I’d class myself as someone who’s relatively open minded to trying new things and hey in this job I come across all kinds of far out things, trust me! And so when I was offered the chance to try out a Tibetan bowl sound healing meditation class I was totally up for it, if not a little skeptical. I mean sure I get that haunting whale music, or sounds of the forest and all that malarkey can really help in the chill stakes, but how a few metal bowls being twanged every now and again are gonna work heaven knows! Plus I can’t help thinking I’d be better off getting a few wine glasses out at home and doing the whole wet finger on the rim trick… at least then I’d get a glass of wine out of it as well 😉
Charlie from Thyme with Charlie runs Yoga and Tibetan Singing Bowls Sound Healing Therapy classes at various locations across the South East, and so armed with a yoga mat and one of me besties, we headed on over to Weybridge to try out a class for ourselves.
I find it hard to relax, especially when I’m with people I don’t know and I’m in a place that’s unfamiliar to me. And I can get myself quite worked up about it all, you know worrying about all the what if’s, like what if I don’t know what to say to people, what if I’m not what they’re expecting, or what if I do something stupid. I’m getting better with age, but the anxiety still likes to rear its ugly head every now and again. So being in a class of strangers, trying to relax and switch off by doing something that quite frankly was alien to me, got the old tummy butterflies well and truly fluttering. I’d never met Charlie before that evening, but she’s one of those people who makes you feel instantly relaxed. You really don’t get to meet many people like that in life and it’s a very special type of person that welcomes you as if they’ve known you forever – like a long lost friend. Walking in to that incense filled room and seeing Charlie’s beaming smile, well I challenge anyone to not feel instantly at ease.
So Tibetan bowls then… what the devil are they? In layman’s terms they’re a set of different sized bowls usually made from a bronze alloy that when played (that’s a short drumstick esque thingamabob to you and me) produce different sound frequencies that can apparently help heal our chakras. I know, this is all new to be me too so I’ve put together an informative piece that goes into a bit more detail about the hows and whys of Tibetan bowls which you can read here.
But for now let me crack on and tell you what I experienced during the class and how I felt afterwards.
Let The Singing Commence…
I’m very good at talking abut this self care lark, but not always so good at practicing what I preach so the simple act of lying on my back, head pointing towards the bowls, already felt like a treat in itself. But when Charlie calmly started talking us through a meditation to help us settle into it before the sound therapy began, there was me having a mental argument with myself to switch off and relax.
Ha… easier said than done right!?!
I’m not naturally someone who finds it easy to relax, call me highly strung if you like, so although my eyes were shut, I was flat on my back and Charlie’s voice had that gorgeously sleepy hypnotic tone to it, my hands and feet were twitching like mad. And when she played the first bowl, I’d been concentrating so hard on trying to relax that it made me jump and for the next 3 or 4 sounds after I began to anticipate when the next one might happen. I’m sure my need to be in control has a major part to play in my inability to relax!
However, as the different frequencies came through I did slowly begin to relax and even though my eyes were closed I suddenly started seeing bursts of colour behind my eyelids. Imagine drops of food colouring being dropped into bowls of water and bursting across the surface all inky and cloudlike, it was just like that. First came intense bright reds and oranges, which changed to calmer tones of purple and blues, going through to yellows and greens before finally going back to grey at the end of the session. It was really strange, but oh so relaxing as it gave me something to focus on and therefore take my mind off of… well, relaxing! You know that scene in Finding Nemo when Nemo and Dory have escaped the sharks by swimming really deep and through the darkness they become hypnotised by this shining light? Well that’s exactly how I felt, as if I couldn’t take my eyes away from these beautiful coloured lights.
And hypnotised is exactly the word, because although I was seeing all these colours dancing so vividly across my eyelids, my body was completely and utterly still. No word of a lie, where it had been frantically twitching earlier, now it felt as if even if I’d have wanted to move I couldn’t have. Which I get might sound a bit frightening, but honestly it wasn’t, it simply felt like I was in a moment of absolute peace and tranquility – something I rarely get these days. Occasionally I would get distracted, my mind wandering away from the colours and into a dreamlike state of visiting different realms. And about halfway through the session I saw what I can only describe as a golden opening, like a central eye pulling me in, a bit like how people describe the tunnel of light they see if they’ve had a near death experience. It didn’t last for long, but it was definitely there and it felt comforting and peaceful. Could it have been some guardian angel telling me everything was going to be alright??? Listen, I know it all sounds a bit new age hippy, and yes the cynics among you might argue that I must have fallen asleep and was dreaming, but I’m 99.9% certain I didn’t because I was still fully aware of other sounds going on in the room and I very much felt centred in the here and now.
I can’t even begin to explain what happened during that session, but something flippin’ did and as I said before I’m not one for buying into all this kind of stuff usually. All I do know is I arrived at the session feeling stressed, I was knackered, had a headache and was just generally feeling as if my work life balance was completely out of whack. The usual taking too much on and with everything piling on top of me it felt as if I couldn’t cope. But when I opened my eyes and sat up it felt as though the biggest weight had been lifted from me. I felt calm, light, carefree and as if I could take on the world.
I was in control again.
I had the best sleep that night and woke up the next day again filled with positivity and equipped with an I can do anything attitude. Order had been resumed and it was all down to those bowls.
Want to experience Tibetan Singing Bowls for yourself?
I have the great honour of welcoming the lovely Charlie from Thyme with Charlie as one of the guest speakers and workshop leaders at a new wellness event I am co-hosting in Hampshire at the end of September. So if you are local and would like to experience the truly stunning power of these mystical bowls then book your ticket here.