Humming Bee Breathing

Bhramari word comes from Bhramara which means Humming Bee. Bhrama means bee.

In this pranayama, you'll make a humming sound with your vocal cords which resemble Bhramara, mmmmm........

This sounds also resemble the mmmmmm sound in Omkar chanting.

Essentially, if you keep your hand on top of your head while creating this sound, mmmmmmmmm.... you can feel a lot of vibrations in your head.





Naturally, the effect of this pranayama is very powerful and positive. The nervous system is often found to be relaxed in this pranayama so this pranayama is very good to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, fear, or any kind of negative expression such as anger. Only five to 10 minutes of this pranayama can calm the mind down very quickly. Other than that, this sound helps to concentrate the mind faster. Often this pranayama is recommended as preparation for meditation. Regular practice of Bhramari can lead to Nada Meditation achievement (Nada Meditation is called the connection between humans and supreme power because when the body is tranquil, you can listen to the sound which has no breaking points or which is the same in frequency always, known as the sacred sound of the universe "OM"). You can easily achieve concentration on this subtle sound of Nada Meditation mentioned in the Hatha Yoga tradition.


When performing Bhramari Pranayama, there's a tendency to extend the sound when you're running short of breath. So please avoid that.


Step-by-step

  1. Sit in any comfortable, cross-legged meditation posture with the spine upright, arms and shoulders relaxed.

  2. Relax your arms, rest your hands on your laps.

  3. Fix your mental focus on the third eye (Ajna Chakra), the spot between the eyebrows.

  4. Take a deep inhalation.

  5. While exhaling, make a soft, humming sound. Try to keep the breathing deep and gentle to maximize the duration of exhalation without straining the breathing in any way.

  6. Repeat the cycle of inhalation followed by the humming exhalation for 10 rounds. You can gradually increase the duration of this Pranayama up to five or 10 minutes.

  7. At the end of the routine, you may continue with your silent meditation, and observe the vibration within you.

There's a tendency to create a sound that is not your natural pitch.

for example, for some people, their natural pitch may be very low, or slightly higher, especially for women.

whatever is your natural pitch, please stick with that.


Another variation you can do for your introversion is that you can use

Shanmukhi mudra.



Shanmukhi Mudra for Bhramari pranayam
Shanmukhi Mudra


The word ‘shanmukhi’ (शन्मुखी) is composed of two Sanskrit words – ‘shat’ (six) and ‘mukhi’ (mouths or gates). So the full name means the ‘six-gated mudra’. The six gates refer to the two eyes, two ears, the nose, and the mouth. The purpose of the Shanmukhi Mudra is to symbolically shut the mind from the five senses so the mind can maintain an inward focus in the state of pratyahara (sense withdrawal) and get ready for meditation.

To shut the senses, the thumbs are used to plug the ears, the index fingers are placed on the eyelids, the middle fingers on the two nostrils, the ring fingers above the upper lip, and the little fingers under the lower lip. There is no effort to press tightly against these organs but light pressure is applied with the thumbs and fingers.


Step-by-step

  1. Sit in any comfortable, cross-legged meditation posture with the spine upright, arms and shoulders relaxed.

  2. Apply the Shanmukhi Mudra as explained above. Apply light pressure with the thumbs and the fingers against the various sense organs.

  3. Fix your mental focus on the third eye (Ajna Chakra), the spot between the eyebrows.

  4. Take a deep inhalation

  5. While exhaling, make a soft, humming sound. Try to keep the breathing deep and gentle to maximize the duration of exhalation without straining the breathing in any way.

  6. Repeat the cycle of inhalation followed by the humming exhalation ten rounds.

  7. At the end of the routine, you may continue with your silent meditation.

Benefits

  • Bhramari causes the whole brain to vibrate. The vibration of the cerebral cortex sends impulses to the hypothalamus which has the capacity to control the pituitary gland- the master of all glands. The hypothalamus also sends impulses to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This helps tune the whole neuro-endocrinal system to function in a harmonious and synchronized way.

  • It calms the nervous system, balances hormones, and brings in a mental state of calm and peace which is helpful in meditation.

  • It helps in conditions of mental tension, high blood pressure, anxiety, and heart-related problems.

  • By constant practice of Bhramari, the yogi’s mind is absorbed in bliss (Hatha Yoga Pradipika -2.68)

  • Here is an excerpt from an article that I came across recently. This article talks about the benefits of Bhramari for pregnant women based on research findings from several participants. The same benefits apply to all who practice this pranayama technique.

  • "… bhramari done for a few minutes daily can alleviate anxiety and tension. The vibration of the brain sends impulses to the reticular formation which eliminates anxiety and improves the mood, behavior, and personality, so that the expectant mother may take care of her health and nutrition, leading to proper growth and development of the fetus. During labor, elimination of anxiety makes the mother cooperative and less apprehensive, thus facilitating easy delivery. "


Contraindications

There are no contraindications for this practice. Anyone who can breathe can practice Bhramari for great benefit.


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