound range, going from the third to the sixth octave.
A modern antique type that produces a sweet sound. They feature straight, symmetrical sides and a flat bottom. The name refers to the fact that they looked like a trapezoid when viewed from the side. They range from 4 inches to 8 inches and produce sound in the 4th and 5th octave.
A larger type starting at around 7 inches. The side of the bell curves inward beneath the rim. They produce low tone sounds around the second octave.
Crystal chakra singing bowls sets:
Today, everyone likes to buy crystal chakra singing bowls sets. They are all the rage. And they are generally regarded as the best singing bowls for healing the chakras in meditation. The reason for this is because crystal is better for sound quality and has a more pronounced effect on the body [see: Crystal VS Metal, above]. Ones made of quartz produce a stunning sound.
Benefits of Tibetan Singing Bowls
Tibetan singing bowl meditations are deep, relaxing, and therapeutic. You can heal your mind and body by meditating on the sound of these instruments. But how?
When you play a singing bowl, you make a sound comprised of two frequencies: a first harmonic and undertones. Together, these sounds produce a chord that is a “flattened fifth”. Scientific research shows that the flattened-fifth chord is perfect for meditation and spiritual healing. Plus, it helps balance the chakras.
Naga Shakthi says, “They produce layers of rich additional overtones, which, when heard binaurally, create beat frequencies that alter brain waves from a Beta brainwave state to an Alpha state”. As you listen to or meditate with singing bowls, your brain waves synchronise with the sound, the unique tones inducing a deep state of meditation and opening your mind.
Benefits For Healing
I am continually stunned by how much I get out of meditating on one of these instruments. Whether it’s a 7 set that activates your chakras, or a more straightforward type used for relaxation, you will get so much out of them.
- Balances the seven chakras
- Relaxes the mind
- Some research shows it can cure illness
- Some research shows it can even cure cancer
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Balances blood pressure
- Reduces anger
- Improves blood flow
- Good for pain relief
- Balances emotions
- Promotes inner peace and stillness
- Boosts the immune system
Research published in the journal Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine and based on participants from the Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in Encinitas, California, the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, and the California Institute for Human Science, revealed that singing bowl meditation may be a “feasible low-cost, low-technology intervention for reducing feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression, and increasing spiritual well-being.”
Fun facts about singing bowls
Here are some interesting facts about the history of these beautiful instruments.
- Some antique singing bowls for sale today actually age at more than 5000 years old, meaning they predate almost all other tools used in meditation.
- Bronze Tibetan bells have been used since the 10th Century BC. And some are even as old as 5000 years.
- Many people believe they are Buddhist in origin, but they actually predate Buddhism. It wasn’t until about 2500 years ago that Buddhists began these Buddhist bells. The monks found the sound the bells made to be very relaxing. It is a healing sound. And that is why Buddhist monks have meditated on the sounds ever since.
- Many people believe they are crafted from 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). In fact, they are usually made from a bronze alloy of copper and tin. There are also expensive ones made of quartz and even pure gold bells.
How To Use A Tibetan Singing Bowl For Meditation
Now that you have chosen a set (using the Tibetan Singing Bowl buying guide above) you probably want to know how to use them. There are lots of different ways to use a Tibetan Singing Bowl and meditation techniques vary.
Here is a simple guide to playing and meditating on singing bowls, for beginners to try.
1. “Around the Rim”
- Hold the bell in your left hand.
- Hold the mallet in your right hand at around mid-length. Your fingertips should point down and should be touching the wood.
- Tap the mallet on the bell’s side to warm the bell.
- Using even pressure, move the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the bowl. Use a full arm movement and keep stirring the bell, as though you were stirring soup.
- Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge of the bowl.
- Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.
- Meditate on the sound for twenty minutes.
2. “Wah Wah”:
One of the most popular ways to using a singing bowl for meditation is with the Wah Wah Technique.
- Repeat stages 1 to 5 from the “Around The Rim” technique above.
- Try not to go too fast but rather allow the volume to build gradually.
- Pull the mallet away from the bell while it is still singing.
- Hold the bowl up to your top lip one inch away from your mouth.
- Now imagine that you’re saying “Wah. Wah. Wah.” Make the mouth shape of this sound while your mouth is an inch from the rim. Do you hear how the sound has changed?
3. Water Bowl
- Repeat stages 1 to 5 from the “Around The Rim” technique above.
- Applying pressure, continue to rub the mallet around the outside edge.
- Pull the mallet away
- Now tilt the bowl, causing the water inside to lap towards the rim.
- Now swirl the bowl to create the sound of dolphins.
Meditation with a singing bowl
Here’s how to use a singing bowl for meditation.
- Start by using the Around The Rim technique that we looked at above
- Continue to move the mallet around the rim
- Be mindful of the action of moving your wrist and hand to turn the mallet
- Take 27 breaths while meditating on the movement
- Continuing the mindful movement, start to focus on the sound
- Take 27 breaths while meditating on the sound
- You should now be meditating on your movement and the sound
- Observe the connection between the movement and the sound. Feel the oneness between movement and sound
- Focus on the oneness of sound and movement for 108 breaths
And that’s basically how to meditate on a singing bowl. You can always try other techniques and find the method that works best for you.
And that is everything you need to know about singing bowls! For beginners, I recommend simply picking one up using the Buying Guide above and experimenting with it. You can always get into the real meditation stuff later.
I hope you enjoyed this guide. Remember to subscribe and write a comment below.
Tibetan singing bowls give up their chaotic secrets – BBC News https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-13972556
Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison