What is Bhramari Pranayama ?
Bhramari Pranayama, also known as Humming Bee Breath, is a breathing technique used in yoga and meditation that is known to have many physical and mental benefits. It is a pranayama (breath control) practice that helps calm the mind, reduce stress, and cultivate holistic well-being. The name “Bhramari” is taken from a Sanskrit meaning “humming bee,” referring to the humming sound made when practicing this technique.
How Bhramari Pranayama Works?
The main aim of Bhramari Pranayama is to create a steady rhythm of inhaling and exhaling through the nose while humming slowly like a bee. It creates a vibration that helps to relax the nervous system by stimulating the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve runs from our brain to the stomach. It is responsible for many functions of the internal organs, such as breathing, digestion, heart activity, and other reflex actions like coughing, sneezing, etc.
The vibration created by humming helps reduce stress and anxiety and cures speech disorders while increasing the concentration and calmness of the practitioner.
Science behind Bhramari Pranayama
Bhramari Pranayama is said to activate the Ajna Chakra, or third eye chakra, located between the eyebrows. This controlled breathing practice stimulates the nerves in the brain and thus helps reduce stress and anxiety while improving focus and concentration.
Additionally, Bhramari Pranayama increases the flow of oxygen throughout your body, which helps you feel more energetic. Lastly, the calming effects of Bhramari Pranayama can help you relax before bedtime, which leads to better quality sleep.
Steps of Bhramari Pranayama
- Sit in a comfortable position, preferably in Siddhasana, Padmasana, or Sukhasana, with your spine straight, and your shoulders relaxed.
- Place the tips of your index fingers gently on the tragus or the inner part of the outer ear (it looks like a small ear).
- Close your eyes, take a deep breath through the nostrils, and fill the abdomen.
- Now exhale slowly through your nose, making an audible sound like a buzzing bee, ‘hmmmmmm,’ and maintaining a consistent rhythm to the humming sound.
- Focus on the front of your skull and feel the vibration.
- Continue for 4-5 more bhramari breaths, focusing on the vibration of the humming sound throughout your body.
- When you are done, take a few deep breaths and open your eyes slowly.
Beginner yoga practitioners can easily follow these steps. However, the advanced practice of Bhramari Pranayama involves the addition of Sahmukhi Mudra and Khechari Mudra, which are explained below.
Steps of Bhramari Pranayama with Shanmukhi and Khechari Mudra
- Sit in any meditative and comfortable position, such as Siddhasana, Padmasana, or Sukhasana, keeping your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed.
- Apply Shanmukhi Mudra by bringing your thumbs to cover your ears, index fingers over your eyes, middle fingers over your nostrils, ring fingers above your upper lip, and little fingers under your lower lip. This mudra helps to detach the senses from external distractions and makes room for the easy flow of prana inside the body.
- Now close your eyes, and take a deep breath through the nostrils till you fill the abdomen.
- Apply the khechari mudra by rolling the tip of your tongue inwards to touch the soft upper palate and repeat the same process mentioned above.
Benefits of Bhramari Pranayama
- Improves focus and concentration: The steady and rhythmic breathwork of Bhramari Pranayama helps reduce stress and anxiety and improve focus and concentration.
- Reduces stress: Deep breathing in Brahmari Pranayama helps relax your body, reduce hypertension, and combat stress.
- Increases energy levels: Deep breathing increases oxygen flow throughout your body, which can help you feel energized.
- Improves sleep quality: The calming effects of Bhramari Pranayama can help you relax before bedtime, allowing for deep sleep and promoting relaxation.
- Soothes throat: Eliminates all diseases related to the throat, such as tonsils, thyroid, etc.
- Regulates Blood Pressure: Bhramari Pranayama helps regulate blood pressure and relieve various heart-related troubles.
- Provides Spiritual Benefits: Bhramari Pranayama can help you connect with your divine energy source, allowing you to experience spiritual enlightenment.
- Helps to regulate hormones: Many body problems are caused by the imbalance of hormones, which Bhramari Pranayama enables you to balance.
- Improves memory and cognitive skills: The humming pranayama helps in boosting brain functions which enhances your memory and cognitive skills.
- Beneficial for the eyes: Bhramari Pranayama helps improve overall eye health by reducing eye strain, improving vision, increasing blood circulation around the eyes, and reducing fatigue.
- Beneficial for the ears: Bhramari Pranayama can help reduce tinnitus, improve hearing, and reduce ear pain. It also can reduce the symptoms of vertigo.
- Helps in Anger Management: Regular practice of Bhramari Pranayama relaxes the muscles of the brain and hence can help in anger management by letting go of anger and frustration.
Precautions for Doing Bhramari Pranayama
- Practicing Brahmari Pranayama, a controlled breathing exercise, correctly and slowly is essential.
- Be sure to place your index finger on the tragus or cartilage of the ear and not inside the ear.
- Remember to press the tragus gently, and don’t press hard.
- Keep your mouth closed while making the humming sound.
- Do not apply pressure on your face with your fingertips.
Yoga practice can significantly benefit physical and emotional health, but it should not be used as a substitute for modern medicine without a medical professional’s advice. Therefore, people should not rely solely on yoga to treat any ailment.
Please seek the advice of a licenced medical professional who can evaluate your health and give you the best course of action.
Yoga must also be practiced and learned under the guidance of a yoga master or Guru.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Q1- Why are the ears closed in Bhramari?
A1- In Bhramari Pranayama, sound vibrations are created by closing the ears, which helps relax the mind and body. These humming sound vibrations help clear sinuses, improve blood circulation, and reduce stress. Additionally, covering the ears helps make the practice more focused and comfortable.
Q2- Does Bhramari increase the power of hearing?
A2- Yes, Bhramari Pranayama can help in increasing the power of hearing. The sound vibrations produced during Bhramari help stimulate the ear muscles, which can lead to improved hearing. Also, Bhramari pranayama helps reduce stress and anxiety, which can positively affect hearing.
Q3- What is the Best time to do Bhramari Pranayama?
A3- The best time to do Bhramari Pranayama is in the morning as well as in the evening. Doing this practice in the morning helps you prepare for the day, and practicing it in the evening lets you relax when you are winding down for bed. Furthermore, you can do it at any time of day as long as it is done in a comfortable and relaxed sitting, considering the gap of atleast 4 hrs after meals.