How to Play a Bowl at Birth

man playing bowl

It is important for both the partner and any other support person to know how to play a crystal singing bowl so that there can always be someone there playing the bowl for you (the birthing woman) during each contraction.  After all, if the sound of the bowl does indeed become the woman's favourite birthing ritual someone will NEED to be playing that bowl ... believe me!

Make sure your partner practices playing the bowl whenever he / she has a chance BEFORE the birth. It’s NOT a difficult instrument to play but it is important to feel comfortable playing it and for them to get your feedback on how loud or soft you like it.
Here are some guidelines:

  • Be present. - be aware of the present moment. Move out of your mind thinking about the past or the future.  Be here now with whatever is going on. You holding the striker and playing the bowl.
  • Relax - take a few deep breaths before playing the bowl.  Consciously choose to relax.  Remember that through "entrainment" others can pick up on your energy ... so let them pick up on you experiencing slow, relaxed brain waves!. It's OK ... the sound of the bowl will soon relax your brain anyway!
  • Feel grateful. - think of something you feel grateful for.  This just gets you into a "higher vibrational state" which is always nice to have around you when giving birth! Plus sound amplifies thoughts and feelings.  So think and feel good about something!! 

                         "Intention + Frequency = Manifestation" Jonathon Goldman

  • Connect with the bowl you are about to play. Look at it.  Touch it. Feel how it is an extension of you.
  • Rub the outside of the bowl using the rubber end of the stick (the striker or wand) slowly encircling the circumference, until the bowl sings at the level of intensity you desire.
  • Experiment with loud and soft. The faster you move the striker, the louder the sound. 
  • Stop dragging the striker when the sound is resonating at the volume the pregnant / birthing woman likes and enjoy the vibrations…as the sound fades away drag the striker around to once again give you the volume you require.
  • When the contraction fades away take the striker off the bowl and allow the sound to also fade away.  This is the best part about experiencing a SoundBirth ... the sound accompanies the birthing woman's rhythm.  This allows them to feel held and supported and not alone. It's a beautiful thing.
  • Play “windscreen wipers” style if you want to! Instead of going around and around and around your bowl you can just move the striker from left the right on one side of the bowl. This is particularly relevant if using a 16 inch or larger bowl. This will prevent your arm from getting tired!
  • I recommend you pour water into the bowl during the birth. If you fill it up half way (don’t go any further than half way) the tone will go down one and a half tones (lower in pitch) but the sound won’t be as intense (which sometimes is a good thing!). If you don’t want to change the tone/pitch, add a jug full of water just because water is a beautiful element to include during labour. Recently a doula who had water in the bowl during the birth told me that when the baby had its first bath the couple poured the special, blessed, energised water into the bath tub. Beautiful. Another idea is to keep some of the water in a little bottle to keep as a special memory or naming ceremony or other ritual.

That's all for now!

Share this with your birth support team and give them a go at playing the bowl so they know they can make it resonate and can control the volume.  

If you would like to have a SoundBirth I'd be happy to teach you and your birth team everything I know in a  "Sing Your Baby to You" private session whenever you are ready!

Enjoy playing!



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