The Benefits of Tibetan Singing Bowls and How to Use Them

Explore the history of using singing bowls in meditation as well as research results pointing to the benefits of sound baths. Discover how the sound of singing bowls can influence your body and mind and calm your mind with popular audio singing bowl pieces.
Chief Editor Insight Timer Blog
singing bowls meditation
Chief Editor Insight Timer Blog

For centuries, Tibetan singing bowls have echoed through the Himalayas. Known for their meditative and healing qualities, today, these instruments play an important role in mindfulness practices and sound therapy. 

Looking to explore the healing powers of Tibetan singing bowls? We review the different types of singing bowls, how to use them, and their benefits below!

Key takeaways

  • Tibetan singing bowls are staples in the ancient practices of meditation and yoga in the Himalayan region.
  • The vibrations of singing bowls can promote lower blood pressure, emotional balance, and more impactful meditation practices.
  • It’s important to choose the right singing bowl to fit your energy and therapeutic needs.

Insight Timer has thousands of singing bowl tracks to add to your mindfulness or yoga practice. Our sound healing meditations offer a therapeutic combination of singing bowls, gongs, voices, and more.

What are singing bowls?

Known for their calming effect, singing bowls — also known as Tibetan or Himalayan singing bowls — create deep, harmonic vibrations produced by striking the bowl with a mallet.  Singing bowls are traditionally made from metal alloys (like bronze, copper, iron, etc). Each bowl emits different sounds depending on their: 

  • shape
  • thickness
  • material

Where do singing bowls come from?

Singing bowls originated in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, India, Bhutan, and Nepal. Their exact origins aren’t known, but we do know a few things:

  • Singing bowls are deeply rooted in Tibetan Buddhist practices
  • They’ve been used for meditation, ceremonies, and rituals for thousands of years.
  • Generations of artisans have passed down the art of making and playing singing bowls in the Himalayas.

Types of singing bowls

There are several types of singing bowls, each known for its distinctive sound and healing properties. These include:

  • Tibetan singing bowls: Crafted from a mix of metals, these bowls are famous for their rich, harmonious overtones.
  • Crystal singing bowls: These bowls are made from quartz and produce a clear, resonant sound that is believed to align with the body’s energies.
  • Aluminum singing bowls: These are a modern, lightweight alternative to traditional metal bowls, producing a brighter sound. 

Practical tips for using singing bowls

Use these tips to help you choose and maximize the benefits of Tibetan bowls in your meditation sessions and daily life.

How to choose your singing bowl

Choosing the right singing bowl is important, as each type offers different sound and healing properties. Consider the following when selecting your bowl:

  • Material: Singing bowls are typically made from either a metal alloy or crystal. Metal bowls produce rich, deep tones, while crystal bowls offer a clearer, lighter sound.
  • Size: The size of the bowl affects its tone and vibration. Larger bowls produce deeper, more resonant sounds, which work best for group meditation or yoga sessions.

Most importantly, the singing bowl should feel right for you!  So, how do you know? Pay attention to how you feel when listening to it — does it evoke feelings of inner peace and calm? Are you able to quickly enter into a meditative state?

Pay attention to how you feel when listening to it — does it evoke feelings of inner peace and calm? Are you able to quickly enter into a meditative state?

How to properly use a singing bowl for meditation and yoga

Whether you meditate or do yoga first, nail the steps below to start incorporating singing bowls into your sessions:

1. Set up a quiet space

Find a comfortable area where you can sit quietly without distractions. Take a few minutes to center yourself with some breathwork. This can help you regulate your nervous system and enter a state of relaxation. 

Try a space-clearing practice to create a more comforting atmosphere.

2. Decide on the bowl placement 

You have a few options here: Place the bowl on the ground in front of you — ideal for larger bowls — or hold it in your non-dominant hand. For smaller bowls, having them on your fingertips allows for better vibration.

3. Warm up the bowl

Gently tap the rim of the bowl with the mallet, also called a striker, to ‘warm up’ the metal or crystal. Try to strike the rim at a 45-degree angle. 

4. Circle the bowl  

Run the mallet around the outside rim of the bowl in a slow, circular motion, applying even pressure. Circle the mallet around the bowl with your wrist, not your arm, for the clearest sound.

5. Adjust the speed and pressure 

Play around with your motion to change the sound. Increasing the speed or pressure can produce a deeper, more intense vibration.  

6. Focus on the sound

Now, close your eyes and use the vibrations of the bowl to guide you to a meditative state. Re-engage the breath for deep relaxation and awareness.

How to use a singing bowl on a day-to-day basis

Using singing bowls daily can help us remain calm and grounded. Try using one for:

  • Morning ritual: Begin your morning with a short singing bowl session to clear your mind and set a positive tone for the day.
  • Stress relief: Play your singing bowl during stressful moments to refocus and relax.
  • Nighttime routine: The soothing sounds of a singing bowl meditation can help you release the day’s stressors and prepare your mind and body for sleep.

You don’t need to use your own singing bowl every time. Attend a sound bath or listen to sound healing meditation tracks — it’s just as effective!

  1. Nepal Patrick Lynen 30:26
  2. Heart Chakra Tibetan Singing Bowls Sonic Yogi 19:16
  3. Crystal Singing Bowls with Campfire Kathleen Mackay 30:43
  4. Relaxing Sound Bath of Crystal Singing Bowls Desh 117:48
  5. A Sound Meditation with Quartz Crystal Bowls Aileen 17:20
  6. 33 Bowls Tibetan Singing Bowls: Rain 33bowls 45:20
  7. Live Soundbath: 12 Tibetan Singing Bowls Johnny Scifo 11:08
  8. Universe One Michael and Jahna Perricone 30:00
  9. Choir of Fourteen Singing Bowls: Sound Bath Johnny Scifo 20:12
  10. Sound Meditation: Himalayan Singing Bowls WelcomeEarth 16:47

The benefits of Tibetan singing bowl meditation

Increase the impact of yoga and meditation

Singing bowls are a lovely addition to your wellness practices. The sound vibrations can deepen meditation and yoga sessions by promoting relaxation and present-moment awareness. Studies show that the sound produced by singing bowls lessens tension, which make it easier to enter a meditative state.

Promote emotional balance

The science is clear: Tibetan singing bowl meditation is an effective, low-cost intervention for reducing feelings of anxiety and depression while enhancing spiritual well-being. Part of the improvement has to do with the bowl’s effect on brainwaves, promoting a more tranquil and balanced condition.

Reduce daily stress

In addition to balancing emotions, singing bowls are great for stress reduction, supported by research in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. Tibetan singing bowl meditations are shown to decrease tension in the body associated with stress. 

Improve physical health

The regular use of singing bowls doesn’t just improve mental health. It’s also linked to many physical health benefits, including:

  • lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • improved immune system response
  • better respiratory rate

Alter brainwave activity and deepen concentration

The positive impact of meditative music on brainwave activity is well-researched — and singing bowls are no exception. Play or listen to singing bowl meditations to help: 

  • focus and concentration
  • mental clarity
  • daily productivity

Focus even more deeply with brainwave entrainment meditation tracks. 

Balance chakras and clear energy

The frequencies produced by singing bowls can help balance our chakras, clearing any blockages in our energy centers that accumulate over time. With proper energy flow through our chakras, we can experience more profound spiritual growth.

Use singing bowls to enhance mindfulness practices

Now that you know how to find the right singing bowl for your practice, and how to properly use your singing bowl, you’re ready to experience this ancient meditative tradition from the Himalayas for yourself!

Or, if you’d rather listen to tracks of singing bowls, you can still experience the benefits of their healing sound waves. Discover Insight Timer’s extensive collection of free singing bowl tracks and courses to add to your wellness routine. Improve your emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being with expert-led sessions that cater to everyone — from beginners to experienced yogis and meditators.  

Dive deeper into the power of music and sound with Insight Timer’s valuable resources.

FAQs about singing bowls

What are the powers of singing bowls?

Singing bowls are known for their ability to induce relaxation and reduce stress. Their harmonic vibrations can engage the brain’s theta waves, promoting deeper meditation and improved concentration.

What are the disadvantages of singing bowls?

While singing bowls benefit many, they can be disruptive for some people, especially those with sound sensitivity or certain neurological conditions. It’s important to use them thoughtfully and observe how they affect you. 

If you’re unsure about whether or not to use singing bowls, consult with a medical professional. 

How many minutes should I use my singing bowl?

There’s no fixed time for using a singing bowl. A general session might last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Listen to your body and intuition to find what works best for you.

Can singing bowls open chakras?

Yes. The frequencies produced by singing bowls are believed to help balance and open chakras, creating a smoother energy flow throughout the body.

How do you use a singing bowl for anxiety relief?

Slow, rhythmic strokes around the bowl’s rim can emit a calming sound that soothes anxious feelings. 

Why would you put water in a singing bowl?

Adding water to a singing bowl changes its vibration and produces a different sound. This can enhance the bowl’s auditory experience and meditative qualities.

How can you tell if a singing bowl is good quality?

A good quality singing bowl should have a smooth, even tone that resonates for some time after being struck. High-quality bowls are typically made from a blend of different metals.


University of Nevada, Reno. (n.d.). Releasing Stress Through the Power of Music | Counseling Services. University of Nevada, Reno.

Goldsby, T. L., Goldsby, M. E., McWalters, M., & Mills, P. J. (2016). Effects of Singing Bowl Sound Meditation on Mood, Tension, and Well-being: An Observational Study. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(3), 401–406.

Kučikienė, D., & Praninskienė, R. (2018). The impact of music on the bioelectrical oscillations of the brain. Acta medica Lituanica, 25(2), 101–106.

Stanhope, J., & Weinstein, P. (2020). The human health effects of singing bowls: A systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 51, 102412.

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