Nada Yoga and sound healing with Tibetan singing bowls bamboo flute gong mokugyo drum voiceI am a life student and practitioner of Nada Yoga and sound healing with the singing bowls, bamboo flute, gong, mokugyo drum and voice. I would like to explain simply here what these processes are, with some examples, as well as share my initiation into the journey.

 

What is Sound Healing?

Also known as vibrational medicine, sound healing uses sound and vibration for healing on the physical, mental and spiritual levels (explained further below in Tibetan singing bowls section). Everything that exists  is vibrating with energy, including the body cells. When an organ or tissue is unbalanced, vibrating ‘out-of-tune’, disharmonious, not at ‘ease’, it leads to ‘dis-ease’.  Sound healing works to restore the bodily organs to harmonious resonance with the whole being.

Himalayan singing bowls, gong, tinghsa, dorje meditation bell, Indian bamboo flute (bansuri), sitar, harmonium, kalimba/Zimbabwean mbira, West African djembe drum, South American pan flute, handpan, Australian didgeridoo, wind chimes, tuning fork, shamanic rattle, Aztec rain stick, and the human voice are just some instruments that have been historically used to produce healing sound.

 

What is Nada Yoga?

Simply put, it is union with the divine self through sound/vibration. It is an ancient Indian metaphysical and philosophical system based on the premise that the entire cosmos and everything existing in it (including humans) is made up of energy vibrations. Sound as we hear it is merely the audible range of these vibrations.

Nada yoga is a reverential approach to sound, which carries spiritual weight more meaningful than merely sensual stimulation. Sound and music can be intermediaries to achieve deeper unity with both the outer and inner cosmos.

“Nada” (technically “naad”) is the primal sound or vibration, and originates from the Sanskrit word meaning  “flow of consciousness.” “Yoga” (technically “yog”) means union, that is, spiritual union of the individual consciousness with the cosmic consciousness. Nada yogic philosophy discusses 2 types of naad: aahat and anahat. “Aahat naad” is what we physically experience as sound, whether noise, music, or pure tones, received by the ears and interpreted by the brain. We gradually purify random sound to organized sound (music) to simpler and simpler mantras, to pure tone sound, eventually ending in silence. “Anahat naad” is the ultimate aim of the nada yogic practice. It is the “unstruck sound,” the “sound of silence,” produced from the sahasrara chakra above the crown of the head, and received by the anahata chakra at the centre of the chest. This sacred sound once received opens up ones chakras, ultimately leading to union with the divine consciousness.

(If only it was as easy as it sounds! Pun intended.)

 

AUM_  or Om

Orange Om symbol in Sanskrit
Sanskrit Omkara

Om is the beej (seed) mantra chanted at the start of longer mantras, where the “o” sound combines the Sanskrit “a” and “u” sounds of the pure AUM ideally pronounced in fullness when chanted alone.

 

Himalayan/Tibetan Singing Bowls – history and theory

These ancient mystical tools have a long spiritual history from their origin in the Himalayan mountains. Their oldest known use dates back to the pre-Buddhist period, by the Bonpo shamans of the Himalayas. With the dawn of Buddhism, bowls were used by initiates to collect food donations. Eventually the sound of the bowl grew as a tool for meditation and healing. It is more correct to refer to the bowls as Himalayan than the more common label as Tibetan as their origins lie across the mountain range.

In their modern-day usage as tools of healing, they work on 3 levels: physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual. Physically, the human body constitutes approximately 60% water, with even higher concentrations in the organs. Water molecules resonate and thus strongly vibrate with the vibrations from the singing bowls, thus physical blockages in the body are literally shaken up as the bowls are played around or on the body in what can be called a cellular massage.Furthermore, Japanese Dr Masaru Emoto found that the molecular structure of water changes according to what thoughts or sounds are fed to it, forming beautiful crystalline structures when given loving words or beautiful music. When played live, the singing bowls produce not just one note but a range of harmonics, some of which we can hear and others which we can’t – all contributing to the resonance of different body cells and the healing process.

Me placing a singing bowl on the stomach of a woman lying down in a group meditation session
Sound healing in practice with Child of the Earth

The bowls produce very steady, regular sound waves that send the brain into deeply relaxed and meditative states. When 2 bowls of similar pitch are played together, entrainment of waves produces binaural beat tones, naturally (see Binaural Beats below). Several participants in my singing bowl meditations have reported being unsure if they were awake or asleep – this is telling of the deeply meditative theta state. The chattering of the mind and emotions of the day fade away as the brain tunes into a deep relaxation.

Finally, when used for holistic healing, the bowls are associated with the bodily chakras, and used to activate and cleanse these energy centres that interact with aspects of our daily lives – from family and roots, to love, to spiritual awakening.

The singing bowls are made from an alloy of metals, including copper and zinc (brass), usually tin (bronze), and whichever other metals are available at the time of making such as iron, lead, gold and silver. The process of hand-hammering a singing bowl is a long and laborious process of melting and moulding before the bowl is ready for sanding and polishing.

When stroked around the edge, the bowl produces a melodic tone sounding like a  human voice singing, hence its name. The bowls produce a very pure  and tone, like the Omkara used in Nada Yoga to reach deep meditative states.

 

What are Binaural beats?

When two different sound waves of very similar frequency meet, they interact to form a new sine wave. When these two similar waves are inputted one to the left ear and one to the right ear, the brain perceives a new low-frequency sine wave that is the difference of the frequencies. For example, if the left ear is fed a 200 Hz wave and the right ear a 210 Hz wave, the brain will perceive a 10 Hz wave. Though this new wave is not in the human audible range, the brain ‘tunes’ to the new frequency, which is associated with certain brain states:

  • Beta brainwaves (12-35 Hz) are associated with alertness,  logic, critical reasoning, or if too high, stress and anxiety. Most of the working population today spends majority of their waking hours in beta state.
  • Alpha brainwaves (8-12 Hz) are associated with relaxed alertness, daydreaming, creativity and light meditation. The alpha state heightens memory, learning, imagination and concentration. It is the base of conscious awareness and the gateway to the subconscious.
  • Theta brainwaves (4-8 Hz) are associated with deep relaxation, light sleep, and deep meditation. The theta state is the subconscious realm where profound insights, exceptional creativity, vivid visualisations and and great inspiration can be experienced.
  • Delta brainwaves (0.5-4 Hz) are associated with deep, dreamless sleep; deep, transcendental meditation; and deep healing. It is the gateway to the collective unconscious.

 

Cymatics

Cymatics is the study of visible manifestations of sound waves. The famous Chladni plate had sand on a metal plate that forms into geometric patterns when a violin bow is drawn across it. Similarly, when a singing bowl is filled with water and played, the water ripples and leaps into beautiful geometric patterns.

 

My Journey with Sound Healing

~ Closing my eyes, I allow the sound of the Tibetan singing bowls to flow through and permeate every cell of my body. My brain begins to vibrate with the high bowl’s song, and it soon melts, along with my physical body. I feel a new awareness beyond the physical body as my chakras resonate, and these energy centres come alive with power and harmony. That ancient voice guides me into space, a deeply comforting darkness where glowing orbs hover with answers to the mysteries of the universe. A deep growl reverberating from the largest bowl takes me centuries, millennia back, to a temple high in the Himalayan mountains whose sacred carvings begin to glow a dark orange. We are sitting in deep meditation muttering mantras of protection and healing, vibrating in resonance with the essence of the universe – AUM. My present soul joins the gathering and a voice murmurs “Welcome back, child.” ~

 

This was the defining meditation that led me to make the final decision to delve into sound healing. It was my first live meditation with the Tibetan singing bowls – before, I had only heard them through YouTube, and was so entranced by their power to send me into deep healing meditation that I was determined to experience their vibrations firsthand and see if this was a life path I wanted to venture down. The above took place in Thailand, in a group meditation facilitated by 4 sound shamans wielding various tools, from the Himalayan singing bowls to crystal bowls to rattles to didgeridoos to voice.

 

We spend our lives gradually uncovering truths about our essence. We receive many signs, and messages from gurus of all shapes and forms, which we may or may not heed. But it is never too late to stop, listen, trust, and let go. Personally, nature has been the goddess that has always guided me through every step. Prostrating before a lake is my position of ultimate comfort, humility and power. When the ancient voice of the singing bowls called me, I stepped tenderly onto this path of Nada Yoga, union of the individual with the cosmos through the highest vibration.

Similarly, the bansuri and my voice are channels of a force of healing, power and manifestation beyond my human comprehension. I continue to listen and follow with patience and trust…

 

My Offerings

See Work with me for more info.

  • Sound Healing  – personal in-depth sessions or group meditations
  • Pranayama (breathing and manipulation of prana, the life force)
  • Meditation (sound / nature / guided / breath / chakra / beej mantras / goddess mantras / eating / tea / walking)
  • Hatha yoga (slow and meditative classical yoga, for all levels including beginners)

“Great person with amazing skills that calm the mind, heal the soul and reinvigorate the self.” – Kamenchu

“I was overcome by intense happiness from my heart when you played the bowl there.” – Nimira

“I don’t need my insomnia pills any more. The morning after the sound meditation, for the first time in months, I woke up happy and even now – months later, I am filled with joy of life and what I do” – Modha

“Child of the earth’s Healing is beautiful, unique and powerful. Her energy is pure and true. Her sound healing helped me release stale energy that no longer served my higher purpose.” – Kim

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