After 30 minutes of yin yoga, I was lying rather peacefully in savasana, corpse pose. I was mindfully drawing attention to my breath as crystal bowls were played by our instructor at my yoga studio. This should be the only sound in the room during such a class — that of the clear tones emanating from the bowls. In the middle of a deep breath, as I followed the air from my nose to my chest to my belly, animated Chinese words suddenly rang out in the small space surrounding myself and the other two yogis as a man had burst through the studio door.
Perhaps long-time practicers of meditation could have stayed zen in those moments as the man continued to sing out loud sentences, seemingly unaware that he had interrupted a quiet class. It seems, though, that my practice has not quite reached these depths since the blood in my veins went from meandering river to rushing rapids. Life with Chinese characteristics.
Despite the raucous noise in the middle of the class, I still enjoyed my experience very much. While I had entered my first class out of curiosity, I now had a vested interested in understanding more about the power of these singing bowls. I spoke with Tara Kaur of Sedona Crystal Temple, a sound healing studio located in Sedona, Arizona, to learn more about all things sound healing.
How do crystal bowls hold power?
Tara explained that as you can watch the vibrations of the water in the bowl, this is the way that the sounds move through your body. She continued by describing the way that the atoms that make up our organs and thus our bodies can start to vibrate at frequencies that are too fast or too slow (largely due to various stress factors). When the alchemy bowls sing, the frequencies of the sound waves wash into you, allowing your body to return to a state of equilibrium.
While singing bowls or sound healing is what you may often hear these classes called, Tara says this is a misnomer; when you attend a class, what you engage in is vibration therapy.
Why might you go to a singingbowl-soundhealing-vibrationtherapy class?
To begin, because we curious humans want to know new things. Also, though, to restore that state of homeostasis to our bodies and melt away our sense of dis-ease to settle into a state of well-being.
The vibration of sound can resonate with many different systems within us. In an article for Yoga Journal, yoga teacher and vibrational healer Jeannine Dietz notes, “We are all vibrational beings … The vibration [of singing bowls] heals not only on a physical level but also on mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. The sound they produce is ethereal, haunting, and magical—probably like nothing you have ever heard before.”
You’re convinced now too, yes? So what exactly can you expect from your first class?
Deep relaxation. Tara said that in her classes, many people fall asleep without being in brainwave sleep. It is a state of supreme relaxation but with consciousness.
A movement of emotion. Tara also notes that people need to laugh out loud, while others need to cry. As the vibrations wash over and into you, they are “gently moving the physical body, but also the mental and emotional body.” Tara emphasizes that there is “no right or wrong way to have the experience.”
Just as I experienced in my first class with yin yoga, Tara explains that there is generally a yoga practice first in order to clear the subconscious. You may note that it takes some 20 minutes to settle into a massage; so it goes with vibration therapy as well, you need a bit of prep to sink into the experience and be open to the full benefits.
After an hour to an hour and a half, Tara finds that the energy in the room has shifted and the space has calmed.
I am already looking forward to bathing in sound again soon. If my studio in Shenzhen, China is a bit too far, you might check out Urban Yoga Chicago or speak with your yoga teacher about the studio nearest you.
May the only thing that sings at your session be the bowls.