Ever since I trekked in the beautiful mountains of Nepal I have been intrigued by the sound and healing benefits of singing bowls. There they often practice/meditate using Himalyan singing bowls which are made of metal. More recently I discovered the sonic beauty of Crystal Singing Bowls which are commonly used to accompany or compliment a yoga practice. I’m now a trained Crystal Bowls Sound Bath Practitioner and regularly play as part of my own practice and in class for clients.
What is a crystal sound bath?
A crystal sound bath is a form of sound healing and is a deeply-immersive, full-body experience that uses sound vibrations to release tension and restore balance in the mind and body.
The experience begins lying down in a comfortable position supported by bolsters, blankets and an optional eye mask. We start with a gentle breathing exercise to release any tension and enable deep relaxation. Once settled, crystal singing bowls are played. Each bowl is a different size and has it’s own unique sound. There are seven in total, each representing one of the seven main chakras in your body located between the base of your spine to just above the top of your head. Chakras are energy centres within the body that correspond to bundles of nerves, major organs and areas of our energetic body that affect our emotional and physical wellbeing. If these become blocked you may experience physical or emotional symptoms related to a particular chakra. You can unblock or rebalance your chakras by practicing certain yoga poses, breathing exercises and through sound therapy.
How do sound baths work?
Sound healing isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s an ancient art that has been practiced for thousands of years. The idea behind sound therapy is that everything in the universe vibrates, including our bodies. When your body is affected by day to day stresses and pressure it can become out of balance and a little stuck as your body stops vibrating at its healthy frequency. Sound baths send sound waves through your body, which brings harmony through oscillation and resonance. This can help restore your body’s balance, leading to wellness.
One of the reasons for the use of crystal singing bowls (made out of high-purity quartz) is the belief that our bodies are made of crystalline structures. For this reason, it’s believed that crystal singing bowls significantly affect the organs and cells of your body. As the bowls are played they can also change your brainwave frequency to a more relaxed state of mind. There are five different brainwave states, as outlined below that we oscillate between.
- Delta is your unconscious mind, your sleeping mode, which allows deep self healing and regeneration.
- Theta is when you stay awake but your body is resting. This is the state we come to during the sound bath.
- Alpha is our focused state, great for learning and focusing
- Beta is when we’re experiencing anxiety, fear and over thinking.
- Gamma is our flight, flight mode when we’re highly stressed.
The bowls help bring you in to a Theta brainwave state where you’re awake whilst your body is resting.
What are the benefits?
Crystal singing bowls are powerful tools that can help heal mental and physical ailments. Your mind is constantly processing thoughts, often on perpetual repeat. Crystal singing bowls help pause the thought process, allowing you to relax deeply. The sound experience can be incredibly powerful, helping to enhance your mood and soothe your soul. Some benefits of this relaxing therapy include:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Improving circulation and increasing blood flow
- Deep relaxation and pain relief
- Chakra balancing
- Increased mental and emotional clarity
- Promotes stillness, happiness and well being
- Stimulates the immune system
- Helps with sleep
I offer monthly Yin yoga and sound bath sessions which can be joined in person or from the comfort of your home online. Each 90 minute practice includes an hour of Yin followed by a 30 minute crystal sound bath. Yin yoga works deeply into the body with passive, longer-held poses, working into the connective tissues, ligaments, joints and fascia. It’s an ideal practice to calm the nervous system before coming to rest to receive the sound of the crystal singing bowls.