All about soundbath meditation

A sound meditation can be a great starting point for those newer to meditation

If you’ve ever tried meditation, but have a hard time slowing down your thoughts—a singing bowl meditation might be for you.

Erin Anderson, Certified Mindfulness Instructor and Qigong Instructor at the George Wellbeing Center says, “The sound is a way to invite more present-time awareness and defocus on distractions.”

What is it?

A singing bowl meditation uses the pure tones of quartz crystal bowls to guide the body into deeper states of calm as you sit or recline quietly. Erin explains, “Playing the bowls produces sound waves, which interact with brainwaves and body tissues to create calm and awareness.”

Attending a singing bowl meditation is a way to relax and tune into what’s happening in the body. Erin shares that people can have a variety of experiences, from a physical sense of tension releasing, to an overall a feeling of wellbeing and more.

What to expect during a session

Group singing bowl meditation sessions at the George Wellbeing Center last 45 minutes, and begin with a brief guided breathing exercise. The instructor plays the crystal bowls for the majority of the session, before gently bringing the group out of the meditation.

During the meditation, Erin encourages participants to give themselves permission to let go—whether that means daydreaming or drifting off to asleep. “Sometimes our body can heal more quickly when it’s ‘offline’ and there is no conscious mind getting in the way—so even if you do fall asleep, the singing bowl meditation can be beneficial,” she says.

About the equipment

The singing bowls are made by heating pure quartz crystal around a mold at 4,000 degrees. Erin says, “The tones produced by the crystal are pure and focused. They can excite the molecules in the air and in our bodies, and move energy quickly.” The mallets used to either strike or “sing” the bowls in a sustained tone can be made of silicone, wood and suede, wood and felt, or rubber.

“Although I say ‘playing’ the bowls, I am not playing a song while facilitating a session. I play what feels good, using a variety of techniques to create texture and variety,” says Erin.

Himalayan bowls are different—they are typically bronze or brass, which can sound softer and more bell like. These bowls can be used during 1:1 bodywork sessions to conduct sound vibrations directly into the tissues of the body.

What to bring

Participants can lie on yoga mats, sit or use bolsters to recline—whatever feels more comfortable. The George Wellbeing Center provides mats, blankets and bolsters for use during a singing bowl meditation.

No special apparel is needed—you can attend a singing bowl meditation in office clothes or yoga pants. You might want to remove your shoes for comfort, but that’s optional.

Give it a try at the George Wellbeing Center

As with any new self-care practice, it’s a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before trying singing bowl meditation. To attend a group session, view the schedule, call 612-465-0468 or stop by in person. No appointment is needed. Find the George Wellbeing Center on the skyway (second) level of the Dayton YMCA in downtown Minneapolis.