Notes and Chakras? Spiritual fraud with the best intentions 2023
Sound healing for chakras
There are many "authorities" in sound healing community and some of them are misleading the subject by spreading unreliable teachings about the relationship between notes and chakras. I know that some of these teachers were misled themselves and they strongly believe that there is nothing wrong with the knowledge they teach. They have the best intentions, projecting so much love and care, but yet, if you choose to blindly follow the path they offer, will you discover the truth?
Unfortunately, there are also fake gurus and I will allow myself to say BE AWARE OF THE SPIRITUAL FRAUD!
*The key is, no matter what story you tell, make the buyer the hero.
When I started my research on Himalayan singing bowls, a major part of the information I was absorbing seemed to be nonsense. One of my big doubts was related to the resonance of chakras to the notes of the modern Western musical scale.
Which singing bowl goes with which chakra?
Many websites or physical stores that offer singing bowls for sale, will tell you what chakra a particular singing bowl is good to work with. Even when you go to India, Nepal or Tibet you will be offered to purchase the "chakra attuned healing singing bowls". Wanna know the real story on the chakras?
When I interviewed elder healers in Nepal and spoke to a shaman of a Bon Po tradition they weren't familiar with the concept of western musical scale or relating certain notes to chakras. Yet, if you are looking for a singing bowl someone may just say to you: - Yes sir or madam, you tell me you are having difficulties with self-expression- here is a throat chakra singing bowl! Do you have a broken heart? - I have just the thing for you! The note "F" will work with your heart chakra!
The “authentic” Tibetan sound healing teachers will share with you the technique which is based on the Western musical scale system (frequencies of modern scale). More than that, the placement of the bowls around the participant's body by this "authentic" technique is nothing, but a combination of consonant sequence - Perfect Fifths! Example of singing bowls placement: F, C, G, D, A, E, B (when F2 bowl is being placed by the feet or first chakra, note C3 next to the second chakra, G3 solar plexus, D4 heart, A4 throat, E5 third eye, and B5 crown chakra).
As you can see, the Perfect Fifths circle starts with the note F2 (in my experience, the most commonly found big antique Jambati bowls are F2 and G2) and goes all the way to the note B5.
How do you use singing bowls for chakras?
Why does this system suggest starting with the note F2? There is no evidence of that in any ancient texts! The notes of the Western modern scale cannot be mentioned in ancient teachings, that would be absolutely absurd! Note F2 has a precise frequency which is in the case of A4=440Hz equal to 87.31Hz. For those who prefer the tuning of A4=432Hz, F2 has a value of 85.72Hz. If you apply Just Intonation tuning, first you have to define what note and what frequency you are taking as a reference to calculate the ratio of the following notes.
No matter how you look at this having just a little doubt and common sense, it becomes clear that ancient Tibetan tradition COULD NOT be so specific about what frequency is assigned to note “F” and therefore there must be another explanation to the system described above.
Here is my insight on this issue: It is pretty rare to find an antique bowl with a lower note than F2, for example - E2 or lower. Also, if the count would start with the higher note - G2 for example, following the next six bowls with the interval of Perfect fifth would end up being too high - D6.
Conclusion: From the practical perspective, choosing the F2 bowl at the bottom of the scale is just more accessible and requires less effort to put together.
With all that being said, the teachers of “authentic” Tibetan sound healing in most cases will offer you quite a different set. This set may include contemporary bowls with the following notes: F2, C3, G2, D2, A2, E2 or E3 and B2. As you can see, these notes are not forming a circle of Perfect Fifths. Yes, the names and the string of notes is the same, but there is one nuance - the octaves are different!
As a person who educates and deal with the sales of singing bowls here is what I have to say: singing bowls playing these notes are big and heavy, therefore are pricey and worth to sell. This is not all… If you are educated enough and adequately doubtful, you may check the frequency of each singing bowl and see how far are the frequencies from being the exact note!
Yes, it may do the job, but please do not get caught with any unreliable system!
What if all my chakras are blocked?
Maybe you are starting to feel that I am skeptical about the authenticity of some offered methodologies and even being negative. Please keep your trust in humanity anyways even after reviewing the second and most common method of working with chakras.
This “authentic” method offers placement of bowls in ascending correspondence to chakras C, D, E, F, G, A, B. Guess what, the octaves are not specified!
When I first read about this system, I wondered how it was even possible that the note "C" of the second octave and the same note, but three-four octaves higher, yet would activate the root chakra? I am still wondering why people believe it! Everything you've read about the previous method is still relevant in this case as well.
Can you use one singing bowl for all chakras?
The coloration of the sound, meaning its character, the intensity, the direction and the intention behind it, not the pitch only, will invoke a certain mental, emotional and physical reaction!
It is much more complex than just working with the musical notes to heal the aspects and areas related to the chakras, please understand this! Do not be blindfolded by the salesman teachers!
In the article “The pulse of a singing bowl”, you will learn that each sound partial of the singing bowl has more than one frequency! No one talks about it but that's how you hear the bowl emitting beats. These beats are the result of interference between two slightly different frequencies in each partial (fundamental tone and each overtone). Even if one of these frequencies is hitting the exact numerical value of a particular note's frequency, the other is slightly higher or lower. You never get a pitch of the exact note! Also, quite often the overtones of singing bowls are dominating in intensity over the fundamental tone. In this case, if you get a bowl with the fundamental note "C" and first overtone "G" which is playing louder than the fundamental, what chakra will you treat?
Chakra and Musical Note Correspondence (conclusion)
In conclusion, while there may be some similarities between the chakra system and the modern Western musical scale, it is not appropriate to refer to the chakras as the notes of the musical scale. The two systems have different origins, purposes, dimensions, and effects, and belong to different domains and contexts.
Different origins: The chakra system comes from Indian spiritual traditions, while the modern Western musical scale is a product of Western music theory.
Different purposes: The chakra system aims to understand the subtle energy centers in the body, while the modern Western musical scale is used to organize sound in a pleasing and harmonious way.
Different narratives of energy: The chakras are associated with prana, manas, buddhi and ahamkara (vital energy, energy of the mind, the energy of the intellect and the energy of the ego), while the modern Western musical scale is based on a fixed system of mechanical vibrations manifested as sound frequencies.
Different modes: The chakras are associated with different modes of consciousness, while the modern Western musical scale is associated with different musical modes.
Different systems: The chakra system is a complex system of energy centers, while the modern Western musical scale is a relatively simple system of notes.
Different interpretations: The chakra system has different interpretations in different spiritual traditions, while the modern Western musical scale is standardized.
Different levels of abstraction: The chakra system deals with abstract concepts such as energy and consciousness, while the modern Western musical scale deals with concrete sounds and musical structures.
More information and comprehensive tutorials about this topic are offered in my online courses "Singing Bowls Art Lab", "Singing Bowls For Beginners", and "Sound Healing Teacher Training".
I read so much about 432Hz (or 440Hz) when researching which bowl (s) to purchase. The one ended up with can’t even reach 300Hz, let alone 432. I have no clue about what that might mean for my healing, but it’s become pretty confusing. I don’t have the time or desire to work with a “professional sound healer,” but trying to figure out which bowl or method works on my own is frustrating and discouraging.
Thank you for this article.
I have been saying this for years!
If I’m wanting to work with the 7 chakras, what bowls (frequencies/notes) would I need? Currently working with the third eye and was about to purchase a palm sized indigo colored third eye singing bowl. Then I found this article and am concerned. Thank you!!!
— Ashley Anderson
Hello and thank you for this article.
So are you saying that the solar plexus chakra bowl I have is not proper? And the third eye one I have in my online cart is also not proper? Is it all just a marketing ploy? I sincerely hope for your reply.
Thank you so much.
— Ashley Anderson
Hello. This was so interesting to read. I am a sound practitioner in Toronto, just finished my trauma certificate at Laurier and have been approaching my work from a nervous system regulation angle. I see it as a co- regulation session where I serve through the bowls to either up or down regulate to achieve greater embodiment and presence. So I’m curious to hear you talk about chakras, as they are not part of my language…. Just interesting 😊
Very excellent commentary about the beautiful art and craft of sound healing and acoustic physiology. My own sense, and from personal experience, is that sound “healing” comes from creating an internally coherent energy and resonance field that helps anyone or anything become more relaxed, integrated and in tune with themselves, no matter what musical scale is used.
— John Kline
Thank you! :)
Thank you for your question. I don’t mind using frequencies that are lower or higher than the standard number of cycles per second prescribed to the specific note within the specs of a specific system (concert pitch). From my perspective and experience, all frequencies and music intervals matter. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to follow the far-fetched methods of using exact notes or frequencies to achieve better results with sound healing. Just follow the principals of music theory, physics of sound, psychoacoustics, physiology, psychology, and ethics.
Hoping, my reply is helpful.
— Guy Yair Beider
Thank you for your interesting article. I am hearing that a lot of the crystal bowls (“out there”) are not actually tuned to the purity of the notes claimed. I purchased crystal bowls that indicate each of them are slightly flat from the notes I wanted. That would be a flatted C, F, and B. Have you heard anything about the effects (ill or otherwise) on the body if one is using flatted tones of crystal bowls during meditations. Typically, the crystal bowl has been instrumental for shifting me into a good meditation space.
Thank you so much for this article!
I’ve only just begun my shopping for tuned instruments for chakra balancing. Since I’m a yoga nerd AND a musician, seems like a great fit for me and my curiosities.
Problem is, within minutes of browsing I was as perplexed as you are regarding the notes and the circle of fifths with respect to the chakras/frequencies.
I will still be buying a set at some point, but not without some more digging into this very subject. My internet wanderings lead me to your piece and I’m glad to be reading it.
Thanks again for your detailed assessment!
Firstly, I would love to thank you for choosing the path of service.
I am very grateful for the insight you are sharing with such integrity and must say, that sound practitioners with accredited certificates are finally starting to express concerns about the “traditional” chakra-note approach. We are not alone in it :).
I’d love to continue this conversation and therefore, will send you a personal email. Meanwhile, here is my offering to answer your question… Please follow the link below.
— Guy Yair Beider
Thank you for this great article.
It strike me the most the following statement:
“It is much more complex than just working with the musical notes to heal the aspects and areas related to the chakras, please understand this! Do not be blindfolded by the salesman teachers!”
And I thank you for sharing your knowledge and information. I am a sound healing practitioner and I have struggled with the rather simplistic approach of sound frequencies in the human being. I am yet myself learning and understanding more about the mystery of sound. I have been researching into courses on counselling that could support my current work with sound, as the understanding of healing is so vast and expansive, that sometimes I feel to lack tools to work with my clients. They want to learn and grow but only with the techniques I have learned I feel left short in practical tools that can be active and realistic and the person can work with, because it is not also about coming to be healed and then being fine.
It is a whole active engagement required in their life’s. This is where I feel counselling comes hand in hand.
With all this I am wondering if you have come across any person that dives and study deeper into a wholistic and real/practical approach to sound healing.
Thank you for your time.