Traditional Uses for Tibetan Singing Bowls
This question is a big one, and one we get asked almost every day. How do people use Tibetan singing bowls? Traditionally, there is only one way people used Tibetan singing bowls, and that was for meditation and ceremonial purposes. Monks used Tibetan singing bowls during their ceremonies, to start the ceremony, to end the ceremony, and sometimes to meditation and chant during the ceremony. Although the exact date when singing bowls were started is probably unknown, it is clear that singing bowls have been in use in Tibet for a very long time. (Though that is true, if someone tells you they want to sell you an old Tibetan singing bowl, please don't buy that bowl- while it is not certain that the bowl is not old, it is also not certain that the bowl IS old.)
Singing Bowls in Meditation
Now that singing bowls are becoming more well-known and popular, not to mention more affordable, everyone can use a singing bowl for their meditation practice. When you use a singing bowl for meditation, you can have someone else play the bowl while you meditate to the sound, but perhaps it is more of a whole body meditation when you play the singing bowl yourself. This is because, in addition to hearing the sound of the singing bowl, you can also feel the vibration of the singing bowl when you play it. Then the singing bowl becomes a whole body meditation. Many people come into our store and want to know whether they have to have a singing bowl cushion. Although the singing bowl cushion is a great tool musically for gonging the singing bowl or when you play more than one singing bowl at a time, it is not needed for meditation, because it is really best if you hold the bowl for meditation.
It is a less traditional use of a singing bowl, but one that is becoming more and more popular, to play a singing bowl for chakra cleansing. Doing so is a complicated practice, and if you are a novice to singing bowls and chakra cleansing, it is probably best just to pick a bowl you like and go from there. But if you want to use your singing bowl for chakra cleansing, we do have a section of singing bowls where the note and chakra is marked on the bowl so you can get the exact note you need to play for your chakra cleansing. However, it's not prudent to look at the chakra chart and think to yourself, I want to be more spiritual, and then go for the crown chakra to help with that. The process is more complicated than that, and you can't really self-diagnose the chakras.
Singing Bowls to Make Beautiful Music
The singing bowl makes beautiful music, and more and more musicians are using singing bowls. It's also a chance for musicians to have additional venues to play, as the singing bowl and live music in yoga classes becomes more popular. To play a singing bowl as a musician you can buy a variety of singing bowls in different sizes and with different notes, and play them all together. Hearing someone who is really great at playing the singing bowls is a lovely experience.
Singing Bowls in Yoga Classes, or for Healing Sessions
Practitioners are using singing bowls more and more in yoga classes and healing sessions. For yoga classes, the singing bowl can be used at the first of the class to get the class started, or during savasana at the end of class. I have also seen yoga teachers use the singing bowl at the end of a class by gonging the singing bowl. This can help the students come out of savasana or meditation. In a restorative yoga class, the singing bowl may be used during the entire class. Singing bowls are also used during massages, reiki sessions, and other healing sessions.
So you can see, the uses for singing bowls abound, and so there is no one right answer for the question, what are singing bowls used for?