This past Thursday, Kenyon hosted a Himalayan Bowls workshop with Dr. Allan Bazzoli at the Brown Family Environment Center. Bazzoli is a practitioner of both Western and Chinese medicine in Mount Vernon, and he hosts such events frequently in the community, regularly drawing a large turnout. Post-baccalaureate fellow Emma Renee Coffman ’22, the coordinator of the event, said that Bazzoli first encountered Himalayan Bowls and eastern medicine in college and has incorporated them into his life and work as a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist ever since.
According to Coffman, “Al was very excited to offer this program for students as it is first and foremost, in his words, ‘self-care’ — something he thinks college students especially need to make space for,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian.
A Himalayan singing bowl is a metallic bell that produces a rich, deep tone. During his events, Bazzoli plays 18 bowls of various sizes with a soft mallet, providing a vibraphone-esque timbre that evokes peacefulness and serenity. The bowls ring in a major pentatonic scale, and the overtones harmonize to create an ambient drone. The bowls are somatic as well as aural; feeling the vibrations of the bowls is just as important as hearing their pitches. As he plays the bowls, Bazzoli sings chants from a large repertoire ranging in origin from Chinese to Native American. During the workshop, the participants are arranged on yoga mats in a fan shape surrounding Bazzoli so that they can lie on the floor while they listen. They are encouraged to meditate and relax for the duration of the event. The sounds and vibrations of the bowls and chants are supposed to enhance the ability of the mind and body to release stress and anxiety.