I was pregnant with my third baby in 2009 when I walked into my favourite "new age" shop ... and there it was! The bowl that would change the course of my musical career.
Oh that perfectly rounded shape, the pure white colour and that crystal clear resonant sound!
It was most definitely LOVE at first sight ... followed by LOVE at first sound!
I had just experienced my very first encounter with a crystal singing bowl at a "new age" shop in my area. I was in love and KNEW that I NEEDED at least one of these beauties to add to my collection of instruments.
MY INSTRUMENT COLLECTION OBSESSION
Yes I had been collecting instruments since I was about 18 because I knew that one day I would work with people in a therapeutic way using music as a tool ... I just didn't know how yet! I read books on music and sound therapy, did 100s of brainstorming sessions on all the ways I could work with people and starting collecting musical instruments ... mostly hand percussion at that stage from music shops and Bali.
TAKING THE PLUNGE
It took me a few months to quit doubting myself (I mean what the hell was I going to do with these bowls?), find the money and decide on which bowls I wanted, but I finally did it. I ordered a set of 7 through a friend of a friend and waited with great anticipation for them to arrive.
Not long after they arrived at my doorstep. Boxes and boxes of bowls! I unpacked them. Had a play. And loved loved loved them! But then had NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH THEM ALL!
I had fallen in love, made the big leap to purchase them, waited for them, played them ... NOW WHAT?
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THESE BOWLS?
I placed some of them on our TV cabinet and a put a few in my bedroom and one in the "healing room". When I went passed them during the day I would sometimes ding and dong them and appreciate their beauty. BUT I did wonder if I had gone just a little bit too far this time with this music/sound therapy passion I had. All that money ... plus they were taking up all that space ... and for what? I wasn't trained in how to play these things. I was definitely not confident enough to start playing them in front of people. And is this what I wanted to do with my music/sound therapy career? Come on! I'm classically trained! Not a bowl playing hippy! So I just dinged and donged them and hoped that I hadn't just wasted my money!
THE BIRTH OF SOUNDBIRTH
Then 3 weeks after her due date my daughter decided it was time to emerge into the world. During a contraction my Mum decided it might be helpful to play one of my white bowls ... and then I finally KNEW (one of the reasons at least) why I bought those bowls! SoundBirth was born ... as well as my baby!
WHAT I HAVE LEARNT
Since that moment I have learnt much much more about the ART and SCIENCE of these bowls. From basic information such as how to play and look after your bowl to the more detailed stuff such as how to play these bowls musically and therapeutically for groups, couples or individuals. I've also learnt how to combine these bowls with other therapeutic sound tools such as gongs, Koshi chimes and flutes. I've learnt about how to choose the different sizes and pitches of bowls. I've learnt how to integrate the use of voice with these bowls in a number of different settings for a number of different purposes. And of course I've learnt about what NOT to do with these bowls.
WHY I DO THIS
Looking back I wished I had known all of this when I had bought (or better still BEFORE I had bought) my set of bowls ... but then if I had I wouldn't have dived into all of this learning so deeply and created a heap of information for others. I love crystal singing bowls ... but I especially love teaching others how they can play and use them in their day to day lives. The last thing I want is for people to invest in a bowl and not know how to play, look after or use one.
So ... if YOU are like me and have also fallen in love with the look or sound of these bowls, I recommend that you learn all about them in one of my online courses or attend one of my workshops so you can feel confident about using it or them straight away!
If you want advice on choosing your bowl/s I offer private sessions to help you choose!
If you already know which pitch/es and size/es you want and ready to jump like I did CLICK HERE!
We attended a SoundBirth session with Nicole and bought a crystal singing bowl when my wife was pregnant with our first child almost 4 years ago. The crystal singing bowl has always resonated with me. When it was my turn to have our second child, I was struggling to get pregnant. I was using the crystal bowl to try and stay calm and relaxed during the IVF process. On the super moon 2016 I went to a women's circle full moon sound session where I met Nicole again. The session was amazing. I had three rounds of IVF and was on my fourth when the session was on. Soon after the sound session I was pregnant!
I always intended on using the crystal singing bowl during labour. Leading into the last few weeks of my pregnancy I read the SoundBirth booklet again. I had played with a few tones while playing the bowl and was looking forward to toning during labour but I wasn't 100% sure what that would look like...I just trusted my instincts would be there on the day.
I didn't use the bowl during early labour which for me was 24 hours ... I used acupressure. My early labour was too intense to sleep through but I tried to rest as best I could. I started using the bowl when my contractions got to about 1 min long and 3 minutes apart. I played with a few different tones and used the word "lam" (for the base chakra) along with the bowl. For the next 6.5 hours I "lam'ed" to every contraction.
We laboured at home with my wife, our 3 year old, a dear friend, 2 amazing midwives and a beautiful photographer. By the end everyone including our 3 year old had played the bowl. It was the most incredible and intense experience I have ever had. Toning with the bowl gave me something to focus on. It broke the labour up into singular contractions. I would tell everyone when the contraction was about to start and someone would play the bowl for me until that contraction ended. My toning was so loud in my head but after I found out that it was controlled and not loud at all.
Yes I did ask my midwife at one point, "how much longer!!!" But never thought, "I can't do this" or "I need drugs" or "take me to the hospital" because the bowl kept me present and grounded. I felt safe and calm during the contractions. I did however at one point turn around to my wife and say I don't remember your labour being so painful! I truly believe without the bowl my labour would have been unbearable. I am generally an over thinker but as I said the bowl and toning gave me a singular present focus. I also love the sound the crystal singing bowl makes.
Thank you Nicole for doing what you do. I can't recommend the crystal singing bowl and SoundBirth enough!
When I first ordered my set of 7 crystal singing bowls I had no idea what I was ordering. I felt SO anxious about spending all that money and really not knowing what I was going to get. Were they good quality? What pitches were they? Would they sound good together? What was I going to do with them all? I just left the decision in the hands of the person selling it to me and let go.
Since then I have learnt SO much about these awesomely resonant bowls that I would like to share with you some questions to ask yourself when choosing your own bowl, bowls or set of bowls! Here they are!
1. Why do you want a bowl/s? Do you want to use it for yourself for healing purposes? Or with the work you are already doing with people? What kind of work is that? Do you want to facilitate your own sound sessions one day?
2. What is your budget? The bowls listed in my store include a carry case, striker, o-ring and shipping to your front door (if in Aust). If you want to save money get a smaller sized bowl and ditch the case for now. I can help you choose the best pitch for you in the smallest size to save you money...but also so the bowl isn't going to shatter! You also get discounts when you buy more than one bowl. The best way is to email me to ask.
3. Do you want to use your voice with your bowl or encourage others to use their voices? For example, if you're a yoga teacher did you know that at the end of a yoga class you could play your bowl and "Ommmm" WITH the bowl so people don't feel so self-conscious about Ommming? Plus it feels SO good?!?
4. Are you pregnant or a birth pro? The perfect pitch for vocalising with during labour. You need the SoundBirth Bowl of course!
5. Do you intend on having a full set one day but can't afford that yet? Start with 3 bowls! Which 3 pitches would you like? Do you want a major (happy) sound or minor (sad/mellow sound). Which 3 sizes would you like to start with?
6. Do you want to create binaural beats? Make lots of "wahwahwahwah" sounds and relax everyone's brains through "entrainment" even faster? You'll need 2 bowls that are slightly off-pitch!
7. Do you need a carry case? You only need one of these if you intend on travelling around with your bowl. You could wrap it in a blanket (how I started out) but it's a bit risky and eventually you'll want to feel confident that your bowl is "safe n sound" in the car and that there is less chance of you dropping it. Bowls on my website include a case. If you don't want one email me and I'll adjust the price. Set of 7 doesn't include cases. Email me if you want them!
8. Which pitch/es do you want? Many companies sell the "Chakra set" but I would rather custom-choose my pitches thank you very much! To me it's more about the harmonies you can create with your bowls. If you're into the chakras well guess what!?! You only need one pitch/one bowl and your intention to send that sound to whichever chakra you choose! You don't need a specific pitch to get one of your chakras spinning! Getting chakras spinning is a lot more complicated than that and is more about the way you think and act every day than a quick fix with a bowl! So instead of focusing on getting the "right" bowl for your "weak" chakra focus on which sound do you resonate with the most!
9. Which size do you want? It took me quite a few years to figure out that you don't need a big bowl (more $$) to get a lower pitch and that you can get most pitches in most sizes. They do this by changing the thickness of the rim of the bowl. Saying that, I don't like ordering bowls that are too low for their size because the rim gets too thin (easier to shatter) ... so it's better to buy that slightly bigger size if you are wanting that lower pitch. Anyway, it can get a bit complicated which is why I offer private sessions and workshops to help people choose their ideal bowl, bowls, set. This is where I also integrate my classical music background! Phew I'm glad that degree came in handy after all!
10. How do you want to use your bowl? I remember receiving my set of 7 bowls and not knowing what the hell I was going to do with them all. I just knew I wanted them ... NOW! Since then I have come up with many ideas and share them in my "Sound Integration Workshops" and online course "Integrate Sound Now". If you come up with a new idea I'd love to know about it!
I hope this will assist you in choosing your ideal bowl for YOU. What I've learnt the most from selling these bowls is that everyone is different! They each have their own ideas of what they like and don't like. They want to use them for all different reasons. They have their own beliefs about them. But they ALL LOVE them!
If you need any help let me know!
With Love and the Highest Quality Sound,
Next workshop: 15th April 2018
Next training for those serious sound people starts: 7th April 2018
I realised the other day why I LOVE playing sound for people!
It presses PAUSE on their minds!
I noticed at Xmas time amongst family (sisters, parents, husband, daughters, grandma, nieces, nephews) for four days how many times we were all triggered by each other's different beliefs and mind-sets and parenting styles and eating habits and value systems. There were no major blow ups or anything ... but you could feel the tension in the air ... I find it SO interesting how much we all differ yet we still expect each other to think the same way as we do! If only we could just be curious and interested in each other's way of thinking instead of trying to change their way of thinking to match our own! Luckily we are family and conscious enough to to not kill each other, be able to notice these triggers and keep loving each other ... especially after we've all had a break!
Anyway, it made me think about why I love facilitating sound sessions for groups and for couples. It presses the PAUSE button on our overactive mind! When surrounded by sounds from bowls and gongs etc most of our attention goes to the sound. There isn't much space left for thinking and judging. Plus of course everyone is lying down with their eyes close and not talking ... which helps too of course!
When there is no mind thinking and judging and wishing and hoping and dreading and fearing then what is left?
Being with each other as a group or couple of human BEINGS. Not human doings or judgings!
I can imagine that if everyone in the room started talking about food or parenting or politics or recycling or birthing ... even if it was a "spiritual/conscious" type of group ... the thinking and judging would arise pretty quick! And that beautiful human connection that was tangible in the room during the sound session would disappear in a puff of thought! Which is why I am SO grateful that I mostly work with people when they are lying down quietly with their eyes closed just BEING. It's a rare and beautiful thing!
When people get a taste of how it feels to be in the presence of others without thought it becomes easier to BE with others when you're not in a sound session! You get a taste, you feel good, you connect with others more easily, you decide to continue to "practice" BEING in this state in your day to day life with others.
Sound sessions therefore lead to a more PEACEFUL world!!
From War to Peace in 5 Simple Steps!
Judging (thinking that someone else's thinking is "wrong") of course creates disconnection between lovers, family members and friends. It is very painful and just shows how our beliefs and expectations of others can create tension, arguments, divorce and WAR!
Here is one way you can use the POWER OF SOUND if you are feeling disconnected from your partner or would like to create connection within a group of people ...
1. Consciously make the choice to press PAUSE and just BE for a few minutes for the purpose of re-connecting again.
2. Breathe deeply 3 times together
3. If you have a crystal singing bowl tap it gently 3 times then play it.
4. Breathe in deeply and then on your exhalation make the "Ahhhhhh" sound together. You could make this sound 3 times or do this for a set period of time. The longer you do this the deeper into presence and being you will go ...
5. When you feel "complete" sit in silence for a few minutes and enjoy the space, peace and connection you have created between each other.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could do this when we felt tension rising in our relationships ... or at work meetings to re-connect the team ... or in classrooms when the kids were starting to go crazy ... or in the family when there is a dis-connect ... or at Xmas time with our families!
When our desire for peace becomes stronger than our desire to be "right" then more and more people will find ways such as this to choose peace ... I'm sure of it!
I know of other ways to create a sense of connection with people using percussion instruments and recorded music at schools, with your team at work, your family and partner. So, stay tuned for more blogs on this topic!
For now though grab a partner and start "Ahhhhhh" ing and let me know how you go!
PS. The crystal singing bowl I recommend for "Ahhhh"ing (toning) with in this way is the The SoundBirth Bowl!
If you would like to book a couples re-connecting session with me in Bedfordale just email: email@example.com
Recently someone called me to ask specifically how to PLAY a Koshi chime or two for a group of people ... so here is what I said!
Play Close to Their Ears!
Play them close to people's ears so they can hear the the notes, harmonies, overtones and resonance clearly. You can play the chimes further away from people of course, but the sound won't be as beautiful for them. I usually play the chimes at the end of my sound sessions holding one chime in each hand and spend about 15 seconds tinkling the chimes near each person's ears giving them all a taste of their beautiful sound. This usually puts a smile on their face ... then I move on to the next person. If you have a large group you might not have much time to indulge each person ... If a small group or individual INDULGE them!
Experiment with the Musical Elements!
I have a Classical music background so I can't help but use what I learnt about musical composition and the elements of music. So here is what I consciously do throughout my entire sound session actually! I make sure I play slow and fast, loud and soft, I repeat pitches and rhythms, I have busy sections followed by silence, I have harmonious sections and dissonance sections, I have harsh sounds followed by soothing sounds ... Contrast and Balance is the key!
So when it comes to playing the Koshi chimes you can create busy/loud sections by playing them fast ... I do this by swirling them around in circles. And to contrast this you can stop for a bit to appreciate silence and then start again by playing from side to side which is slower than swirling them and isn't so busy. When you go from side to side you can also hear the different pitches and how they harmonise with each other.
You can explore harmony by combining the different elements by playing two chimes at a time. I personally like the Air and Fire chimes together. But you could combine any of the elements and see what you think!
Avoid Koshi Noise!
Just a little note ... if facilitating a sound session be aware of the noises you can make when picking up the chimes and putting them back down. Gently gently gently put them down so that the string/ring you were holding doesn't knock on the side of the chime and so the chime doesn't fall over on it's side and wake everyone up suddenly! Also before you even start your session ensure that your chimes are untangled and ringing beautifully. You don't want to start the chime section of the session and find that they aren't ringing properly!
That's all for now! If you have any other ideas or questions please let me know!
Enjoy those beautiful chimes!
Click HERE to purchase your Koshi's!
So you have just received your beautiful Koshi Chimes and now you are wondering where to hang them and what you can do with them! Here are some of the ways I have used my chimes and ways I have heard other people using theirs over the years...
People often ask where to hang their chimes. So far I have hung mine in some of the doorways in my house using one of those hooks that have a sticker on the back (you can buy from supermarket). Whenever I go through the doorway I dingle the chimes sprinkling myself with their magic. My last baby used to LOVE this of course ... every time we went under the doorway she looked up and pointed and insisted I play them! She always smiled and wanted to play them herself. I let her touch them gently but was careful she didn't grab them and pull them down!
If you do have a baby hanging a chime above her in the car works really well to help soothe them, distract them and to give them something beautiful to listen to while you are driving. I know that my babies never liked the car very much and these chimes worked a treat for my last baby! (Make sure the chimes are tied securely so that they won't fall on the baby!!!). Another place to hang them if you have a baby is on their pram! It could become "the
familiar sound" that triggers sleep time which you can then use as a tool when they need
a nap or YOU need them to nap!
Most people hang them inside next to a window where a breeze gently blows through. Someone told me that this helps them to fall asleep at night if they've hung theirs in their bedroom. And others have felt "blessed" by an angel every time it tinkles in their kitchen or living area. Anywhere undercover outside is perfect too ... on a verandah, patio area. If you can hear them tinkling and they're not getting wet it is a perfect place for them. If you do want to hang them outside in the weather make sure you varnish them to protect the wood from rotting away.
REMEMBER that these chimes are not "normal" chimes... They are more like musical instruments! So hanging them is great ... but PLAYING them with intention is the main reason why they were created. Here are some ways you can play them for others and for yourself!
If you have young children a lovely ritual to do with them before going to sleep at
night time is ask them "What are you grateful for today?". Or, "What was the best part of
your day?". Or, "What would you like to do in your life one day?". Then they say what
they loved or share one of their dreams and you play the koshi chimes around their little
bodies. My kids think the chimes sound like fairies making their wishes come true or just
listening to what they had to say. This ritual really is a very nurturing way to end the
day ... and you will find that your children will ask you to do this every night because kids
KNOW what is good for them!!
If you give massages or facilitate relaxation or meditation sessions, a beautiful way to end
the session is by playing these chimes close to people's ears. Once again ... the sound is
nurturing and relaxing and seems to be the perfect way to end any "session". You could
also invite your client/s to think about what they want to bring into their lives at the
moment while you play the chimes. Sound amplifies your thoughts so thinking about
what you WANT is important when listening to quality sounds such as these
chimes ... they are powerful manifesting tools!
If you are a midwife or doula supporting a woman during labour you could see if she
enjoys hearing the chimes in between contractions ... during the quiet, relaxing time. You could also introduce them when you visit the new Mum and her baby during post-natal visits to help her to relax and bond with her baby.
My 3 year old fractured her leg recently so I soothed her every night with the chimes.
She asks for them every night now and says she LOVES them and even gives them a
cuddle! So if you know someone in pain (physical or emotional) then you can gift them with the soothing sound of a Koshi chime!
There you go! Some quick and simple ways to use your chimes! I hope this helps in
some way. Please share with me where you have chosen to hang your chimes and how
you have used them in your life!
If you want to have a listen to the 4 elements Aria (Air), Terra (Earth), Ignis (Fire) and Aqua (water) CLICK HERE!
Have YOU ever thought of yourself as "musical"? Or are you one of those many people who tell themselves and others that you are definitely NOT musical! Or that you don't have a musical bone in your body. Or that you can't sing. Or that if you did sing everyone would run a thousand miles away!
Well, I'm here to tell you that whether you believe it or not, YOU ARE MUSICAL! That you were BORN musical when you released sound from your mouth after your birth into the world. That every time you talk (highly complex rhythms) to your friend while your feet naturally steps out a steady beat, you are a master musician! That when you listen to and appreciate the sounds of nature or a piece of music you are responding to music. And how many times has your body naturally moved to the music in the room?
You ARE musical. You don't have to be a rock star. You don't have to be able to play the violin. You don't have to be a master at vocal toning. You don't even have to be able to sing "in tune"! To me you are "musical" every time you give yourself PERMISSION to PLAY with the sounds you can make with your voice and with anything that can make a sound around you. It is when you choose to BRING SOUND TO LIFE! And yes this is a CHOICE and I feel that my work with SoundBirth is all about giving you all PERMISSION to do this!
Over the years of working with sound and people I have seen the most confident person all of a sudden become completely vulnerable when invited to play an instrument or use their voice. It's as if all of those shaming "I'm not good enough" thoughts and feelings arise as soon as we are about to "expose" our musical abilities or supposedly "lack of" them. We are afraid of being judged by ourselves and others. We don't want to make a "mistake" or be "too loud". I think because we are human and have been making sounds through talking and singing and babbling and screaming and crying and yawning and banging things and playing with things EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES there have probably been at least a handful of times each day when we have been judged or shamed by others. That adds up to MANY moments of shame while expressing ourselves using SOUND. No wonder most of us want would rather die than do public speaking or sing in front of people. No wonder we feel feel like burying ourselves if we sing or play an instrument too loud. No wonder we avoid speaking up or singing or playing instruments at all costs! And no wonder we are triggered when our kids are making too much noise! And the cycle continues!
During all of my workshops and private sessions my aim is to create a safe enough environment for people to create sounds with their voice and any instruments I bring along. How do I create a safe space? Through PLAY of course! We play with instruments and our voice just as we did when we were toddlers ... the difference is that no one is going to judge or yell at you or make you stop! You are ENCOURAGED to make sounds ... sometimes for the first time in your life! Permission to do this in a workshop/session then ripples out into participants' lives as they give themselves permission to let go and play more with their voice ... especially after learning about all the benefits if using ones voice!
So please don't allow that thought "I'm not musical" to prevent you from using the power of sound as a tool in your life! It's just NOT true ... and could be the one BLOCK that prevents you from experiencing the freedom and relaxation and joy that many people are now re-gaining from using their voice and other instruments in their day to day lives.
I hope to see you at a workshop or private session soon!
Contact Me to find out more!
There are a few ways to choose your Koshi Chime! You can choose by ELEMENT (Aria - Air, Terra - Earth, Ignis - Fire or Aqua - Water) or by SOUND.
Choosing according to which SOUND you like!
Because I'm a "sound person" I tend to encourage people to choose according which SOUND they like the most. How to do this? Here are the steps I recommend!
1. Find a quiet place to listen either ONLINE or in person if you have the set of chimes with you.
2. Ask someone to play each chime (either online or in person) in random order calling out "1, 2, 3 and 4" before playing. Make sure you close your eyes so you can listen even more deeply. This is the ideal way to choose your chime because you are not influenced by the name of the chime and can feel which sound resonates with you the most. You don't want to be THINKING when choosing ... you want your body and intuition to choose for you ...
3. Once you have listened a few times you will most likely KNOW which chime is for you!
Choosing according to which ELEMENT you like!
If you want to choose according to the element here is some info for you!
Choosing according to your star sign:
Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
I'm not an expert in this area so have a read of this article to find out more about each element!
After finding out which element is yours according to your star sign you could then decide if you want that corresponding Koshi Chime OR an element that helps to bring in some of those "Strengths" listed in the above article. For example I am a Libran so therefore an "Air" sign. Some of the "weaknesses" of an Air sign are:
"I Still Can't Decide!!"
Remember that in the end it doesn't matter which chime you choose because:
1. They ALL sound amazing ... and the point is that the sound helps you and those around you to relax and return to the present moment and remind you of the magic of life!
2. It's ALL about intention!
"Frequency/Vocalisation + Intention/Visualisation = Healing/Manifestation"
So, if you believe that your "Air" chime will make you more
3. If you seriously can't decide then you may need to buy all of them! Or at least 2 ... one for each ear!
I hope this article will help you to make a decision!
To order your Koshi Chime/s CLICK HERE!
I have facilitated a number of free information sessions lately for those interested in learning more about SoundBirth. What I have noticed is that almost EVERY time there is at least one person who asks about what the obstetricians think about bringing a bowl into the hospital room. Or about what the midwives say. Or about how the woman next door responds to the sound of the bowl.
This is what I have to say about these common concerns.
1. This is YOUR birth (well...your baby's actually). NOT your obstetricians. Or your midwife's. And has nothing to do with the woman next door to you ... So do what you want!
2. Legally you can bring anything you like into your birth space. So even if your obstetrician scrunches up his nose or rolls his eyes or shares maybe a not-so-positive opinion with you about bringing a crystal singing bowl into your birth space, then you still can! (as far as I know...)
3. Now is not the best time to be all people pleasy, co-deppy! Quit worrying about what others think and do what you KNOW in your heart is the best thing for you, your partner and your baby! Everyone else will need to deal with their own issues around what you are doing. So, if your obstetrician rolls his eyes when he sees and hears the bowl that may be because SoundBirth was left out of his training and he doesn't understand it ... yet. Or maybe he just had something stuck in his eye and actually loves the idea! Maybe your midwife thinks you're making too much noise ... or maybe she feels uncomfortable in the presence of a powerful woman or maybe she can really see how the bowl is really helping you to relax. Either way it's just her experience and opinion and has nothing to do with you. And when it comes to the woman birthing next door to you, you have NO idea what she is thinking about or experiencing! She may be enjoying the bowl sound and the sounds you are making with it. Maybe it is giving her permission to also use her voice!?! And you're giving her a FREE SoundBirth!! Cool!
4. Compare the beautiful resonant pure sound of the bowl to the random noises that occur in a hospital room ... the doors opening and closing, the chit chat from staff, the beeping of instruments ... the screaming from the woman next door (because she hasn't learnt how to use her voice in a conscious way) ... and the baby crying from the other birthing suite! All of these sounds aren't banned from the hospital! And they are the sounds that kick in the adrenaline, kick out the oxytocin and bring women out of their beautiful calm "birthing zone"! Not keep them in it like the bowl does!
5. So far, most of the feed back from birth pros have been very positive! Midwives noticing that a woman's blood pressure decreases when toning with the bowl. They also feel more energised during and after their shift. They tip toe around as the bowl creates sacred space in any room. They are super curious and want to show all of their co-workers. They can see that it encourages the women to make more low, long mooing sounds rather than those high-pitched screaming sounds. So it is unlikely that you'll have a negative response anyway.
So, MY opinion is that if you are choosing to birth in a hospital setting (most SoundBirth's HAVE been in a hospital setting by the way...) or if you are transferred from a home birth to hospital be aware that bringing a bowl is a relatively new idea and that you may get some stares and questions ... BUT remember that this is YOUR birth, YOUR baby and you are co-creating an experience that you will never forget! So, make your SOUND environment important enough to not let other people's opinions concern you on your special day. You have every right to bring a bowl to your birth. Just remember that you are a SoundBirth pioneer and that one day bowls at birth will be as normal as the use of showers and birth pools and essential oils and placenta encapsulation and background birth music now are!
I will NEVER ever claim that the SoundBirth tools (toning and crystal singing bowls) will completely take pain away from you. Pain free births? No way! Powerful? YES!
Sorry! As I have already said, pain is part of giving birth. “It’s GOOD pain” as my Mother informed me before I watched her give birth to my youngest sister when I was 10 years old.
But I will say that if you use these tools as a way to give you some relief, focus and strength you won’t be disappointed!
Try this experiment out for yourself! And get your partner doing this with you!
The Ice Experiment: From “Birthing from Within” by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
(Warning: Don’t do this experiment if you have arthritis in your hands.)
What you will need:
• 1 or 2 blocks of ice per person
• 1 timer or clock
• Hand towel or face cloth
• Piece of paper and pen if you are writing
• Optional: A crystal singing bowl
Each time you do each step write down or share with someone how you felt, what you were thinking about, what you felt like doing, how you basically coped with the pain
1. No tools at all: Hold a piece of ice in one hand for one minute (about the length of a contraction) without doing anything in particular. Put the block of ice in a towel while you have a short break.
2. Affirmation: This time choose a birthing affirmation and focus on it…such as “I am open and relaxed”
3. Body awareness: This time bring your awareness to the area of your body where the pain is. Go right into it.
4. Breathing: Do this again but this time just be aware of your breathing…take full deep breaths.
5. Toning: Do this again and this time make the "Ahhh" sound on your exhalation.
6. Toning with a crystal singing bowl: And finally (if your hand hasn’t frozen off yet…) and if you have a crystal singing bowl handy, tone with the bowl!
Which technique was the most effective for relieving the pain?
Every time I do this exercise with a group the answer is always toning with a crystal singing bowl. Toning was the next best. The feedback is that they could FEEL the vibration in their body and HEAR the sounds all around them so the pain just disappeared … it wasn’t the focus anymore!
Anyway … I’ll leave it for you to experiment with and see for yourself!
Nicole Lloyd B(Mus) is a mother of four girls and creator of SoundBirth. Here she shares her experiences using sound before, during and after the birth and anything else about sound or birth that she feels like writing about!