What is Yin & Singing Bowls?

Using Crystal Bowls to Create a Soothing Sound Bath

 

Have you heard of the “Yin & Singing Bowls” class offered at Alchemy Hot Yoga and wondered what it is all about? Well, if you haven’t yet checked it out for yourself, you will be sorry you waited so long!

Tibetan bowls, comprised of an alloy of various metals, have been used for centuries by yogis for meditation and healing. When struck by a gong, or mallet, the sound and vibrations emitted “allows deep relaxation of both sides of the brain.” Known as sound therapy or acoustic healing, it is said that the ‘singing bowls’ bring a sense of calm and relaxation as the soundwaves penetrate the body at the cellular level. Similar to the sound of a tuning fork, when turned into a form of music, the melodies wash over the listener like a sound bath.

Today, crystal bowls have begun to displace the metal Tibetan variety, and are the sound bowls of choice in a variety of settings, including Alchemy Hot Yoga. The properties of quartz crystal make it an ideal vibrational transmitter, and the high percentage of water in our bodies make us excellent conductors for its sound. Crystal Tones, a U.S. manufacturer of 99% quartz crystal singing bowls, reports on its website, “The tones produced by crystal bowls are not just heard by the ear, you feel them in your body, with certain tones affecting your energy centers (chakras) for healing, balancing & meditation.”

How Do the Bowls Work?

According to Yoga Journal, using crystal bowls for sound therapy is gaining popularity, and they are used in hospitals, schools, yoga, and meditation studios, as well as in therapy settings. Through a concept called entrainment, our bodies respond and synchronize to the rhythm and frequency of the often-mesmerizing sounds from the bowls.

Our brainwaves, breathing, and heart rate sync and slow to match the melodic, calming vibrations created by the practitioner. The synchronizing of our body’s systems helps to restore and rejuvenate our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies, calms our thoughts, and brings our focus to the present. Studies have shown that the vibrations and sound can lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate. In addition, while lying in stillness the body becomes a receiver of sound, and as our perspective shifts away from our physical body and reacts to the different frequencies, pain in the body can dissipate.

Using singing bowls in certain yoga classes is now common. Quartz crystal bowls use specific sound and color vibrations that align with each chakra. For example, the heart chakra is green and is an F note; whereas the throat chakra is blue, and a G note. So, when an F note is played on a quartz crystal singing bowl, the resonance will connect directly to the heart chakra. The teacher uses mallets to strike or circle the different bowls, the diameter of the bowls determines the note, following a particular sequence, creating sound and vibrations.

What is the Yin & Singing Bowls Class Like?

You may be surprised that someone who has taken the Yin & Singing Bowls class will find it difficult to find the right words to describe it. Sure, they can tell you about the Yin poses, and how they just held Malasana for four minutes, but describing the harmonic sounds Nicole Bayer creates as she rubs, taps, strikes, and gently drums the smooth crystal bowls is where words fail.

First, it is important to understand Yin yoga. (Traditional yoga classes focus on yang, or dynamic flows.) Yin yoga is passive stretching and consists of holding poses for three to five minutes. The poses stretch the deep connective tissues in the body, including the ligaments, tendons, and fascia, rather than the superficial muscle tissue. Yin gets deep into the connective tissues to activate change. Throughout the class, Nicole explains the “whys” of each move, and it is clear she is extremely knowledgeable about the benefits of yin. Yin yoga is known to increase circulation, improve flexibility, release fascia and improve joint mobility. Yin yoga is also calming, and aids in reducing stress and anxiety.

So, what happens in the class? At the start of class, after the yogis have settled in to the simple cross-legged seated pose, or sukhasana, Nicole will play a gentle harmony on the bowls to induce the feeling of calm. She then guides the students through approximately 45-50 minutes of yin poses. Each class typically includes five to seven different yin poses, as well as gentle counter poses.

Finally, Nicole guides the students to savasana where they lie in stillness for approximately 10-15 minutes. Then, the room reverberates with an amazing sound bath! The “music” rises to a great crescendo before gradually softening to silence. Nicole gently brings the students back to awareness, and reminds them of their strength and awesomeness, and sends them off with “good, good, good, good vibrations!”

Yin & Singing Bowls is the perfect combination of Yin yoga and the meditative sounds of crystal bowls that will leave you feeling deeply relaxed, yet reinvigorated. It will also leave you wanting more!

Alchemy Hot Yoga of Wake Forest believes sound baths should be accessible as a regular part of your yoga practice. We are proud to offer the class weekly at the same price as all other regularly scheduled classes.  A 75-minute class is offered on Sundays at 11:00am, or for 60 minutes on Tuesdays at 7:00pm. Sign up today on Mindbody and find out how Yin & Singing Bowls can bring you a new level of calm!