What do you picture when you think about meditation? Sitting crossed legged in complete silence, breathing deeply? You’re not exactly wrong… but you’re not exactly right either.
This is one form of meditation. But it turns out that there are so many different ways to meditate. And for music lovers like myself, meditation music is an incredible addition to your meditation routine!
My personal favourite way to add to some music to my meditation is with a Tibetan singing bowl. It’s serious magic friends and I am so excited to gush about it!
So let’s do this! Get ready to talk about what meditation music has to offer and how you can meditate with a Tibetan singing bowl:
Why You Should Totally Meditate
I’ve shared the goodness of meditation many times. But that’s because it’s so AWESOME! There are few things that are so simple and yet so beneficial at the same time.
I mean, just look at this refresher of the some of what meditation has to offer your mental health:
Meditation Reduces Anxiety
So many of us are stressed out and living life in the fast lane these days. Finding stress relieving activities that help us slow down, relax and simply be is a godsend. And since we already have enough on our plate, the easier the self-care the better.
Meditation may be the easiest option out there.
Seriously! Meditating on the regular can reduce anxiety by as much as 39%! That is one huge drop, am I right? What’s even cooler is the fact that it’s just as effective against anxiety as some prescription anxiety medications. Wowza! (source)
One way that mediation helps to combat anxiety is by activating the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, a part of the brain that controls thinking and emotion, and the Ventromedial Prefontal Cortex, which controls worrying.
Getting those two prefontal cortex superstars to work together like that is part of meditation’s anxiety reducing magic and leaves you feeling more relaxed. Can I get a hurrah? (source)
Oh but it just keeps getting better!
Meditation might also lower cortisol levels. And that hormone is associated with mental and physical stress, so trust me when I say less is absolutely more! (source)
I’m already feeling more relaxed just thinking about all the awesome meditation brings to the table!
Meditation Makes You More Focused
Meditating gives your beautiful brain a nice break! And that break is so needed, since we are almost always working away at something (ok, a lot of somethings).
Giving that beautiful brain a break helps you learn to be more focused. It sounds a little backwards, but hear me out…
People who meditate have been shown to have better working memories and attention spans than those who don’t get their ohm on. They even do better on tests than those who don’t meditate! (source 1, source 2)
And that could be because meditation might increase the levels of gyrification in the brain. Which is fancy talk for the folding of the cerebral cortex. More folds means our brains may process information faster. Basically the coolest thing ever! (source)
Meditation Supports Your Immune Health
Trust me when I say that your immune health matters tons. Autoimmunity certainly gave me a real appreciation for my immune system. It’s something we should cherish and care for.
Meditation gets weirdly incredible when we start looking at it’s effects on immune health.
Beginner and experienced meditators tend to show positive shifts in gene expressions that are associated with stress, inflammation and wound healing. And experienced meditators have one extra gift – a positive shift in genes involved in fighting off viral infections. Booyah! (source)
Experienced meditators also have an increase in telomerase, an enzyme involved in building telomeres, the tiny mechanisms that sit at the end of our chromosomes and prevent them from unraveling.
Shorter telomeres are associated with aging but also play a role in many chronic illnesses. Supporting your telomeres helps to support your well-being. And meditation’s potential aid in the telomere department is pretty freaking amazing!
Basically, it’s possible that meditation may lead to healthier aging (more studies are needed). But I still think that’s one exciting maybe! (source)
Meditation Helps Support a Healthy Blood Pressure
A high blood pressure is nothing to scoff at. It can increase your risk of stroke, heart attacks and even kidney failure. It can also narrow and block your arteries, and strain and weaken your organs. Uhm, no thank you!
The stress management qualities of meditation can be a huge help in protecting your blood pressure. But it gets so much cooler than that!
Mindfulness meditation may also result in an increase of nitric oxide. This helps to dilate your blood vessels, thus lowering your blood pressure (source). Isn’t that incredible?
Dr. Randy Zusman, director of the hypertension program at Massachusetts General Hospital, even encourages his hypertension patients to meditate. It’s potential to help is too good to miss out on! (source)
Meditation is, of course, not the only answer. A healthy diet, active lifestyle and regular medical check ups play a huge roll in protecting your health too. It’s all about that sweet, sweet balance!
Meditation Music Ups the Health Benefits
While it is absolutely fantastic to meditate in silence, meditation music can add a ton of goodness to an already amazing self-care activity!
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the vast majority of us feel moved by music. Music can completely change your mood. It can uplift you, move you, energize you…
Music permeates all parts of our brain! And we even have auditory cortex neurons that activate specifically to music. We were built to be respond to it! (source)
Music is so powerful that some therapists even use it to help their patients.
Barbara Reuer, PhD, director of MusicWorx Inc., a music therapy practice and training program, has this to say about the therapeutic benefits of music:
“You don’t need to read music, play an instrument or even sing on key to benefit from music therapy. The ability to respond to music is natural within every person.” (source)
But what’s in it for you?
According to the smarties over at Harvard, music can:
- Lower blood pressure
- Slow the heart rate
- Reduce levels of stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines
- Relieve stress
- Improve sleep quality
- Reduce symptoms of depression and pain
- Enhance our mood
- Boost brain function
- Lead to feelings of relaxation
Isn’t that a huge list of awesome?
Combine that with meditations benefits, like:
- Reduced Anxiety and Stress
- Improved Focus and Concentration
- Decreased Blood Pressure
- Increased Empathy and Compassion
And the list gets bigger! I don’t know about you, but I’m always excited for more goodness like this (especially if it’s easy to tap into!)
But what about meditation music?
Slow meditative music, like the beautiful sound created by a Tibetan singing bowl, is especially great for putting us in a relaxed state whilst slowing down our heart rate and breathing. Which means that meditation music is marvelous! (source)
Singing Bowls Make the Perfect Meditation Music
When many of us picture meditation, we usually imagine this quiet moment where we sit perfectly still and breathe. But there are so many different ways to meditate!
Meditating with music is a total thing!
Julianna Raye, a mindfulness meditation trainer, recommends using meditation music:
“A lot of people don’t believe it’s even possible to meditate while listening to music. If you fall into this category you may have only been exposed to certain methods, such as mantra practice or focusing on your breath. It’s true that neither of these popular approaches lend themselves to practicing with music. But the style of practice called mindfulness [meditation] can be applied in lots of ways, including listening to your favorite music!” (source)
And, as you now know, when we bring music and meditation together we get a huge list of awesome!
We hit the jackpot guys!
Super bonus, singing bowls are easy to play!
At least, when using a good quality bowl! Before I got my Shanti Bowl Tibetan singing bowl I seriously struggled. My hubby already has a little one and I couldn’t get it to make a sound no matter how hard I tried (while he seemed to have the magic touch). Let’s just say that I got super frustrated and gave up…
But when your bowl is made just right it’s absolutely simple to play and takes very little practice to get there!
With a singing bowl you can easily tap into the health benefits meditation music.
How Do You Play a Singing Bowl?
The best way to play is to lay your bowl flat on your palm, holding it lightly. Avoid clutching it – this will affect (or even inhibit) the sound.
Then follow these steps:
- Softly strike the bowl with the padded-end of the mallet
- Immediately circle around the rim of the bowl using the padded-end of the mallet
- Maintain a consistent speed, using a gentle but firm, even pressure
- Try not to go too fast and instead allow the volume to build gradually as you go
A high quality bowl can sing really quickly. But it takes some practice.
If you’re new to playing a singing bowl and you’re having a little trouble, don’t fret. Be patient with yourself as you learn how to play! Sometimes a beginner may need to circle the rim of the bowl ten or more times before they can get it to sing. That’s totally normal (I was the same way).
It took me about 30 minutes of practice to really feel like I’d mastered playing my singing bowl. And hey – there are still moments where it takes me a little bit to get it going, but man can I ever make it sing! (It’s so exciting!)
Dr. Barbara Reuer urges us to be kind to ourselves when we learn to use musical instruments as a form of music therapy.
“Try not to pass judgment on your singing abilities or get frustrated if you make mistakes as you play your instrument. The idea is to be in the moment and just let go.” (source)
Practice makes perfect. And unlike most musical instruments, with a good quality singing bowl it won’t be long until you’re a total pro!
Shanti Bowls has a helpful video demonstration on how to play your bowl right here:
And yes, you are totally making sweet, sweet music! When you strike a Shanti Bowl Tibetan Singing Bowl you’re creating a beautiful sound in B. And when you make it sing by going around the rim that’s a gorgeous F note! They don’t call it a singing bowl for nothing. It’s the perfect meditation music!
Ready to get your meditation on using a Shanti Bowl Tibetan Singing Bowl?
How To Meditate with a Singing Bowl
- Start by making your bowl sing (see instructions above)
- Continue circling the rim of the bowl with the mallet
- Be mindful of the movement – focus on your wrist and hand as they circle the bowl
- Breath slowly and deeply while meditating on the movement, in through your nose, out through your mouth
- Start your practice off gently with 5 slow, deep breaths
- Continue playing the singing bowl and shift your focus to the the sound
- Take 5 more deep, slow breaths while meditating on that beautiful sound
- Notice to connection between movement and sound as you play your singing bowl and take 5 more deep, slow breaths
Boom! An awesome meditation session using the best form of meditation music I know – your Tibetan singing bowl!
At any point, you can absolutely expand your practice and take more breaths during the different phases of a singing bowl meditation. Do this when and if it feels right.
But know that it’s ok to start small! Meditation take some practice. And even a minute of meditation is seriously good for our well-being! How cool is it that we can add meditation music to our practice for extra goodness?
Why I Recommend Using Shanti Bowl’s Tibetan Singing Bowls
As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t play my hubby’s little singing bowl to save my life! I thought I just didn’t have the skill. Boy what I wrong!
I assumed that I sucked at playing singing bowls and had practically given up. But I am so happy with my Shanti Bowl Tibetan singing bowl! And can proudly say that I can make that baby sing! It’s given me a new way to experience meditation and brings me great joy in general.
I’ve actually been playing my bowl first thing after work every day… except for when my hubby gets to it first (he’s in love!)
It turns out that quality really matters when you’re investing in a singing bowl.
A lot of the singing bowls on the market are mass produced on an assembly line and have a very poor quality. They usually produce a hollow, out of tune sound with very few vibrations (meaning that the sound is not as pleasing to the ears and won’t last – which sucks as meditation music). And can be hard AF to play!
Shanti Bowl prides themselves on creating high quality bowls!
Shanti Bowl’s Tibetan singing bowls are handmade. They are carefully hand-crafted by skilled Tibetan artisans and are respectfully made using traditional techniques.
These bowls are made following an ancient Tibetan formula, using panchaloga. Panchaloga is a Sanskrit work meaning five-metal alloy that includes copper, zinc, iron, and traces of gold and silver. Yes, your Shanti Bowl has traces of gold and silver in it gorgeous! Feel so fancy, doesn’t it?! This gives their bowls a beautiful rich, warm, vibrant sound that actually lasts.
It also comes with a lovely hand-carved wooden mallet. All together, you’re getting this marvelous piece of functional art that also bring some amazing healing properties to the table! Count me in!
Ensuring good quality is so important to the Shanti Bowl team.
They carefully test every single singing bowl to make sure that they are harmonically balanced, which makes them perfect for meditation music. You definitely don’t want an instrument that’s out of tune, right? That still matters when it comes to singing bowls.
While it may sound like a Shanti Bowl would cost an arm and a leg, they’re actually very well priced!
A bowl like this typically lasts a life time and would often retail for hundreds of dollars. But Shanti Bowl wanted to make their singing bowls much more affordable so that they could share the awesomeness with as many people as possible.
You can get a Shanti Bowl for just $54.50 USD (S70.57 CAD).
But if you use the coupon code RELAX you’ll save 10%. Yahoo!
Oh, and to add to the awesomeness, Shanti Bowl prioritizes people before profit and aspires to make the world a better place! One of the ways they do this by donating 15% of their profits to several non-profit organizations that help to provide meditation and mindfulness practices to at-risk communities. Isn’t that wonderful?
When you buy a Shanti Bowl Tibetan singing bowl you’re also paying it forward by helping to create a positive impact and supporting social services that help people find more peace. I love it!
Do you have your own meditation practice? Have you used a singing bowl as a form of meditation music before? Excited to try it? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below!
Health and love,
Thought of the day: I am open to expanding my horizons and trying new things
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