A very simple and elegant tool for meditation and creating space for yoga and awareness is the singing bowl. Children are naturally are drawn to instruments and can be guided into focused attention when sounding them provided that they are shown how to hold the bowls with reverence and care.
You can get a singing bowl at any Tibetan store or online for a wide range of prices. My one student acquired hers at a yard sale for 50 cents! It’s a good idea to try a number of different bowls to get a feeling for the sound you like the best.
Begin by sitting up tall in cross-legged seat with your singing bowl resting in the open palm of one hand and your mallet held relaxed in the other hand. Invite the sound of the bowl by circling the mallet around the outside the bowl until the sound has grown as loud as you enjoy. As soon as the bowl is sounding on its own without the mallet, begin counting your breaths.
One breath is comprised of one inhale plus the exhale. Count how many times you can do a complete breath cycle before you can no longer hear the bowl. You might notice you get distracted. Just notice and see how many breaths you can count before you lose track. Notice if you find yourself amused, annoyed, distracted, or soothed. Notice and let it go.
An even simpler meditation that I like to do at the beginning of class is to direct the children to sit up tall with the backs of their hands resting on their knees. When they are focused on me with still bodies and quiet mouths, I tell them to rest their eyes so that their ears can listen for the sound of the singing bowl growing, then fading. “See if you can catch the moment when the sound disappears.” This simple technique can be used with even toddlers, as there is something very compelling about the bowl sounding.
There are countless ways the singing bowl can be used to create a meditative space with your children. One of my favorite is to use it as a tool to bring the family to a moment of shared silence when voices begin to rise in conflict. Do you use the singing bowl in your home?